Crawl Across the Ocean

Monday, April 16, 2007

Left wing media bias

I've been detoxing on politics for the last few weeks, but I couldn't pass up this feeble effort in the Globe and Mail:

"Average family spends more on taxes than life's necessities: survey

The Fraser Institute says the Canadian Consumer Tax Index is up significantly in the past 45 years.

The average Canadian family earned $63,000 in 2006, with nearly 45 per cent of that going to taxes. Just over 35 per cent was spent on food, clothing and housing. In 1961, the institute says just 33.5 per cent of income went to taxes."


A few points:

1) Let the record show that the Frasier Institute, noted right-wing think tank and general representative of right-wing opinion in Canada, believes that only food, clothing and shelter are essential services. Be sure to remind them of this stance next time there is a debate on union laws where (obviously misguided) people are arguing that whichever industry is in question is an essential service and therefore can't be allowed to strike.

(Also from today's Globe: "Companies press Ottawa to end CN labour dispute")

2) Uh, 1961? Why 1961 and not, say 1872? Wasn't 1961 before we had universal health care? So doesn't that one fact alone make the entire comparison total nonsense? And what about the debt, which didn't exist in 1961. Are they advocating we don't pay the interest on the debt?

3) The Frasier Institute also includes CPP as a tax, which seems pretty dodgy, as people will, generally speaking, get back the money they put into CPP.

OK, I think we all appreciate that the Frasier Institute is a partisan organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the rich through deceptive, biased 'analyses' and 'studies,' but why does the Globe feel that passing this garbage along to their readers unfiltered and without comment is a worthwhile thing to do in any way. I appreciate that timelines are short and there is lots of (virtual) space to fill, but even another Suduko puzzle or a flashing ad asking you to hit the monkey and win a prize would be an improvement over this. Sigh.

Robert adds some more deserved mockery.

6 Comments:

  • As soon as I saw the 45 years, I thought "Wasn't that right before medicare was introduced" and then thought "Didn't the Fraser Institute try to pull this a while ago?" Turns out I was right (I'm not a GlobeInsider, so I can't be sure).

    And the Globe peddled the same thing last time. I bet they didn't even do a new study, but just took the numbers and adjusted for 2007 dollars (and have been doing the same thing for 14 years). Odd that they (re-)release this study just around tax time. Odd, indeed....

    By Anonymous Nicholas, at 10:59 PM  

  • From a glass half empty perspective, my memory is obviously going as I'm repeating myself almost word for word (in response to FI and the Globe doing the same), without having any memory of doing it before. Even re-reading my old post, the memories are hazy.

    From the glass half full perspective, at least I'm consistent in my reactions...

    Hopefully someone like Nicholas is around next year to see if FI and the Globe make it three years in a row for boneheaded comparisons to 1961 released around tax time.

    By Blogger Declan, at 12:20 AM  

  • It not just that the Fraser Inst. is right wing.
    You can even find some genuine scholarship in such places, like the John Birch publication which often has articles by people who really know their American Constitutional History.

    The thing is that Fraser is so wrong its outpourings often sound like the worst you will hear friday night at closing time in the Kamloops legion.

    A few years ago they weighed into the debate about what is poverty with a lengthy study that featured a detailed examination of what possibly could be bought and carefully used as food, shelter, and transport by the "so called" poor. Reading it one imagined the author had gone all over town with a slide rule searching out the cheapest price for this or that, and had worked on the basis a poor family would operate its kitchen like a large well staffed nutrition lab. The author even disallowed any recreational expense he did not approve of, for the family budget.

    What is wrong with this? It is so bad it disgraces all who are associated with it. It is like the time when an English charitable club imported a French chef from Paris, during the Irish Famine of 1845-48 to show how with 5 gallons of water and a couple of handfulls of vggies, a very cheap and nutritous soup could be made for the Irish to consume in the rain, the cold, and the fever after their homes had been destroyed by the landlords and they had been turned out on the roads.
    The people who are the Fraser institute are un-civilized creeps. That is the point. I don't even think they are motivated by any desire to develop and publish knowledge. They just want to serve up whatever will captivate the worst of the right wing "outlier" population. Just take a look at the rubbish they have published on wait times in the medical field.
    I once went to demonstrate for the NDP at a meeting called by a wildly right wing outfit, and there I was puzzled by the ridiculous and obvious nonsense I heard. It was so far out it was plain silly. But then I noticed that many of the people sitting there were not only paying attention to the fevered alarmism coming off the speaker, they were pulling out their check books and writing checks. The only effect of the demonstration,as it seemed to me, was to generate funds for the speaker's organization. The demo became a backdrop,twisted into support for lunacy.

    The Fraser outfit is like that, I believe, and its absurd rubbish is mainly intended to scare up monetary support. Sensible answers to their output is too much like trying to persuade a drunk at a party to take a cab.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:54 PM  

  • Garry Trudeau in Doonesbury about a month ago hit the nail on the head - not "think tanks", "belief tanks".

    By Blogger Nick, at 8:49 AM  

  • Look at that: StatsCan just came out with a new study on incomes of Canadians and the taxes they pay. Seems they find the median family pays 17% of their income to income taxes. Add in the highest sales tax in the country (~14%) and you're still only at 29%. I know fees can be high, and there are consumption taxes other than sales tax, and I know it's median and not average, but I doubt a family earning $60,000 a year is spending $10,000 on government user fees and non-sales-tax consumption taxes.

    Or maybe StatsCan is fudging their data and the Fraser Institute is right.

    By Anonymous Nicholas, at 12:29 PM  

  • Yeah, I saw that too.

    I think I'll take StatsCan over the Fraser Institute...

    By Blogger Declan, at 7:17 PM  

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