Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Election 2019 Voter Guide: Part 2

With the 2019 Federal Election approaching, the New Brunswick Union (NBU) and the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) have compiled a voter’s guide for our members.
This series will lay out how the party’s stand on topics such as privatization, human rights, austerity, pharmacare and income inequality, among many others.
The NBU is non-partisan, meaning we do not support any political party. What we support is our members making informed choices when it comes to the future of our country.
We hope this guide will help you understand the issues and where the party’s stand.
Part 1 of the series will dealt with austerity. Today’s edition, Part 2, deals with Income Inequality
Income Inequality
Equality is good for society. People are generally happier, healthier, and more productive when there is less inequality in a society. Crime rates decrease and educational attainment levels increase. Unfortunately, we are now in an extended period of rising income inequality, which began almost 4 decades ago.
Income inequality is one of many forms of inequality. Social inequality can be related to gender, race, ethnicity, age, physical disability, etc. Inequality can also be linked to not upholding human rights. At the same time, an increased focus on redressing human rights through social programs and policies can counter the systemic aspects of both historical social and economic inequalities.
Not since the late 1800’s have Western democracies, including Canada, seen the levels of financial inequity we are seeing today. In Canada, the 2 wealthiest families hold as much wealth as the poorest 11 million Canadians combined.
As long as income inequality continues to grow, more and more Canadians will be left behind. Problems related to income inequality, like poorer health and rising crime rates, will continue to increase. That’s unacceptable.
Greater financial equality would reverse that trend. It would mean a better quality of life for most Canadians. Because greater financial equality helps reduce many social problems, it reduces the number of people who need to access social programs.
The best way to make life more affordable for all is improved public services. Whether it is pharmacare, or a national child care program, improved public services have far more impact than tax cuts, which disproportionally benefit the wealthy.
Paying for the public services people need requires a fair tax system where the wealthy pay their share. That means reversing some of the tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthy. It also means closing loopholes and cracking down on tax havens and other ways the wealthy dodge taxes.

Track Record & Campaign Promises

Liberal
• Introduced the National Child Benefit, which has had a positive impact on reducing income inequality.
• Cut the rate for middle-income tax bracket, which reduced taxes for highest-income earners without benefiting most low- and middle-income earners, resulting in the new marginal tax rate for high-income earners having only a limited impact.
• Has still not tackled tax evasion by the wealthy beyond a minor investment of resources. Continued Harper-era policy of signing trade agreements that make it harder for governments to adopt measures that reduce income inequality.

Conservative
• Has no interest in reducing income or wealth inequality.
• Its focus on tax credits to assist people provides little or no support for low- or middle income earners. Platforms historically focus on corporate and personal tax cuts, which create conditions used to justify program and transfer cuts.
• This is a formula that increases inequality in both income and wealth.

NDP
• Committed to reducing income and wealth inequality.
• Proposing a 1 per cent wealth tax generating $70 billion over 10 years. Promised a 2% tax increase for the highest-income bracket.
• Announced an increase in corporate tax rates.
• Proposed investments in programs and transfers that would benefit lower-income earners and reduce income inequality.

Green Party
• Committed to establish a universal Guaranteed Livable Income, but the plan to fund it by eliminating other income-support programs for low-income Canadians will reduce impact.
• Supports a federal minimum wage of $15/hour.
• Supports an increase in corporate tax rates.