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In Canada: The New Reality Facing Canadians
Politics of Poverty
Different interpretations on the right and left
There are, of course, valid arguments for and against government-centred wealth re-distribution.
Against Government-Centred Wealth Re-distribution
Proponents on one side of the debate feel that social engineering by government is
a particularly offensive idea. The imposition of high taxes to maintain large social
security infrastructures not only restricts the mobility of a free-market society, but
also infringes on citizens’ liberty. It is argued that heavy tax burdens on citizens
will diminish the society’s productivity as a whole since their ability to reinvest
in the society is restricted.
Moreover, proponents of this philosophy argue that the notion that governments will
spend its citizens’ income better than the citizens themselves is foolish. There is,
inherent in this argument, the view that a productive market society will bring benefits
to all its members, naturally. In some circles, this is known as the ‘trickle-down’
High profile cases of fiscal mismanagement have compounded a belief that vast bureaucracies
are inefficient. Put simply, they argue that political failures are almost always greater
than market failures.
For Government-Centred Wealth Re-distribution
Arguments for the centralized, income redistribution method are committed to the notion
that government’s central purpose is to advocate the needs of the community above that
of its primarily self-interested members.
Most of the data shows a clear correlation between reduced poverty statistics and large,
government-centred social security systems. But this requires a great deal of faith
in government institutions.
As for ‘trickle-down’ economics, they argue that there are systemic barriers to social
mobility; prosperity will continue to benefit certain circles and leave the majority
without if there is no levelling mechanism. Above all, proponents of this philosophy
argue that there will be economic gains for the society that can satisfy a greater proportion
of its population. An egalitarian society, it is proposed, will benefit as a result
of a larger number of healthy, productive members. In short, the most successful society
is the one that produces the highest quality of life for the greatest number.