The HST Referendum is almost upon us and I just received my HST Referendum Voters Guide.
Notable in the Voters Guide is that the “No” side, the “Yes” side and the “Independent” panel all play the fool’s game of predicting the future, with or without the HST, in absolute terms. ie: with the HST there will be 24,400 more better paying jobs, with the HST the economy will be $2.5 billion larger and the economy will produce $1.2 billion more in exports. Since we know no one can predict the future absolutely, what choice should we make?
A wise man (probably Dr. Phil) said the best predictor of future performance is past performance. Fortunately for us we have a past event in our history to use as a reference point. When the federal Conservatives introduced the GST in the 1980s they made the same claims about the benefits to come as the HST proponents do now. However, since the GST was introduced manufacturing has moved off-shore, (try buying something manufactured in Canada) real inflation since then is over 900 per cent, (try to buy an average home for under $100,000 today) job growth has been mainly in the McJobs sector, and homelessness and poverty havegrown exponentially. That’s the good news.
The bad news is a world in recession is unlikely to come flocking to our door because of our enlightened tax structure. Like the GST the people most likely to flock to our door are those with money who, because of our friendly investment climate, intend to make more money and stash it off-shore.
I predict that voters will gamble that Ms. Clark will lower the HST to 10 per cent by 2014 and vote to keep it because at 10 per cent it will be the least painful to most of us. That being said, why doesn’t she lower it to 10 per cent now instead of holding us hostage until the next election?