Every so often, I’ll come across an article in a mainstream Canadian publication that is so tone-deaf and so wildly illogical that it actually makes me angry. Robin Sears, who served as an NDP strategist for 20 years – which should give you some clue about where his political leanings are, published an article in the Toronto Star titled, “Inflated house prices are widening inequality, and inheritances will only further the gap.”
When he mentions inheritances widening inequality, he doesn’t mean only the inheritances of the upper echelons of the billionaires and close billionaires. He is talking about the inheritance of your average middle-class millennial. Housing prices are high, and as he says in his article if you were lucky enough to have parents who own property (almost any property in one of Canada’s major metropolitan centers), you are slated to inherit potentially millions of dollars.
Tucked into a series of reasonable prescriptions towards tackling the affordability crisis for millennial homeowners is this: ”…inheritance taxes and taxes on capital gains that are less inequitable to wage earners.” As most of us know, the economy has been eviscerated and the only form of reliable wealth that most Canadians have is their property. So why not go after that? You can’t pay the kind of salary that helps senior bureaucrats hit that coveted sunshine list when you’ve destroyed the income generating capabilities of your tax base.
Here’s a snippet from the article:
They will be pushed further down the family asset ladder by the tsunami of cash passing to friends and colleagues. The only difference between them: parents made rich by a frenzied property market. This unfairness will discourage new immigrants and undermine poorer Canadians’ dreams of better lives for their children. Unchecked, it will breed serious social conflict.”
The basic flow of his argument is this:
1) Millennials aren’t making any money.
2) Housing prices are too high for your average millennial to be able to afford a house without inheriting it. So,
4) Let’s take their inheritances.
Apparently, the problem isn’t that millennial Canadians cannot earn an income that allows them to afford a house. The problem is that some millennials were lucky enough to have been born into families that have managed to achieve the unconscionable act of owning a home – this terrible bourgeoisie predatory capitalist action of merely owning a house.
This is an interesting strategy for a socialist to take. It’s a bottom-up approach to wealth redistribution, where they take from the middle-class and redistribute that wealth. But I’m wondering if they’ll eventually climb far enough up the income ladder to hit the multi-millionaires and billionaires that they love to vilify in rhetoric. Maybe once the rest of us are so poor that there’s nothing left, the burning eye of Sauron will finally gaze upwards at the class of people it should be taxing.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to support future content, please consider signing up for Coil using my affiliate link.