Working for the man

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A study released Thursday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows that the richest 86 individuals and families in Canada have gathered up as much wealth as the poorest 11.4 million of us.

Those millionaires and billionaires also make up 0.002 of the population. What some more good news? The study also shows the poorest 20 per cent of families have more debts than assets.

As for those of us who used to be known as “middle class,” as a group we aren’t making much more now than we have in about a couple of decades if inflation is taken into account.

Those are scary statistics, expecially in a country as rich as ours.

It’s also unsettling that most of us can’t count on getting ahead no matter how hard we work.

The saying “the rich get richer” is apparently much more than a cliché in this country.

Those who have a lot can count on getting more, and the study’s author puts much of the blame squarely on the way we collect taxes in this country.

Economist David Macdonald explains it this way: “If one Canadian makes $100,000 a year selling a company (or shares) while another makes $100,000 a year working at a job, the worker will pay twice the tax of the business seller.”

That’s clear enough.

That means that those who crawl out of bed every day to go to work, take their kids to school, pay their bills and taxes are at a disadvantage to some fat cat sitting in an office trading shares or bonds and producing nothing only money.

It’s disheartening and is not the way to run a country.

And that can be changed by those who make the laws and pass them. The system can, and should, be made fairer for the majority.

Protesters were camped out all over the world a few years ago as part of the Occupy protest movement aimed at defeating economic inequality and greed, while forcing those at the top of the economic pile to share the wealth more equitably with all levels of society.

That way of improving society obviously hasn’t taken hold in the halls of power in Ottawa. The mega-rich are doing just fine and are likely to continue hoarding more and more riches.

Too bad the rest of us can’t hope for a little of the same.

Organizations: Canadian Centre

Geographic location: Canada, Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • Henry
    April 05, 2014 - 12:15

    That's what Progressive Conservatism ideology represents in this society. Prime Minister Harper has created taxation legislation which favors business and not your average Canadian. Its disheartening to say the least that middle income Canadians have not benefited much in the last couple decades and the poor are still poor. Shame on this Harper government. The wealth in this country needs to be sheared and made fairer. Time to over haul our taxation legislation to accomodate this....

  • New Veteran
    April 05, 2014 - 09:42

    The people who control Canada don't want you to improve and they don't want to share. The elected representatives are given enough for them to not want change either. When people are going to jail for trying to feed their children, watch out. It happened, for instance, in France. Be very careful, a change is coming.