Gamechangers

Imagining a government that works for Canadians

Is Trudeau really so elite he thinks a $210,000 income is middle class?

Having grown up wrapped in wealth and privilege, with a Bronfman kid as a lifelong friend and political ally, maybe Justin Trudeau could possibly be so out of touch as to think $210,000 is a middle class income.

But not likely. Justin Trudeau is no child. He’s traveled the country. Even if he wasn’t naturally curious about how others live, as Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader, Trudeau has had briefings.

So it’s hard to believe that Justin Trudeau doesn’t understand that a tax cut giving the biggest benefit to a $210,000 income is not a tax cut for the middle class. There must be a different explanation for him saying so.

Canadians will well remember Trudeau’s campaign pledge of a “middle class tax cut.” Fulfilling that pledge was one of the first orders of business for his new Liberal government, putting it to effect only two months after being sworn in.

Trudeau cut the tax rate in the third tax bracket — so no one earning under $52,408 gets a penny of benefit from it. The most recent Canadian census – though a little old now, having been done in 2015 – showed the actual median income in Canada was $33,920.

The benefit from Trudeau’s tax cut becomes fully phased in at $95,259 and continues to pay the maximum benefit up to an income of $210,371. An income over $90,000 is in the top 10 per cent. An income of $210,000 is very close to the top one per cent of all incomes.

Keep in mind, all these numbers are about taxable income — the amount of income a person is taxed on after making deductions for RRSPs, child care or similar expenses.

Before deductions, a person eligible for the maximum RRSP deduction of $26,500 and earning $235,000 would get the maximum benefit from Trudeau’s “middle class” tax cut.

Is $235,000 a year really a middle class income?

Over his four year term, Trudeau’s tax cut will pay out almost $20 billion.

That $20 billion that could have gone to increasing the Canada Health Transfer – rather than cutting it – or expanding medicare with pharmacare. He could have built affordable housing, to tackle the cost of rents for everyone.

It could have – but didn’t. Trudeau, like Scheer, is focused on making life easier for the rich and harder for everyone else — but he has prettier words. And he’s great with the hugs when the cameras are on.

But as Canadians have seen, when the cameras are off, Trudeau is a Prime Minister for SNC-Lavalin, Kinder Morgan, the Irvings and Big Pharma.

Now, in the lead-up to this fall’s election, the Trudeau Liberals are already congratulating themselves about their “middle class” tax cut. But they know who actually benefited — and that it wasn’t the middle class. But they’ll say it anyway.

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