Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Media now get rewards for being on side

Fantastic fabulist Colin Hansen is spending our money advertising about HST. Why do they want to have a public discussion now?  Why not before introducing the tax? Why not before the election?

Accusing opponents of misleading the public, the prevaricating politician makes his own considered effort to mislead. Here's an example of BC Government advertising running on radio:
"The combined rate will remain the same: 12 percent, the lowest in Canada. And, if you didn't pay GST on something before, you won't be paying HST on it now. That's good for you."
That's a common advertising technique called conflation. Two separate elements are combined to imply a conclusion that is by itself untrue. Here they leave the impression that nothing changes because the federal and provincial rates are simply added together. You paid GST before and you pay HST now. No change right? Well, not exactly. The HST applies more broadly to consumers and applies no more to businesses.

The fact is that if you paid 5% GST and 0% PST, you now pay 12% HST. For example, if a woman spent $50 for whatever they do in hair salons or spas, that used to cost $52.50 with sales tax. Now, it costs $56.00 with HST.  If plumbers charged $300 for a late night call to fix a leaking pipe, they added $15 GST. Now, they add $36 HST.

The Minister of Finance who claimed he worried about misleading statements demonstrates his real ethical sense.  He dislikes others telling the story and interfering with his own specious spin. This is insulting because, beyond the simple waste of money that would be better used elsewhere, it emphasizes his condescending belief that citizens are not too bright. He thinks that if he keeps telling half-truths, people will ignore the underlying dishonesty.

Hansen and his colleagues do this days after the delivery of a petition signed by more than 700,000 citizens. They ignore that event. They ignore the opinion polls and ignore the undeniable feedback to MLAs.  They can keep doing that but we know it only proves it is the politicians, not the citizens, that are stupid. The shame of it all is that when voters get a chance to fire their asses down the road, they'll leave dragging a pile of resettlement and pension rights they voted themselves.
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