The economic costs of the capital tax

Imposing a direct tax on a factor of production such as capital is a way of taxing the very process of production and wealth creation instead of taxing individual income or consumption. This involves substantial costs in terms of economic efficiency, and it harms the competitiveness of Canada and Quebec.

Dairy production: the costs of supply management in Canada

International talks at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in July 2004 drew attention to the “supply management” model in agriculture. This model was first applied in Australia in the 1920s to protect farmers’ incomes against economic swings and lower prices for their products as well as to increase their power in relation to buyers. Supply management, which is held out today as an indispensable element of Canadian agricultural policy, is in reality a needlessly costly system, particularly where dairy production is concerned.

The perverse effects of anti-scab measures

In 1977, the Quebec legislature amended the Labour Code to introduce measures prohibiting employers at establishments affected by legal strikes or lockouts from replacing the striking or locked-out workers. According to the government then in power, these measures were introduced with the twin goals of preventing violence and making labour conflicts shorter. These arguments are still raised today, even though studies show that strikes have generally not been shortened.

Le Point de l’IEDM sur les excédents budgétaires fédéraux

Le ministre canadien des Finances Ralph Goodale annonçait la semaine dernière que l’excédent budgétaire fédéral pour 2004-2005, que le gouvernement prévoyait être de 4 milliards de dollars, atteindra 9 milliards, soit le même montant que l’année précédente. Le ministre prévoit affecter une partie de ce montant au remboursement de la dette et le reste à de nouvelles dépenses, comme le réclament de nombreux groupes de pression. L’IEDM rappelle pour sa part qu’une baisse des impôts comporterait des avantages beaucoup plus significatifs pour l’économie canadienne.

Le Point de l’IEDM sur les prix de l’électricité

Le gouvernement entreprend cette semaine une consultation sur la politique énergétique. Au coeur du débat, l’analyse des coûts de production et des prix de vente de l’électricité permet d’apercevoir certains résultats pervers de la politique actuelle. Ainsi 1) l’interfinancement nuit aux économies d’énergie par les consommateurs résidentiels et
2) l’exportation d’électricité est de loin plus payante que d’en vendre à des alumineries à un tarif basé sur le coût moyen.

Why a flat tax would be fairer and more efficient

A widespread myth holds that our personal income tax system with its progressive marginal rates is meant to embody values of fairness, justice and "social solidarity." Supporters of this system argue that tax rates should rise with income as a way of creating a more even "level of sacrifice" among citizens. It is possible, however, to show solidarity in taxation without relying on progressive rates. Social solidarity can also be financed through a flat rate tax system in which, lest we forget, higher-income individuals would continue to pay more in taxes in absolute terms.

The Report Card on Quebec’s Secondary Schools 2004

The Report Card on Quebec’s Secondary Schools provides an annual, independent measurement of the extent to which each school meets basic needs. The Report Card thus serves several purposes. For one thing, it facilitates school improvement, and for parents who have a choice between several educational institutions, it can help them make an enlightened decision.

Le Point de l’IEDM sur la légalité des cliniques de santé privées

Federal and Quebec health laws are extremely complex. Many people believe, mistakenly, that recourse to the private sector is forbidden for all practical purposes. However, Quebec already has more private clinics than any other province. Certain grey zones exist, and governments tolerate practices that might not see the light of day if the law were applied to the letter. But there clearly exists space for developing private services outside the government monopoly.

Le Point de l’IEDM sur la réforme de l’aide sociale

A reform now taking place is modifying the social assistance program, in particular by increasing the appeal of work and encouraging recipients to make more effort to work. For this to happen, paid work has to be more remunerative than the alternative, which consists of receiving a cheque and putting one’s time to other uses.

How should the value of new drugs be determined?

The amounts spent on drugs in the Canadian health care system have risen sharply over the last few years. In this context, the cost of new patented drugs is a source of controversy. According to an increasingly widespread view, most patented drugs, other than a few truly innovative products, are just “me-too” copies, with no value added, that cost less to produce than we are told. How much are new drugs really worth? And who should end up deciding whether their use is justified?

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