The new Liberal Government is only a few months into its mandate, but is dealing with several issues that illustrate the balancing act that is often required when dealing with issues of public policy. Consider these examples.
That heading ranks right up there with “the cheque’s in the mail” as statements that almost no one believes.
An All Too Common View
There is widespread and growing cynicism about government. For many, government is some sort of malignant force that takes and takes (our taxes) and gives little of value in return. It is almost always inefficient and frequently corrupt. It over-regulates business and provides too many programs that create dependence and erode individual self-reliance. The answer, for many, is to lower taxes and restrain governments so that they can do less harm.
Benjamin Franklin is usually credited with making the statement that “in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” It is not known who amended this view as follows:
There is always death and taxes; but death doesn’t get worse every year.
This amended version captures the apparently almost universal dislike of taxes. So often has the anti-tax mantra been repeated that most politicians – at all levels of government – seem to believe that they cannot mention the possibility of raising taxes if they are to have any hope of being elected. As a result, politicians make unrealistic promises and end up either unable to maintain necessary services or unable to avoid tax increases. Either way, of course, the public grumble about the incompetence and/or perfidy of politicians.
C. Richard Tindal, Ph.D is a retired Professor of Government. He taught for 30 years at St. Lawrence College, Kingston and was an occasional Visiting Professor at Queen's University. He has also written and consulted extensively about government.