Monday, March 10, 2008

What's Wrong with RESPs?

I am not certain why the Harper Tories are so dead set against Liberal MP Dan McTeague's bill on Registered Education Savings Plans. (RESPs).

This bill, which passed the House of Commons, will allow parents to deduct from their taxable income up to $5,000 a year per child in contributions to RESPs.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

As the National Post put it, "it seems a very (small-c) conservative type of initiative, not unlike the Tories' popular $100-a-month early childhood care payments."

Yet the Conservatives are asking the Senate to block McTeague's bill.

OK, I understand if it becomes law it will supposedly cost the national treasury $900 million in lost tax revenue.

But I am sure the government can cut spending in other areas to make up for it.

And to get the Conservatives started, I even have a suggestion where they start making cutbacks: how about not sending so many of our tax dollars to Tory-held Quebec ridings!

22 comments:

Robert McClelland said...

The answer to what is wrong with it lies in the often recited Con mantra; the Liberals did it.

Dave Hodson said...

Perhaps if we cut the $1 Billion that we waste on the CBC every year, we'll have enough to fund the RESP program. Sounds like a win-win situation to me?

Anonymous said...

Well let's qualify that with "the liberals did it in a sneaky and underhanded way in order to undermine the government". That being said, I'm not against the idea because the liberals snuck it through the house. I'm against it because a) it puts the government close to a deficit position (oh look... isn't that EXACTLY what the conservatives have been saying a Dion government would do if they ever took power? If they are this cavalier when in opposition imagine if they had the keys to the kingdom?) and b) it's a huge expense that only benefits people with school-aged children. Had this been an initiative that anyone could take advantage of I might not be so against it (though that would have made it exponentially more expensive - which is likely why the libs decided to do it the way they did).

Anonymous said...

Good call Dave! I'd be on that in a heartbeat. Does anyone actually watch CBC anymore? I don't even watch it for hockey, since Sportsnet has so much better sportscasts. The CBC is a money pit... and in no way, shape, or form is it an objective public broadcaster. Time to let it die.

Robert McClelland said...

Does anyone actually watch CBC anymore?

I do and guess what, my taxes pay for it. So unless you're willing to pay my taxes for me here's a great big steaming mug of STFU for ya.

Robert McClelland said...

it puts the government close to a deficit position

Then I guess the Conservatives shouldn't have pissed away the surplus to the point where we're tottering on the edge of deficit territory. Doing that is simply irresponsible.

SouthernOntarioan said...

I'm a little sad that you would mention that article Nicholls, because its an example of irresponsible journalism at best. While claiming that 'Tory ridings' receive more money than other ridings the journalist plays fast and loose with the facts.

One Tory riding received $69 million in grants. The other 9 shared the remaining $39 million. On average those other 9 received only $4.3 million each, that's $2 million less than the average Bloc riding.

What this is an example of is how a single outlier can badly skew a sample set. When you include that $69 million into the set the average jumps from $4 to $10 million per seat.

If you want to argue that the grants are all wrong and shouldn't be made at all then that's fine. But arguing as you have that they are biased towards Tory ridings doesn't make sense. (If anything they are only biased towards Luc Harvey's riding)

Anonymous said...

Robert mclelland said:
"I do and guess what, my taxes pay for it."

The solution would be to have folks like your self who watch the CBC, to pay for it. Whereas folks like me can spend our money elsewhere.
A win-win.

Robert McClelland said...

The solution would be to have folks like your self who watch the CBC, to pay for it.

Can we do the same for defence spending?

Anonymous said...

Can we do the same for defence spending?

Absolutely we can!
Than when China comes knocking folks like yourself who don't pay for defence can fend for yourself.

Folks like me who support our military, can hide behind our fine men and women in uniform.

Deal?

Anonymous said...

Ah Robert, lefty logic at it's finest.
Why are CBC lovers so against paying the freight? If CBC is such a beloved Canadian institution, they should be awash with contributions. Give me one reason all Canadians should be on the hook for a billion dollars a year to finance sub-standard crap.

Robert McClelland said...

