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Seeing a lot of ‘Poor Hate’ on Facebook today, so it must be tax season. So far, before I’ve finished my first cup of coffee, I’ve seen over a dozen ‘I hate paying taxes so the government can take my money and give it to someone who doesn’t work as hard as I do.’ or some variation thereof.
Congratulations folks, you drank the Kool-aid. The people who are ACTUALLY responsible for sucking every last dime out of the economy would love you to blame your poorest and weakest. You get to kick someone who’s already down, and they get to keep scrounging until they’ve got every last dime of yours, while you blame a scapegoat.

Photo by Ivan Sorensen

Photo by Ivan Sorensen

I’m assuming you’re referring to spending on social programs, such as welfare, perhaps Employment Insurance (which everyone who collects has to have paid into btw), or healthcare for the poor through programs like the Trillium drug benefit. I say that because I don’t see any of you complaining about having free healthcare, public schools, roads to drive on, water to drink, police and emergency services to call on when you need help, etc.
If you look at the math, the cheats at the bottom cost us very little. The last publicly available data that I could find easily showed that out of over 700 000 claimants, 106 were found to be cheats. That’s hardly an epidemic. For the ones who do ‘cheat’, for the most part, lying about income is the ‘cheat’ of choice. One of the biggest reasons people cheat on welfare is that the amount paid by social assistance is woefully inadequate to live on. Forced to decide between working for cash under the table or shorting rent to pay for groceries, some pick the lesser of two evils. There are very, very few people collecting welfare because they want to. Not none, there are always a few bottom-feeders who are happy to stay there, but very few. In terms of your tax burden, these few cheats are so small a percentage as to not register, and already living a pretty miserable existence. The rest are good people. Ordinary people like you or me, legitimately in need of a little help.

The rate of fraud in the income tax system is over 20 times that of the Welfare system. People with incomes cheat WAY more than those without, and cost us a lot more in the bargain.

If you really want to know where your Canadian tax dollars go, look here. All the information is there.  The vast bulk of spending for individuals goes to seniors.  Not to immigrants, or welfare cheats, or other popular scapegoats,  but to upstanding Canadians who have mostly worked their entire lives, and paid their fair share of taxes.

Imagine a Canada where everyone who fell between the cracks, mostly due to bad luck more than their own negligence, was left to fend for themselves. How long before disease begins to spread, and crime rates go up, (and costs for hospitals, police, and prisons etc.) as good people fall sick, or resort to the unthinkable? Being poor isn’t always a matter of choice. How many of you haters out there are only a missed paycheque or two away from poverty yourselves? How many of you would do anything to make sure your kids have enough to eat? See how easy it is? Those are real human beings you’re talking about. I know and like many of the people posting and repeating hateful anti-poor messages this morning, and I don’t remember you being cruel people. If I’m wrong about that, please feel free to unfriend/follow me.

We live in a pretty good society. <—- Note the root word there is ‘soci’. Latin for ‘a friendly association with others’. One of the key elements of ‘Society’ is that everyone takes a share in ensuring the good of the collective. A society isn’t raised or lowered from the top, but from the bottom. The overall health of a society can be judged by how well those at the bottom are doing. I don’t mind paying taxes to raise the social floor a little. We ALL benefit when even our poor and stupid have a place. When we get over ourselves and recognize that a poor person has the same human value as ourselves.

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