Comment 106276

By arienc (registered) | Posted November 18, 2014 at 16:10:48 in reply to Comment 106269

Yes...part of the issue is the fact that we tax returns on capital at a much lower rate than returns on labour.

There's no reason that passively earning capital gains, say by owning a share of a public corporation, is inherently better or more valuable to society than earning a wage from one's labour. Yet we tax the capital gain at half the rate we tax the earned income.

Since capital is primarily owned by those who have amassed wealth, either from their labour or the labour of others, it is overwhemingly in the hands of those in older generations, so you can say that this is a key way in which the deck is stacked against those who are starting out.

As for income splitting, it's a good idea in theory that enables greater choice in how we organize our families and supports the concept of the family as a unit. It should not necessarily be a condition to have children, and we have to take care to ensure that the 'family' is viewed without discrimination while at the same time have checks and balances so that it's not exploited by transitory arrangements (roommates for example).

On the whole, I'd rather see more taxes on things that harm society (consumption, pollution, corporate profiteering) and less taxes on things that benefit society (working, creating family bonds, volunteerism).

One concept that sounds interesting to help youth succeed is a lifetime income exemption - for example the first $500,000 someone earns in their lifetime would be exempt from tax - similar to the old capital gains exemption but applied to all forms of earnings including wages.

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