Drive down any major road this spring in Canada and you are liable to come upon one of those potholesthat appear after the spring thaws and eats up city buses.
Catch the rim of these chasms and you might permanently damage your car or at least be jarred out of your seat.
Of course in times like this, you just have to wonder, why you pay taxesat all.
Most of us feel we pay too much tax and the tax we do pay the government just seems to squirt away like Uncle Luther after his Saturday beer night.
Potholes the size of P.E.I., mummified patients spending eternity in emergency room lineups, a Senate whose sole purpose is to reward political cronies, our troops arriving in Afghanistan equipped with Swiss army knives and Korean War surplus. These are the typical complaints of the Canadian taxpayer. I note in particular that our government spent $110M on improving our Olympic performance and we barely edged out Norway. Norway, by the way, has a population of 4.7 million, 3 million of whom have won Olympic medals.
But you cant look at our tax problem in a vacuum. In order to determine whether we are really over-taxed, we have to compare ourselves to the rest of the population of the world, including those annoying Norwegians.
However, every country has a different tax regime and its hard to compare Canadian apples to Spanish oranges or the combination of personal taxes, corporate taxes and sales taxes. One way to view this is through comparing the total tax revenue of a country versus the countries GDP.Here we see that Denmark (of all western counties) is tops with a ratio of 50, followed by Sweden at 49.7 and Belgium at 46.8. Canada sits at 28th spot at 33.4 behind countries like Greece, Poland and Ireland. Clearly from this data, Canadians are not as taxed as high as we seem.
In the next blog we will explore another way to view our tax problem; when we pay tax, do we get our moneys worth?