Columnist Jim Hilton discusses politics in this installment of <em>Forest Ink.</em> (Wahkash Contracting Ltd. photo)

Columnist Jim Hilton discusses politics in this installment of Forest Ink. (Wahkash Contracting Ltd. photo)

FOREST INK: Support for the productive sectors of society

I was again reminded of people who do this for a living rather than just a retirement hobby

After spending an afternoon falling and skidding some of the dead fir trees on my property, I was again reminded of people who do this for a living rather than just a retirement hobby as in my case.

Broken chainsaws, frayed cables and near misses that could have been fatal are just part of the daily events in getting the logs to the mill site. I also appreciate the work involved with the produce that is for sale by the local business at the Friday markets.

I can also accept the business cost claims during tax time as part of making a profit but was annoyed by President Donald Trump during the recent debate about his justification of not filing his tax returns because of tax loopholes. But to be fair he is only one of many rich people that take advantage of capitalism as we have come to know it.

The politicians are providing many options of how to deal with the mounting debt resulting from the pandemic (stimulate the economy by reducing taxes) but I am leaning toward some suggestions by Rutger Bregman that deal with reducing tax havens, corporate take overs of small businesses, decreasing the size of financial institutions and eliminate jobs that promote the rich to become even richer.

After a quick Google query about tax havens I got the following: “The rich pay lower tax rates than the middle class because most of their income doesn’t come from wages, unlike most workers. Instead, the bulk of billionaires’ income stems from capital, such as investments like stocks and bonds, which enjoy a lower tax rate than income.”

“Tax havens harm the economy … that’s because they are not just about beating the tax system of other countries (which is harmful enough, and little short of an act of economic warfare) but they also have the specific aim of undermining the fair markets on which our local, national and international economies depend.”

Information is also provided about countries that have the highest rates of tax for the rich. In 2019, the highest income earners in Sweden paid 57.19 per cent, more than anywhere else in the world. This is significantly more than the OECD average of 41.65 per cent and in general, income taxes are higher in the Nordic countries.

So how else can we stimulate the economy? I have had a problem with cash handouts but some experiments seem to justify the approach. A recent handout took place in Vancouver as described by Jiaying Zhao.

The study as the first randomized control trial in developed countries examining the impact of unconditional cash transfers on homeless individuals. Specifically, a one-time unconditional cash grant of $7,500 to each of 50 homeless individuals in Vancouver, with another group as controls.

Preliminary data shows that the cash transfer results in significant improvements in housing stability, food security, savings, and cognitive function, with no increases in spending on temptation goods. Based on a cost-benefit analysis, the cash transfer results in net savings per person per month via reduced shelter use. Preliminary findings suggest that unconditional cash transfers can be an effective and cost-effective solution to reduce homelessness in developed countries.

READ MORE: Old growth forests under new management

Some other authors that have written on similar topics are the following: George Monbiot, the British writer for the Guardian in his most recent book, Out of the Wreckage. Canadian philosopher Todd Dufresne writes in The Democracy of Suffering Our collective future faces a now-or-never moment From climate change to pandemics: we can fix this mess together.

All of the authors mentioned above have some very severe warnings but have encouraged all the readers to take some time to consider some new ideas that may seem impossible but are similar to other issues that challenged past generations but have eventually prevailed like reducing slavery, suffrage for women, preventing some diseases and many others.

Jim Hilton is a professional agrologist and forester who has lived and worked in the Cariboo Chilcotin for the past 40 years. Now retired, Hilton still volunteers his skills with local community forests organizations.


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