Taxes Fairness a Centre-Piece of Fight Against Income Inequality

December 3, 2011, 9:06 AM EST

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A more robust income tax system that makes the rich pay a fairer share of taxes is an important tool to help fight against income and social inequality author and political-economic commentator Linda McQuaig told CAW Council delegates on December 2.

Contrary to what is said by right-wing politicians and neo-liberal economists, there is nothing 'natural' about the laws of the marketplace that create wide income disparity, McQuaig said.

"The laws of the marketplace are man-made and are crafted by those with power - the rich," McQuaig said. "But it doesn't have to be this way. The rich only represent the one per cent. We represent the 99."

McQuaig, who co-authored the book The Trouble With Billionaires, credited the efforts of the Occupy Movement for raising awareness of income inequality to a national level.

"Income inequality, for the past decades, has been all but invisible - almost taboo - until the Occupy movement began."

McQuaig stressed to delegates that no correlation exists between lower taxes and rising economic prosperity, which can be exemplified by Canada's economic performance during the post-war era (a period that saw tremendous economic growth) - a time when taxes paid by the richest citizens topped 80 per cent.

Today, income tax cuts have resulted in gross inequalities, including between CEOs and average workers. CEOs, on average, make 250 times the salary as the average worker in Canada.

Among a series of tax reform measures, McQuaig proposed the creation of two new tax brackets, for those who earn $500,000 (at 60 per cent) and those who earn $2.5 million (at 70%). This move alone would generate an additional $8 billion into government coffers.    

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