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Art Threat: Should artists be able to pay taxes with artwork?

As income tax filing deadlines approach across North America, many Mexican artists will be counting canvases instead of pay stubs. In Mexico, a country that has lost over $870 billion to tax evasion and money laundering, hundreds of artists aren’t required to pay a dime in tax. Instead, they pay the government with artwork.

For decades the federal Mexican government has allowed artists to take part in their Pago en Especie (Payment in Kind) program, which allows them to pay their federal income taxes with their own artwork.

For artists in the program, tax math is incredibly simple. If they (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Where’s the tax in BC’s carbon tax?

British Columbia’s carbon tax has been getting some high praise lately. A recent article in the Atlantic called it “the crown jewel of North American climate policy”. Such assessments need some tempering. BC’s carbon tax can tell us important things about the limits of fiscal policy today, which in turn questions the potential it has for fostering significant environmental change.

Tales of the tax’s effectiveness focus on its environmental impacts. Almost six years since its introduction, it is indisputable that the carbon tax has had some impact on resource use and emissions. This is clearly a good thing. There is (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Published elsewhere: Ontario is no California when it comes to debt

The Toronto Star just published an article I wrote in response to claims made by the Fraser Institute and the Toronto Sun that Ontario has a runaway debt problem worse than California’s.

The short version: I call BS. The slightly longer version: California has constraints, such as limits on the size of debt and difficulties in raising new taxes, that have severely hampered its ability to take on and manage debt. It has a smaller debt than Ontario on all measures but much worse credit standing. Ontario, on the other hand, still has a lot of flexibility to deal with (Read more…)

Things Are Good: IMF: Tax the Rich to Improve the Economy

The International Monetary Fund has just completed a study that compiled data across time and space to conclude that taxation isn’t harmful for economies. Indeed, taxing the rich is actually very beneficial for any national economy because it stops inequality – which is an awful thing for both people and economic progress.

Labelled as the first study to incorporate recently compiled figures comparing pre- and post-tax data from a large number of countries, the authors say there is convincing evidence that lower net inequality is good economics, boosting growth and leading to longer-lasting periods of expansion.

In the most controversial (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Economic history in the present: Potlatch and tax

This post inaugurates an occasional series I’m calling, “Economic history in the present”. This series will look at vignettes from global economic history with an eye to current phenomena or particular events. Some will be more speculative, drawing on anthropology and philosophy; some will be more rigorous. Hopefully, both aspects of this approach will produce interesting juxtapositions that illuminate the present via the past. Without further ado, here is the opening salvo…

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While redistribution is a bit of dirty word today, it has been a key economic activity across human history. As resources move from the (Read more…)

Things Are Good: In Ireland, Carbon Tax Means Less Waste and More Revenue

Modern economies indirectly subsidize environmentally damaging corporate practices by ignoring the environmental costs ( younger generations have to deal with the environmental damage), this can be seen in everything from the tar sands in Alberta to ewaste in electronics. In Ireland they have started a carbon tax to deal with this environmental problem while raising a lot more revenue for the country.

The results in Ireland prove promising and may encourage other countries in Europe to take the European Commission’s suggestions that a carbon tax can help other debt-ridden economies.

Household trash is weighed at the curb, and residents are

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The Scott Ross: If A Fiscal Cliff Kills, Canada Should Tax Death

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin

The fiscal cliff in the United States did not just endanger its own country’s economy but the world’s, including Canada’s heavily dependent one. But in the American problem lies, at least partially, a Canadian solution: an estate tax.

The inability for Democrats and Republicans to prevent the fiscal cliff and the current uncertainty relating to the world’s largest economy is threatening the fledgling global recovery.

Canada, a country whose economy is always extremely vulnerable to external crises, is now only more so.

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: If A Fiscal Cliff Kills, Canada Should Tax Death

The Scott Ross: Blandness Is Easy To Merge With Liberals, NDP, & Greens

Why should the Liberal Party, the NDP, and the Green Party merge? Because they are already united in blandness. If these parties were not bland, if they were not vague, or if they even had the slightest unique trait among them, merging would not be an… . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Blandness Is Easy To Merge With Liberals, NDP, & Greens


Especially relevant if you are a Canadian, or paying any attention at all to our present political situation in Canada, where the governing party fantasizes its opponents.

Filed under: art, comment Tagged: carbon tax, chicken, chicken little, humor, humour, politics, Stephen Harper, tax, The sky is falling!

The Scott Ross: Canada Already Has A 1¢ Carbon Tax

Last year this Conservative government collected $424,418,000 in taxes to pay for carbon emissions.

That same year Canadians used 38,208,346,000 litres of gasoline.

Doing the quick math, Canadians paid 1.1¢ or $0.011 for every litre of gas they consumed in 2011.

Now Canadians weren’t taxed at the pump, though it would have been far more efficient, our government instead taxed things like income to cover the cost of carbon emissions; this did nothing to reduce pollution but did everything to reduce the incentive for Canadians to work more and improve our economy.

According to the Treasury Board Secretariat’s

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The Scott Ross: The Conservative Carbon Tax

Emitting carbon has a cost to Canadians, whether we call it a carbon tax or not.

Considering this Conservative government is spending money on increasing health care costs from respiratory damage due to pollution, that it is spending money on additional infrastructure because of climate change, and that it is spending money to improve air-quality and the environment; it’s clear this government is collecting additional money through taxes because of carbon emissions.

The Conservatives may not think that the increase in taxes to pay for carbon emissions is a carbon tax, but the additional tax is still a tax and

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The Scott Ross: How Reducing The GST Increased Your Debt

With declining productivity, higher unemployment, and deficit after deficit, it should be obvious the Canadian government would do anything to strengthen the economy, however it is not so obvious what that same government has done to weaken it.

In a 2008 report it was predicted that the Conservative government in lowering the GST from 7% to 5% would increase the indebtedness of Canadians. Last week the repercussions of that decision six years ago became clearer; Moody’s warned that growing household debt could tip the Canadian economy back into recession.

Shortly after the federal government reduced the Goods and Services Tax

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The Scott Ross: Thank You John Baird, You Saved My Life

Michael Ignatieff hated Canada, he was repeatedly caught feeding off of beaver spinal cord fluid. The Gun Registry was moments away from assigning bar codes to the foreheads of farmers’ first born children. Though a 5% GST is okay, the 7% variety flew the second plane into the World Trade Centre shouting “Trudeau Akbar!”

What do you mean, “Is all this true?” We’re all in big trouble if debating semantics is more important to you than stopping a Liberal carbon tax that simultaneously can’t exist but will figuratively and also literally kill Canadian children.

Though this may seem

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Thank You John Baird, You Saved My Life