Primarily single income, middle-class families, whether by choice or by chance, shouldn’t be penalised relative to their two income counterparts when paying taxes on the same earnings. Framed as such and designed solely to address this income disparity, the federal Family Tax Cut (FTC) would not be terribly controversial. But that’s not how it was designed, and the fallout has been all too typical of the increasingly hyper-partisan political environment in Ottawa.
Ontario’s budget will include welfare freeze: McGuinty
The Canadian Press Mar. 25, 2012
According to the Oxford English dictionary:
ADJECTIVE (austerer, austerest)
(Of living conditions or a way of life) having no comforts or luxuries.
Middle English: via Old French from Latin austerus, from Greek austēros ‘severe’.
One could argue few have less comforts or luxuries than those dependent on already well-below-subsistence-level government income supplements such as Ontario Works, Disability Support and Child Benefit programs.
These programs have not been indexed to reflect the cost of living over the years. In constant dollars, social assistance supplements for all recipients are less today than they were two decades ago. If that’s the case, then how have social assistance payments become such a budgetary burden in recent years?
Answer: Volume. From October 2008 thru January this year, the number of Ontario Works beneficiaries increased by one third, and Ontario Disability Support beneficiaries by one fifth. Both figures are well beyond Ontario population growth over the same period (3.78% from Q3 2008 to Q4 2011, CANSIM Table 051-0005). It’s not the ageing population either, as the elderly cannot collect federal Old Age Security / Guaranteed Income Supplement and provincial income supplements at the same time.
A significant part of the explanation for the ballooning Ontario Works numbers stems from the Great Recession. Job losses began to mount in October 2008, Ontario’s Manufacturing sector particularly hard hit. That recession and the current jobless (non)recovery have now spanned more than three years. However, federal Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, for the increasingly few who qualify for them, only extend for a few months in Ontario’s major (urban) population centres. As EI benefits lapsed… well, the numbers speak for themselves.