The first of three short pieces for today deals with the concept of Tax Freedom Day, which divides the working calendar year in the same proportion as the income tax paid by the average taxpayer (around 40%, in Ontario). Promoted in Canada by the conservative Fraser Institute, it is also highlighted by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) with words such as:

Another, albeit more depressing, way to view our tax burden is through the lens of a typical day…after working all morning for Paul Martin, Ernie Eves and Mel Lastman (or substitute your own mayor), it’s time for a quick sandwich and then back to work to make money to pay the bills. This scenario represents the daily grind for the average Ontario taxpayer.

The CTF has at its core the vaguely insulting reduction of 'citizen' to 'taxpayer', which both ignores civic duty and elides the crucial fact that the set of citizens and set of taxpayers are not the same. From the CTF's standpoint, children—not being, for the most part, taxpayers—are only of value to the extent that they earn tax breaks for their parents, and certainly their education (paid for by taxes) is assigned no objective value that might distinguish it from other "waste".

Regarding Tax Freedom Day itself, the key fault is evident in the quotation above, which supposes the money is solely lining the pockets of elected officials. While those do earn salaries—about which I will express no opinion—a more honest report would acknowledge that a taxpaying citizen's days until mid-June are spent:

  • paving the road he drives to work on,
  • caring for her infirm parents or grandparents,
  • policing and carrying out justice in his community,
  • educating her children,
  • defending his country from any enemies,
  • aiding the poor abroad, etc.

Of course, the hope is that you will imagine yourself to be a serf working for a greedy landlord who allows you but a fraction of your meagre income. When this is successful, the citizen comes to believe he is only a taxpayer, becomes blind to the benefits of government and therefore howls for it to be demolished.


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