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Anger makes HST choice difficult

I hate making crucial decisions when I'm angry. And I mean really angry, not just upset or a bit miffed.

I hate making crucial decisions when I'm angry. And I mean really angry, not just upset or a bit miffed.

I'm pretty good at putting my emotions aside and making rational decisions, but it's difficult to know for sure if I'm giving in to my nerves or overcompensating and deciding the other way when I'm angry - I mean really angry.

And I am really angry about the HST.

I'm angry about the way it was instituted. I'm angry that our leaders outright lied to us about their intentions.

And I'm even angry that there are knuckleheads out there who think it was okay for Mssrs. Hansen and Campbell to lie to us "because the alternative would have been worse."

The alternative is never worse than honesty.

And I'm really angry that our politicians have deluded themselves into believing otherwise - and that otherwise reasonable people have grown stupid enough to support the delusion.

I'm angry at the way our leaders continue to mislead (are they lying if they are stupid enough to believe their fabrications?) us about the impact of the HST on "average" families.

There are no average families. Average families only exist in statistics. Real families are never average.

I'm angry that I've calculated that I will probably save a few pennies with the HST - but I'm angry that I don't know.

And that's because I'm angry over last-minute changes to the HST basics - promises of future cuts that mean the HST must have been a punitive tax whose revenue wasn't truly needed, or else they are promises that, of necessity, will have to be broken when the coffers run dry.

I'm angry that the questionable promise of an eventual two per cent cut in the HST has confused a lot of people - myself included - and our elected leaders are using that confusion to promote the HST.

I'm angry that I thought Christy Clark was a better sort of person, and I was clearly wrong.

I'm angry that she and her government are promoting the HST.

The referendum parameters were clear: each side on the HST debate was given a set budget with which to promote itself - and we have taxpayer-funded government ads and MLA speakers filled with information that is clearly one-sided, and often decidedly misleading.

I'm angry that, as cynically conspiratorialist as I am capable of being when I put my mind to it, I can't figure a reason for this abuse.

It could be that big business is the chief beneficiary of the HST, as some have suggested, and the politicians are toadying up to them. Or it may have to do with the total tax pull of the HST versus GST+PST, and that comes down to the exemptions ... or lack thereof.

People are being duped into comparing a 10 per cent tax against 12 per cent - but that's apples and oranges.

The (future) HST, although lower, is actually applied to a much wider range of things, like services and food and children's needs, which weren't taxed prior to HST. HST may leave average families better off, if the "average" family does no home repairs this year, or isn't a senior couple needing to hire a service to cut the lawn - the list goes on.

Trying to calculate the real impact of the HST against the GST+PST is extremely complicated, made purposely more so by the two per cent "cut" - a deliberate attempt to obfuscate a confusing situation further.

In fact, I'm so angry that, whether I'm right or not, I'm voting "Yes."

It always comes out sounding so terribly petty when you say "No" while you're angry.

Bob Groeneveld is the editor of the Langley Advance.

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