Tall, Dark, and Mysterious


Up is down. Black is white. Increased taxes are tax relief.

File under: Character Writ Large, Home And Native Land, I Read The News Today, Oh Boy. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 10:27 pm.

Could someone please help me make sense of the (partial) Conservative tax plan? Pretty please? Because -

A Tory plan to raise personal income taxes on low income earners is part of an overall tax strategy that will result in more tax relief for Canadians, Tory MP Jason Kenney said Friday.

- and I cannot for the life of me fathom a universe in which raising taxes on low income earners could possibly be part of an overall tax strategy that will result in more tax relief for Canadians. The rest of this article, as I read it, seems to consist of “seriously, it IS, we swear”, followed by some chit-chat about the party’s much-maligned proposal to cut the GST, and then this:

Kenney said they voted against the Liberal tax cuts [income tax cuts - MS] because they disagreed with their fiscal priorities, adding they would have “spent smarter and cut taxes deeper.”

What? No, I - what? The Conservatives would have cut taxes deeper, and that’s why they’re…increasing income taxes? Does this remind anyone of preschoolers fighting? “I don’t like you, even though I kind of like your toys, so let’s play a game that I hate.”

Maybe this will all make more sense when the party announces its tax package, which it hasn’t done yet, but really, why bother? Seems to me that “tax hikes=tax relief” is more or less on par with “0=1″ in terms of starting points; in other words, is there anything this tax package won’t promise?

In the meantime, have at it, readers. Bonus points for using Tarot cards and Ouija boards.


  1. Sounds like a U.S. Republican plan. Do you suppose they’ve been hobnobbing with our Shrub?

    - Karen — 1/6/2006 @ 10:57 pm

  2. Squeeze the less powerful poor, give the benefits to the rich, and overall collect less income tax?

    Per your request, I did get out my Tarot deck. Let’s see what it says, in the time-honored draw-a-card fashion (I’m in italics):

    6 of Pentacles: A person in the guise of a merchant weighs money in a pair scales and distributes it to the needy and distressed. Say, this deck really works. It is a testimony to his own success in life, as well as to his goodness of hear. Trickle-down economics, anyone? Divinatory Meanings: Presents, gifts, gratification; another account says attention, vigilance; now is the accepted time, present prosperity, etc. Sounds like pundits and op-eds to me.

    Hm, how about another?

    7 of Wands, Reversed: A young man on a craggy eminence brandishing a staff; six other staves are raised towards him from below. Divinatory Meanings when Reversed: Perplexity you got that right, embarrassments seems to be, anxiety possibly. It is also a caution against indecision.

    One more?

    Zero, The Fool: My divination book has a lot to say about this card, so I’ll excerpt. It begins: With light step, as if earth and its trammels had little power to restrain him, a young man in gorgeous vestments pauses at the brink of a precipice among the great heights of the world; he surveys the blue distance before him—its expanse of sky rather than the prospect below. Take this as you will. I’ll copy one last comment, from an endnote about the Trumps Major in general: [The Fool’s] wallet is inscribed with dim signs, to shew that many sub-conscious memories are stored up in the soul.

    - Theo — 1/6/2006 @ 11:31 pm

  3. According to the article, there will be more tax relief (although it’s hard to say until the actual proposal comes out) - but just not in the same way the liberal tax relief was set up. They might be raising the taxes in one area, but if they lower it in other areas as well (GST, whatever) then overall, even for low income earners it might be a tax relief.

    But it’s hard to say until they actually state what their whole plan is.

    - Simon Rose — 1/7/2006 @ 12:27 pm

  4. Theo wins, goddammit.

    Simon Rose - oh, I realize that’s the idea, but I don’t buy that this will be a tax relief for very low income earners, who spend most of their money on bare necessities, which are not GST’d. Though I guess that this will be all spelled out in their whole plan, which I suppose we should wait patiently for, what with the election being, like, two and a half whole weeks away.

    - Moebius Stripper — 1/8/2006 @ 10:53 am

  5. Maybe they figure if they claim they’re doing *everything*, then they get everyone’s approval. We’re increasing taxes! We’re decreasing taxes! Whatever you think it is, we’re doing it!

    - wolfangel — 1/8/2006 @ 11:20 am

  6. It’s bad luck to use the tarot on yourself … ;)

    - f-i-n — 1/8/2006 @ 1:20 pm

  7. Yeah, I agree that something sounds a bit odd about the fact that the GST cut will certainly favor people who spend a lot more–which is of course the high income earners. So I’m not really sure how I feel about this whole idea. I mean, I generally favor lower taxes, but this seems like a weird idea.

    - Simon Rose — 1/8/2006 @ 4:15 pm

  8. It seems like you (and previous commenters) have already made as much sense as there is to be made at this point. Perhaps Conservative staffers will be handing out copies of their economic plan on the way in to the polling booths, so we’ll be able to review it more before voting.

    - Declan — 1/9/2006 @ 10:53 am

  9. One additional note, CTV has a useful policy comparison grid, which they have been updating in chronological order (more recent at the top) as parties make announcements. Looking at the grid for tax policies you can see that as the campaign began, Conservative policy was to increase the basic personal exemption amount, whereas now it is to reduce the exemption amount.

    My guess is that they got someone to run the numbers for all their promises and realized they were heading into the red (ink) sea, which is quite near the dead sea on the political map, so they decided to pull back a bit on their promises to make the numbers work.

    - Declan — 1/9/2006 @ 11:08 am

  10. The CBC has a bit on the three parties’ tax platforms here:


    - Brian F. — 1/9/2006 @ 7:25 pm

  11. To be as charitable to the Conservatives as I can, I don’t think a sinister Conservative plot to tax the poor is the motive here. I would guess that their economic plan predates Goodale’s late-fall “election-platform as financial update” in which these tax cuts were announced, and it was just easier to use the old numbers.

    So, cue the old statement about incompetence and malice.

    - saforrest — 1/9/2006 @ 9:55 pm

  12. Wolfangel - yeah, that does make sense as a strategy. I mean, it’s worked for the Liberals for the last dozen-odd years, no?

    Declan and Brian F. - thanks for the links. (Oh, my, the NDP is planning more tax cuts than the Liberals…hmm.) But I’m really getting impatient about the platforms - this is the longest campaign since I’ve been eligible to vote, anyway, and still no published platforms from the three major federal parties? (Or did they recently publish them? As of last week, they hadn’t, but maybe I missed something.) Seeing as how the advance polls have been open awhile (and I’ll have to vote that way, as I’ll be out of town on the 23rd), it’s more than a bit disconcerting that so many voters have no choice but to get their information secondhand.

    - Moebius Stripper — 1/9/2006 @ 10:16 pm

  13. That makes sense. They’re copying the strategy of hide-the-leader, why not also copy the strategy of all-things-for-all-people.

    The plan with the platforms — unless maybe they published them today after the debates? — might be that if there are no platforms at all, there are also no platforms that anyone dislikes.

    - wolfangel — 1/10/2006 @ 7:44 am

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