So yesterday I wondered, by way of Stephen Gordon, just what the hell is wrong with BC when it comes to the Harmonized Sales Tax. It turns out that the comments on Dr. Gordon’s post are rather more informative than one might first expect, and by way of that set of anecdotes we find some insight into why exactly the HST is a big deal.
Commenter cherylb, making an argument that’s disturbingly representative of popular sentiment, writes:
There is no argument to be made for lying. Campbell and the Libs promised, in writing, before the election to not institute the HST. Said the same thing for 8 years. They said it was a regressive tax that would hurt our economy and 3 days after the election were in talks with the Feds. This battle is not about whether or not the HST is a good tax. It’s about lies and liars.
Just so we’re clear: the HST is kind of a big deal in terms of tax policy, and if enacted it’ll probably measurably improve the BC economy. That means more jobs, more services, and a (marginally) better standard of living for the vast majority of residents, in case you’re keeping score from home. And most people don’t care. They don’t oppose the HST because they’re unreconstructed socialists (though some of them probably are) or economically illiterate (though most of them probably are). They oppose the HST because they’re trying to punish the provincial Liberals for being somewhere between inconsistent (if you’re feeling charitable) and cravenly duplicitous (if you’re feeling honest).
I’m basically in favour of “vote-the-bastards-out” anti-incumbent sentiment, but can we direct it at the incumbents themselves rather than the occasional really good idea they happen to propose, please?