Last week, news reports about three economic reports thudded into my electronic in-basket.
The first had to do with Canadian Business Magazine’s “The Rich List,” an annual compilation of who’s-worth-how-astronomically-much this week.
Toronto’s Thomson family topped the list again with a net worth of $23.36 billion—yes, billion!
As allnovascotia.com noted proudly, Maritime titans were well represented. Eleven regionally-based or connected masters of the universe made the top 100. Most did even better than the year before: the Sobey family’s net worth jumped 27.7 per cent to $2.14 billion, for example, while the divided McCains upped their fortunes by 13 per cent to $2.6 billion (Harrison’s branch) and 18.7 per cent to $2.29 billion (Wallace, godfather). Even the Irvings, who fell from second to third place, increased their net worth by 2.5 per cent to $7.46 billion.
Steve Maich, the magazine’s editor, told allnovascotia “there’s a hugely under-appreciated entrepreneurial culture in Atlantic Canada.”
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives also released a report last week showing that, as the Globe and Mail put it, “the gains from growth are increasingly concentrated in the hands of the rich.”
According to the study, the richest one per cent of Canadians gobbled up 32 per cent of all income earned from economic growth between 1997 and 2007, and now account for 14 per cent of all personal income, “a bigger cut of the action than any previous generation.”
On the flip side, the report notes Canada’s top tax rate in 2007 was half what it was in 1948—and been reduced since.
The third thud came from the Fraser Institute’s latest survey of Canada’s “leading” investment managers on factors they claim create a “positive investment climate.” Perhaps not surprisingly, investment managers favour even lower corporate and personal income tax rates to benefit their clients… if not the middle class or the public interest.
Ironically, on the same day allnovascotia.com reported so favourably on The Rich List, it lamented Nova Scotia ranked ninth on the Fraser Institute’s list and “dead last” for taxing business profits.
It’s clearly time we put more money into the hands of our province’s richest. They need the cash.