Friday, December 02, 2005


There has been much discussion both in the MSM and in the Blogworld about two positions recently taken by the Conservative Party.

The first was Harper's announcement that a Conservative government would hold another vote on same sex marriage; the second was his announcement that the Conservatives would lower the GST by 1% immediately, and another 1% in the near future.

It seems to me, however, that the combination of the two is significant. The two most important parts of the Conservative coalition in this country are Social Conservatives and Fiscal Conservatives. How do these two policies reflect on that coalition?

Clearly the promise to have a vote on SSM is a gesture to the so-cons. Might a lowering of the GST as one to fis-cons? Here there is a problem.

GIven a choice as how to lower taxes, most conservative economists argue strongly that it is economically better to tax consumption (like the GST does) than to tax production though the capital gains or income taxes. (See the survey of economists' views, here).

What's interesting about the Conservatives' two big policy announcements of the election is that it reinforces the idea that fiscal conservatives are less influential in the party than social conservatives.

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