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HST: To Hate or Not to Hate-That is the Question!

I must say, I have been hugely disappointed with my favourite news talk radio: CKNW. First Christy Clark, whom I thought gave up politics and went into broadcast media, gave up her show on CKNW to return to politics to run in the Premier race. And she won! Much thanks to her popularity on the Christy Clark Show. I must admit, I wasn’t a fan of her views and takes. I would credit the success of her program to her remarkable radio voice. Like wow!

Anyhow, what has been disappointing me about the radio station is how they swing from side to side like media whores! Oh right, that’s their job! First, they jumped on Vander Zalm’s bandwagon when he fought and successfully challenged the HST to bring us the upcoming referendum; then they come across some UBC Law student with Econ background, named Chris Thompson, with a video that was his initiation into the Liberal party if anything. I heard the host (I think it was Bill Goodman?) commending and applauding this kid on a “job well done”.

Then callers phoned in complimenting and congratulating this kid for setting the facts straight! I didn’t rush to watch the video right away. But it made me wonder is there some underlying principle, mechanism, calculation that could make this possible? Is paying HST on pretty much everything we consume is better for jobs and the economy, including our personal pocketbooks?

Don’t see a video? Simply refresh your browser.

As the weeks draw nearer to the referendum date (which is just shortly after our Canucks win the Stanley Cup), I have been wrestling with what I should vote come June 13-July 22. (Yup, it’s a mail-in referendum.) Increasingly, television ads and more programming on CKNW are providing a stronger voice in favour of the HST. Not to mention the 2-point reduction in the HST rate as announced by Premier Christy Clark. *shudder*

All of sudden, fightHST side seems to be losing its fight, its luster. Or is it?

The pro-HST ads boast: “HST: Good for jobs. HST: Good for BC.”

Hmm… Okay, how so?

Well, for starters, go to their website to learn more: www.hstinbc.ca and decide for yourself.

If trying to make sense of the numbers and their argument is intimidating to you, you can opt to watch their stickman videos instead.

Here’s one video:

Stickman: Day in the Life from HSTinBC on Vimeo.

Like seriously, these stickman videos are made for elementary school kids!

Okay, so I come from a family of engineers and bankers, but somehow I was asleep when God was giving out the math gene. I was, however, highly present when He gave out logic, good judgment, and common sense.

You don’t have to be an economist to figure out everything costs more for the consumer under the HST. The argument for is that this tax shift will ultimately benefit the consumer down the road because when businesses will pass on their savings by reducing prices and/or by hiring more workers.

Uh huh. Right….

So back to my disappointment with CKNW, and among callers and youtube comments boasting and praising economists and their superior intellect to understand the mathematical complexities of something so simple such as a tax shift from businesses to consumers. And the radio host was inundated with the smoke and mirrors to challenge the logic behind the message.

First of all, Chris Thompson is neither an economist nor a lawyer. He is a student. Albeit with an Honours degree. Now studying law. Clearly, here’s a young man who is proud of his academic achievements… But nonetheless, he’s just a student with no real professional training so he really has no merit to make much of a dent in the debate. And if you haven’t seen the video already, there isn’t any real substance. Just, well smokes and mirrors.

Anyways, my point is, don’t be fooled by titles. Or intimidated by numbers. You don’t need to be present during the handing out of math genes to sniff out a government’s desperate taxing schemes.

The funny thing in a capital society is this high regard for economists. Woooo…. Economists….

Economists use applied numbers to explain something so theoretically implausible thus it usually never happens in reality. Basically economists are crappy fortune tellers because they try to explain/predict the future using shallow and simplistic theoretical equations that makes them wrong every time. Why? Because the laws of probability and chance, among other variables in the equation is way beyond anybody.

Seriously, don’t buy into an explanation as fact just because it came from a perceived “expert”. Even if you don’t understand it. And especially if it goes against your personal judgment and common sense.

To learn more and to come to your own conclusions on this political mess, read both sides…. But don’t stop there! Read from other general sources like Wikipedia. Look up some economics terminologies. Visit the CRA site. Learn more about what the VAT really is.

As for me, I’m still researching before I come to a conclusion. My thoughts so far: there will be winners and losers under the HST. It just depends which end of the spectrum you fall under.

I will leave you with a few links… You will have to find more on your own. And if you’re intellectually lazy, well, there’s the stickman videos for ya.

Here they are:

The man who picked the first bone: Bill Vander Zalm’s fighthst.com
**The FightHST Debate Tour will be at the SFU Wosk Centre for Dialogue today at 7:30PM.

Here is the study Chris Thompson based his video around: The Truth About the HST.pdf

Also check out taxpayer.com. Also find articles from Vander Zalm’s report that was debunked in Thompson’s video, including this one by economist, David Murell, Ph D: Impact of HST ON BC.pdf by

Chris Thompson’s passionate site all about how wonderful the HST is: www.fightfighthst.com

Here’s the link to the BC government site (with all the stickman videos for those who don’t want to read): www.hstinbc.ca

And lastly, where would the world be without Wikipedia? Here’s an article on the Value Added Tax (VAT) (which is the same tax as the HST).

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