Sunday, October 03, 2010

Switch the focus

This CP report this afternoon raises a few questions: "Jan. 1 biz tax cut blows hole in Lib platform." First, the focus of the article on the Liberals and Liberals' seeming admission that it should be that way is a little off. Liberals are speaking as if they're writing a budget and shouldn't be pigeon-holed into doing so in the media. We're in deficit, much larger this week due to Flaherty's deviation from his own budget, and the Conservatives are still pushing through with corporate tax cuts. That is where the big glare should be. The corporate tax cuts that are scheduled should be cancelled and every political utterance should contain that statement. What are the Conservatives doing? We're already a low tax corporate jurisdiction:
The U.S. statutory federal corporate income tax rate is 35 per cent, a number that is more likely to go up than down given the country's debt burden. Canada's is 18 per cent, down from 19 per cent in 2009. Scheduled tax cuts will bring Canada's rate to 16.5 per cent in 2011 and to 15 per cent in 2012, giving Canada the lowest statutory tax rate in the G7.
We are more than competitive with our southern neighbour. It's frivolous to push any further at the moment, particularly given the economic context and the deficit. Besides, the argument is to delay cuts. Why can't the Conservatives do that?

Recall that one of the first things Conservatives did when they came into office was to yank back personal income tax cuts. They had no problem doing that. There is opportunity here to argue who is on who's side, who is in sync with the middle class, etc. More of this angle:
"Guess what? Every time some big moneybags kicks up a fuss, it's going to prove to John and Jane Q. Public that we're actually on their side," says one senior Grit of the potential backlash among business leaders.
In other words, more offense, less defense.

Update: More here, the Nicholls point: "...Besides, it isn’t budget projections that win elections – it’s who has the most compelling narrative or story... ."