World-evolving opportunity in financial crisis

The world has come to the end of an epic consumption bubble which is now deflating under the weight of aging demographics and debt. Significant social evolution has historically been born from times of crisis, where the status quo can no longer continue and fresh ideas are finally tried.  The drop in oil prices and related changing of the political guard, has given the world a moment to reassess where it wants to go from here.

A powerful new “Leap manifesto” is gaining support in Canada and outlines a fresh economic model. To wit:

We start from the premise that Canada is facing the deepest crisis in recent memory.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has acknowledged shocking details about the violence of Canada’s near past. Deepening poverty and inequality are a scar on the country’s present. And Canada’s record on climate change is a crime against humanity’s future.

These facts are all the more jarring because they depart so dramatically from our stated values: respect for Indigenous rights, internationalism, human rights, diversity, and environmental stewardship.

Canada is not this place today— but it could be.

We could live in a country powered entirely by truly just renewable energy, woven together by accessible public transit, in which the jobs and opportunities of this transition are designed to systematically eliminate racial and gender inequality. Caring for one another and caring for the planet could be the economy’s fastest growing sectors. Many more people could have higher wage jobs with fewer work hours, leaving us ample time to enjoy our loved ones and flourish in our communities.

For the math of how to pay for LEAP proposals in Canada see the details here.  But to highlight a few options:

  • Ending subsidies to the fossil fuel industry would recoup about $350 million a year for the federal government (and more if provincial governments do likewise).
  • A national financial transaction tax could raise $5 billion a year.
  • Ending special tax treatment for capital gains income would recoup $7.5 billion a year (and more for provincial governments).
  • Returning the corporate tax rate to where it was in 2006 would raise $6 billion a year.
  • Tackling tax havens would recoup $2 billion a year.
  • A new federal upper-income tax bracket on incomes over $250,000 could raise about $3.5 billion a year.
  • Scaling military spending back to pre-911 levels would save $1-$1.5 billion a year.
  • Eliminating the recent income splitting and other family-with-children tax cuts would recoup $7 billion a year.
  • And a national carbon tax of a mere $30/tonne (the same level as BC’s current carbon tax) would raise $16 billion a year.
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