Governments must make interest payments on their debt similar to families who pay interest on borrowing for mortgages, vehicles, or credit card spending. These interest payments leave fewer resources available for important priorities such as tax relief and spending on public programs such as health care, education, and social services.
In 2013, Canadians worked until June 10, which happens to be Tax Freedom Day, to pay all their taxes. Tax Freedom Day is an easy-to-understand measure of the total tax burden imposed on Canadian families by federal, provincial, and local governments. But the true tax burden doesn't end with the revenues that governments collect.
Once upon a time, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives understood Canadians' concerns on gas tax. They said it was "time to axe the tax on the tax." Of course, the prime minister was in opposition then, but the idea must be implemented today in B.C. if we want to see lower gas prices.
OWS and other vigorous civil-society groups would seem to demonstrate that citizen disengagement from our formal political processes is not the result of a lack of interest in constructive public action on critical issues, but is, rather, a reflection of our alienation from an increasingly dysfunctional ingrown political system.