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Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivered the federal budget in the House of Commons in Ottawa on April 16.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Who’s paying?

Re “Freeland defends budget’s capital gains hike despite widespread criticism from tech leaders” (Report on Business, April 20): I waited for my favourite four words in Liberal budgets and finally got them, when the Finance Minister cheered the hearts of many Canadians by asking the very wealthy to pay “a little bit more.”

Please note that this is not the same “little bit more” as last year, or the year before, or the year before that. This is plus, plus, plus “a little bit more.” I have been keeping track.

So when does it all become a whole lot more? I am not subject to any of these tax increases myself, but I can’t help wondering what effect this will have on private sector investments in Canadian jobs and productivity. Our GDP per capita is already decreasing without more investment along with a punitive tax burden.

Even our pension plans want nothing to do with homegrown enterprise. No prospect of returns equals no investment.

Bernie Teitelbaum Toronto

One perspective worth adding would be that of Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Daron Acemoglu, one of the most eminent experts on productivity in the world.

A recent strand of his work emphasizes that not all innovation is the same. In the United States, favourable tax treatment of capital income relative to labour income incentivizes firms to automate away jobs, instead of investing in ways to improve productivity and increase wages.

The tax situation in Canada is not radically different, with presumably similar consequences.

Spencer Dean Kelowna, B.C.

Re “Tax me?” (Letters, April 22): What a clamour from letter-writers about a moderate increase in taxes on wealthy corporations and individuals.

These taxes are needed to help pay for an expansion of social programs by the Trudeau government. Would there be a comparable outcry had the Finance Minister raised the GST, a regressive tax that weighs particularly on poorer people, by two points to pay for measures that help poor and middling Canadians? I greatly doubt it.

This is, surely, a prime example of plutocratic NIMBY-ism.

Eric Bergbusch Ottawa

After I retired from my first career, I set up an incorporated company and provided consultant services for a number of years. I did not take a salary but put all after-tax earnings into investments. My wife and I are now using my pension plus these investments to support our retirement income.

I consider ourselves a middle-income family. I worked a second career to put us in a position to retire comfortably. It is extremely frustrating and disappointing that those investments and their growth are now going to be heavily taxed.

It seems unfair when one works extra years to build retirement income, only for the government to tax those funds away. This increase in capital gains tax, which the government says is aimed at wealthier members of society, has inadvertently hit a number of individuals like me who have been caught in the mix.

Peter Johnson Tillsonburg, Ont.

Re “Higher capital gains taxes won’t work as claimed, but will harm the economy” (Report on Business, April 18): Decades of cuts to public services since the 1980s have left us with universities and health care systems in crisis, epidemic homelessness and socially dangerous inequality. And yet there are still people who think that continuing austerity will solve our problems.

If we look at countries that have the most contented people, we find they are ones that have not destroyed the legacy of social democracy, but valued its achievements. I am old enough to remember when Canadians believed that we, too, would achieve the same quality of life; we surely have the resources to do so.

Meanness is not a sensible economic policy, nor is the reduction of economic aspirations to mere bookkeeping.

Julie Beddoes Toronto

There seems to be remorse setting into the psyche of Canadians. The housing crisis, the drop in productivity, relentless inflation: It’s all taking a toll.

Canada was the country where tomorrow was always a better day. However, the government’s lack of success in solving our problems is sapping our strength.

Like Britain in the 1970s, Canada is becoming a country that the future forgot. I believe we need a new government, and a leader like Margaret Thatcher. I hope they know how to lead, rather than chant about axing the tax.

We need more serious leadership to fix serious problems.

Jimmy Molloy Toronto

Get it together

Re “This country’s real economic problem is that we hardly seem like one country” (Report on Business, April 18): The federal government, along with the provinces and territories in our federation, just don’t seem to get it.

What incentive do they offer risk-takers and capital investors with their petty restrictions? Canada presents enough handicaps, as pointed out.

Is it a surprise that most foreign owners milk their Canadian assets with minimal investment in maintenance? What encouragement do Canadian entrepreneurs get from a balkanized market with added constraints from language and geography? No wonder productivity is shrivelling on the vine.

Our bureaucrats and politicians should start working with determination and haste on a consensus to overcome these restrictions.

Brian Yawney Toronto

Ride on

Re “When spring arrives, I cannot wait to get out on my motorcycle” (April 17): “Feeling that wind sweeping against your face, rushing into your nostrils to supercharge your lungs, it can’t be duplicated.” I say get a bicycle.

There’s the wind the essay-writer craves; lovely quiet to enjoy birdsong; vigorous, healthy exercise; no polluting noise nor emissions; lots of money saved; and maybe, just maybe, his wife will gladly join him in such a rewarding pastime.

Duncan MacKenzie Guelph, Ont.

No need to stop riding at 70. That was the age when I got my motorcycle licence.

I have the same excitement every spring. As soon as there is a sunny day above 10 C, I am on my three-wheel Spyder.

There is the wind in my face, and when it is warmer there are all the smells of the country. There is newly mown grass, and “grass” smoke from cars.

Folks in parking lots grin when they see a little old lady (well, maybe not so little) on a motorbike. It is a great conversation opener. There should be more of us.

I’ve been riding for seven years with no intention of stopping. It’s too much fun.

Fanny Monk Kamloops, B.C.

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