This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Celebrate Capitalist Slavery Day!

This Magazine Staff

Monday, June 28 is the most important day of the year for Canadians. Of course, you say, that’s the date of what Paul Martin calls The Most Important Election in Canadian History.
Big deal. Barely half of us will vote, and half of that half will be bitter no matter what the result, and then a significant chunk of that half will decide that they are so alienated from the rest of the country that it is finally time for (Quebec/Alberta/BC) to separate.
Canada as usual, in other words.
No, the real significance of Monday is that it is Capitalist Slavery Day. Never heard of it? That’s odd. June 28th is the day that the average Canadian stops contributing his or her share to the provision of public goods, and is forced, for the rest of the year, to purchase only those goods on offer in the private market economy. Want to buy more health care, welfare, or clean air? Tough! Should have thought about that before you voted for that last tax cut.
You see, June 28th is what the Fraser Institute has branded “Tax Freedom Day.” That is supposedly the day that Canadians have finally stopped paying off their tax “burden,” and are thenceforth “working for themselves.” Every year, the FI produces a press release giving their back-of-the-bogroll calculations of when they imagine the average taxpayer’s total earnings for the year equal the average individual tax contribution. Presto! Tax Freedom Day.
I can’t decide which is more obnoxious, the very idea of Tax Freedom Day, or the fact that the media breathlessly reports on it every year, publishing pretty much verbatim the Fraser Institute’s press release. Conrad Black is right about one thing: journalists are not necessary for the production of a newspaper.
The problem is, your money has to go somewhere. If you aren’t giving it to the government, you’re giving it to a capitalist. After June 28, every cent you earn is somebody else’s profit. I suppose you could always stick it in a sock or put it in a drawer, but then it doesn’t do anyone any good. What would be the point in working? Come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea. On June 28th, vote, pay your taxes, then quit your job.

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