The Conservative government's plan to trim the GST for a second time has been soundly rejected as a top tax-cutting priority by a large group of economists surveyed by The Globe and Mail.
All 20 economists said other tax cuts would be better for the country than trimming another percentage point from the goods and services tax, which represents more than $5-billion in revenue.
It's a remarkable show of unanimity on public policy, given that the responses were from organizations as diverse as the Fraser Institute, the Canadian Auto Workers, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Bank of Montreal and the Halifax-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.
Mr. Drummond and others have plenty of ideas about where that $5-billion could go.
Personal and corporate income tax reductions, “if properly structured,” would be one, he said. Another would be reversing the earlier GST tax cut and shaving every Canadian's marginal personal income tax rate by two percentage points.
All told, 16 of 20 respondents to The Globe's survey called the government's announcement to cut the GST a bad move, while two said it was irrelevant and two said it would be good for the economy.
The Conservatives have the easy soundbites to deflect any criticism of their tax policy. The only way the Liberals make an impact is if they hammer the point at all turns, and the media does something extraordinary- give Canadians a meaningful discussion, beyond the obvious spin. That said, when you have such universal opinion amongst economists, it provides powerful backing for a somewhat counter-intuitive political position.