------ A tax on predatory profit-taking?
We may be the densest citizens in the world. How can we we talk on and on, evaluating the effects of the pandemic, without ever considering excessive profit-taking? The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a 40 year-old Ottawa research institute, reports that in the first six months of the pandemic, Canada's wealthiest families increased their earnings -- by $37 billion. That averages about $1,000 from every citizen in Canada.
Taking this volume of money out of the economy, with small businesses closing, layoffs for working people, retirees squeezing their already-tight belts -- how do we justify such profiteering? Today's already-wealthy are making money like never before -- but during this disaster?
Our economy is one within a global system, well outside our control. Globalization may have increased the brute output of our economy; it is less clear that it has done much for Canadian working people who must now compete with, basically, the wages of poor countries.
Already we are hearing a little -- and soon it'll be a chorus -- of fear-mongering over Canada's public debt.
Rightwing pundits, politicians, and media will call for belt-tightening, not more relief, once the major hits on our economy by the pandemic have eased. Belt-tightening by the Thompson Family (Globe & Mail, Bell, etc)? They increased their family wealth by $8.8 billion -- yes, billion-- since Covid's arrival. Or Shopify's CEO, who took $6.6 billion (billlion!) for himself, or Lululemon's founder who added a mere $3 billion to his assets -- these folks are volunteering to tighten their belts? (CCPA figures)
Maybe they should. Ordinary citizens have done their belt-cinching; isn't it the excessively wealthy's turn to pitch in for the common good? And we know that the only way that will happen is via an excessive-wealth tax. Our economy needs a hand from the wealthiest people and corporations who are taking such profits during this period of hardship. Rebuilding requires everyone's contributions; everyone will benefit.
Should "our" government protect the profits of the maxi-wealthy -- or increase wages for front-line Covid workers, invest in childcare, pharmacare, elder -- even rebuild our nation's educational mandate? Do we protect profits or people?
If the wealthiest people are making a killing, who is doing the dying? Not the ultra-wealthy, but rather those who can hardly hang on, raise their families; ordinary people are being killed -- by Covid, by pneumonia, by poverty and the life-results of ill-education, killed by steady hard work under scantly-regulated conditions. We Canadians don't like to see ourselves as victims, yet is our share of that $37 billion (since March) sitting in our personal bank accounts?
Such great wealth requires a cooperating and legalistic community: that's Canada. So, it's time to give back. Profiting from others' misfortune and illness is not how democracy works. Canada needs an excess-wealth tax. Which leaders have the foresight to turn these excesses into community strength?