This election, we have a chance to vote for a party with a serious plan to tackle inequality.
photo above: Living the high life: the richest 1% have got richer at the expense of the rest of us. Photograph: Getty Images
WN: A relative regularly contends that the wealthy are such by dint of talent and hard work. Never mind race, inheritance, healthcare, education head start, racial trauma, etc., etc. This writer comes from the 1% and makes sense. . .
Written before the Canadian Elections October 21, it is timeless.
Even five years ago, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. The idea that voting for policies against my family’s own economic self-interest would actually be better for us.
I’m an adult child of the One Per Cent. I went to private school. And I graduated from university debt-free.
This election, the NDP is proposing policies — including a new “super wealth tax,” raising the tax rate for the top income bracket and closing tax loopholes — that would directly curb my family’s wealth to fund social services. If implemented collectively, these policies could cost my extended family hundreds of thousands per year.
Yet, I’m voting for them, and encourage other very wealthy Canadians to do the same.
I’m also doing so because I believe that these policies will make life better for affluent Canadians, too. We are living in the midst of a climate crisis. Averting disaster — for both wealthy and low-income people — will require a collective solution that involves more progressive taxation.
Much of the wealth my family has been able to accumulate can be tied to Liberal and Conservative policies.
I didn’t come to this perspective overnight.
I grew up in suburban southern Ontario. When I was a kid, my family was upper-middle class, supported by the salaries of my two parents, both white-collar professionals. And in my 20s, my family’s wealth increased dramatically, as the business my father founded grew significantly — helped by favourable taxation rates.
Four years ago, aware of the increasing rise in inequality, and unsure of my place in advocating for change, I got involved with an organization that mobilizes young people from the top 10 per cent to work toward the redistribution of wealth, land and power. Through Resource Movement, I learned a few truths that have helped shape my perspective about who to vote for.
I learned that while my parents are intelligent and capable, systemic oppression bars many from from leveraging their smarts to prosper economically. And that while I admire my parents’ hard work, I know that there are thousands of others who have worked just as hard (migrant farm workers, night shift workers and service workers, to name a few) whose families haven’t been able to build the same wealth as ours. For me, this learning debunked the myth of Canadian meritocracy — the idea that “we deserve” all the wealth we have.
Much of the wealth my family has been able to accumulate can be tied to Liberal and Conservative policies over the last 50 years — policies that have deprioritized needed social spending in favour of tax breaks for wealthy Canadians.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has found that raising the marginal tax rate for top earners to 65 per cent could generate over $15 billion in additional tax revenue annually. This money could be diverted from the pockets of wealthy Canadians and be used to fund necessary affordable housing, childcare or education.
This is obscene — and a policy failure.
Some people will argue that raising rates to these levels would be punitive and unfair. I disagree.
Canada has the fifth most ultra-high net wealth individuals on the planet. In this nation, 10,000-odd families collectively control $1.053 trillion dollars. This is obscene — and a policy failure.
Please click on: Super Wealth Tax