Than when China comes knocking...Folks like me who support our military, can hide behind our fine men and women in uniform.

So let me get this straight. If China were to invade Canada you run and hide.

Robert McClelland said...

Why are CBC lovers so against paying the freight?

Why are warmongers so against paying the freight?

Anonymous said...

Why do lefties always answer questions with more questions?

Uh-oh, I just did the same thing. Does that make me a lefty or a warmonger?!?! I'm confused.

Thinking like a liberal is hard...

Swift said...

Consider that the next private member's bill might propose a tax cut that would reduce government revenues by $9 billion or perhaps $39 billion. Passing this bill gives the opposition the power to throw government finances into complete chaos whenever there is a minority government. Government financial problems inevitably affect the general economy, badly. There is a good reason the government has exclusive control of the country's purse strings, and that is because the alternative is a road to disaster.

Anonymous said...

Robert said:So let me get this straight. If China were to invade Canada you run and hide.

Sorry Robert, but I've never shot a gun,have never flown a plane, nor do I know the first thing about operating a tank.
Forgive me if I hide in my basement with my kids when a Chinese bomber is flying over head.I'll depend on my Military thank you.

But enough about me.Tell me how Susan Bonner is going defend your house with her microphone?

No more hijacking this thread by me.Sorry all.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

"Consider that the next private member's bill might propose a tax cut that would reduce government revenues by $9 billion or perhaps $39 billion. Passing this bill gives the opposition the power to throw government finances into complete chaos whenever there is a minority government."

Well, except that this is explicitly allowed. The opposition has this power TODAY, and it's explicitly spelled out. "The House of Commons book on procedure and practice says private member's bills cannot propose spending but 'can reduce taxes, reduce the incidence of taxes or impose or increase an exemption from taxation'". Spending, no. Tax cuts, yes. So, while perhaps this is inadvisable, and should be fixed (maybe, maybe not) it's not like there's any "precedent" being set here. It's already explicitly allowed.

Plus, while I'm all for paying down our debt, would it be so terrible for the Tories to just say "OK, so we'll pay off $9 billion in debt instead of $10 billion and then work on cutting spending so that we can bring it back up to $10 billion. Would that be so hard?

It beats begging the Senate to obstruct a popular tax-cutting measure that is apparently the will of the House only weeks after attacking the Senate for supposedly obstructing the will of the House.

As Bart Simpson would say "The ironing is delicious".

Anonymous said...

Another way to fund RESPs is to eliminate funding for Official Bilingualism which, given the discrimination against mother tongue English speakers, is nothing less than a devious reversal of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759; i. e., an act of war.

Miles Lunn said...

I fully agree here. And yes there is plenty of places to make spending cuts. I am sure there are plenty of programs the Tories would like to cut that would total $900 million and likely wouldn't hurt them much. I only suspect that they are doing this for partisan reasons, since any good policy cannot come from the Liberals. Don't be surprised if they put this type of thing in a future budget and claim it is theres. I just hope the Liberals remind them of this.

Anonymous said...

Cut $ 1 Billion from the CBC and give it to Canadian families that are struggling to educate their kids ???

That's an outrageous idea -- besides, isn't the CBC really just a make work project for Liberals from Toronto? Who is going to employ these people, otherwise?

Also, how would I get fine quality "Canadian" culture like the Toronto Make Beleafs and MVP: The Lives of Hockey Wives here in Halifax if we cut the CBC?

Please keep your sensible ideas out of this country, Dave Hodson! Sensible people have no business in this country!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Nicholls, i am surprised at you.
A person of your experience and expertise should see the obvious pifalls in this type of parliamentary chicanery.
Leave aside for the moment the question of whether this bill is good or bad for the populace and look at the problems it causes for the budgetary process. You cannot advance two different plans at the same time. You cannot have expenditures decided by one party and income decided by another.
-Lee-

Janet said...

Actually it's a bit different from the child-care payment in that that's one of many Tory SUBSIDIES, and this would actually be a targeted tax cut.

That said both are conservative because they're all about family values. I'd argue the tax cut is more conservative, though, as it uses fiscal conservative values as well and not just socially conservative ones.