Taxing the system 2.0
By Deirdre McMurdy, Sympatico / MSN Finance
Anyone who doubts the severity of the economic downturn - and the political importance of tomorrow's federal budget - only has to consider the following: The Conservative Party is pro-actively communicating with Canadians.
While it's been common practice for years to manage expectations around budgets and to flag any fundamental policy shifts, the usually-reticent Tories have aggressively telegraphed chapter and verse of every new regional spending program, every tax cut, every consideration that has crossed their mind. They've appointed senior ministers to fan out across the nation to help "pitch" these measures in various jurisdictions. It's bordering on TMI - Tory style.
At the same time as the political decision to spend billions is being implemented, however, the bureaucratic bean counters are determined to squeeze every penny of tax revenue from the system. The Canada Revenue Agency is getting all 2.0 on us, and they've decided to launch a contest that smacks of a Big Brother snitch-on-your-neighbour deal. CRA wants Canadians to make videos and post them on You Tube, explaining why the underground economy is a bad thing. And why Canadians should be wary of people and things that are part of it.
Contestants are asked to post something that either explains why barter and paying under-the-counter for things is bad or, what the risks are. It's worth checking out at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/contest/index.html.
There's no question they've got a point, but he reality is that the people who use You Tube and Facebook and other social media, are the ones who have a very alternative view of work and the economy. Someone in CRA might want to consider that in this case - as in so many others - the media are the message.