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Economy Personal income is ‘something to be encouraged,’ and other reactions to the income gap

Daniel Johnson returned to the scene of 2011's Occupy Toronto movement at St. James Park on Oct. 15 2012. Part of the origin of the Occupy movement was to highlight income disparity between the top 1% of earners in the U.S. and the rest of Americans. The movement spread to many countries, including Canada.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Toronto-Dominion Bank released a study Tuesday that found Canada's income gap has remained "surprisingly unchanged" since 1998. The article, written by The Globe's Tavia Grant, has received more than 200 comments from readers so far and clearly touched a nerve. Here is a collection of some of the best, chosen by Report on Business editors.

"When you consider inflationary pressures for example, in real terms, such as the increase in property tax levels, food costs, clothing, shelter, fuels, etc relative to increases in wages and salary usually doled out by government and corporations and usually in terms less than the rate of inflation to frozen to locked out, citizens fall further behind in terms of rising costs...not to mention increases in taxes, CPP deductions, health insurance deductions, home and automobile insurance deductions etc...it isn't any wonder that cheap credit has supplanted miserly wage increases. We don't all get bonuses don't you know!" – Freedom75

"Extensive studies in several countries over decades quoted in a book called The Spirit Level show that the greater the inequality of wealth in a society, the greater the social problems that go with it, including larger segments of the society that have poorer health, lower education, and so forth. Also there is a proportionate rise in crime. Compare these factors in countries like the U.S. versus Norway, Sweden, Denmark, etc. and it becomes very obvious the studies are accurate.

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"Those people that argue for an unequal society are arguing for the social problems that go with it. It depends on the society you want to live in ultimately, but I would always choose one with more equality than inequality." – Rightontheleft

"Personal income and its growth is something to be encouraged. This is a country of opportunity where personal initiative and industry can work to one's benefit, despite the left's best efforts to make it otherwise, and I applaud those whose intelligence and industry vaults them forward. Good on 'em." – Oak Bay 2010

"Tax deductions and exemptions are really just another form of spending. Spending on social programs is more transparent than the reduced tax revenue arising from exemptions and deductions. Unfortunately, the gurus at Finance are not as clever as the hired guns out there who figure out how to work the loopholes so that tax breaks cost more than intended. I've worked as a tax specialist for a public accounting firm and for the old Revenue Canada, and I can assure you that RevCan and now CRA are heavily outgunned by tax advisers, who generally benefit the wealthy that can afford them the most.

"Use grants instead of tax breaks if you want transparency and better forecasts of the cost of implementing policy. Another advantage would be saving resources currently devoted to beating the Tax Act." – Cranky Old Guy

"The biggest income gap exists between private and public sector workers. Pensions and benefits have all but disappeared in the private sector. Governments have no business using our tax dollars to provide better pensions, benefits, healthcare and working conditions for themselves and their employees than what they are willing to provide or legislate for all." – joannie.w

"The lesson is nothing is guaranteed and as a whole the Canadian work force needs to sharpen their skill set and offer more value in a highly competitive global market." – j_crack

"Remember when people saved and lived within their means? Remember when people were humble in Canada instead of entitled? Remember those kids that slid through grade and high school, doing barely enough to get by? I am appalled at how many Canadians are poorly informed and lazy. Many in the top 1 per cent have been trying their hardest and doing their best for their entire lives. Resentment always follows success. I know many people that started with nothing and are now wealthy, all due to effort and savvy. Many of our citizens who muddle along and complain about their situation sealed their fate in Grade 10, choosing to hang out in the smoking section instead of the library." – Alo40

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If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

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