I take them, the $500 from the government!

To many commentators, the announcement was greeted as a bad joke: What’s $1.37 a day worth, huh? This is what represents the $500 tax credit announced in Quebec’s recent budget. However, it is not that negligible.

Analysts have raised eyebrows when they noted that the Legault government backs 94% of taxpayers to help them tackle inflation.

The “one-time amount to offset the rise in the cost of living,” the official name of the new $500 tax credit, is awarded to anyone who earns a net income of less than $100,000 per year, regardless of income. In addition, a portion of the $500 is also available to those with net incomes less than $105,000.

Since Quebec has few very wealthy citizens, even less extremely wealthy, those will in fact be people who will be compensated!

The verdict was therefore swift: to aim so broadly, the government was guilty of electoralism. Heavens, what a sin none of his predecessors practiced (hum…)!

For my part, I was much more annoyed by the tone of the debate than by the maneuver of the government.

On the one hand, we heard virtuous people who broadly underlined that they would donate this $500 to an organization that really needed it! We have understood the invitation to follow them. This generosity, proclaimed loud and clear, should not, however, disguise that such a donation itself is backed by a tax credit that benefits the donor…

On the other hand, there were those who were concerned about the inflation spike that $500 could cause with the ensuing avalanche of spending (really!), including unnecessary restaurant meals. But wasn’t saving restaurants part of some sort of collective mission not so long ago? So we have to infer from this that this whole sector is doing better now and doesn’t need our support anymore?

The most reasonable went there for their advice on the best investments to make this $500 that had fallen from the sky profitable. As if we had hit the jackpot!

Finally, there was little or no doubt about the rising cost of living. Yet that is what motivated the government to choose this election gift over another, because inflation concerns us all.

And he’s right: as proof, all the loud cries we hear, even from those making over $100,000 a year, once the price of gasoline rises more than 2 cents a gallon! Reports and analysis are being made, and the commentary industry is very outraged at the ups and downs in the price at the pump.

Would it therefore have been necessary, to take less criticism, for the CAQ government to imitate those of British Columbia’s NDP and strictly compensate drivers (individuals receiving $110 and companies $165)? Or that it cuts taxes on gasoline, like in Alberta or Ontario (where it is indeed an election promise from Prime Minister Doug Ford, because it only applies if he gets reelected)?

Too bad for those, including the poor, who don’t have a car; the worse for the environment.

All in all, I prefer the Quebec approach, which at least recognizes the general repercussions of inflation, which only very high-income people, like many in the mainstream media, can ignore, to the point where the ridicule goes far. driven.

I also saw there one of the reasons for the success of the Legault government that the polls continue to reflect, despite the rise of Éric Duhaime’s Conservative Party in Quebec.

Furious identity debates dominate the public space, while on dry land the cost of living is the real topic of concern. Everyone – regardless of gender, color, sexual orientation and income! – is currently trying to adjust his lifestyle, so much inflation is shaking our daily life. Food, shelter, clothing, heating, a haircut: everything costs real, but also really more expensive!

The government has therefore chosen to be there for everyone. Yes, this universal “everyone” that takes us out of the increasingly harsh labels attached to individuals. It’s good to be reminded that we’re in this together—albeit not all in the same class, but subject to the same swell.

Now this “everyone” is happy that we don’t reject the sober side of his life: that we don’t tell him $75 is enough for a family grocery store; that no one pretends that “his” $500 will be burned in the restaurant; don’t joke about Vachon cakes or other popular products that he can keep buying with this extra $1.37 a day. In short, he is happy that he is spared the lessons. This is what the caquists have succeeded in doing.

Nor do I believe that the Legault administration made such a populist gesture. Rather, this move comes in the wake of the approach taken everywhere else in Canada during the pandemic: the implementation of a simple measure, without too many criteria, that will provide one-time support in a moment of crisis that we don’t really see coming. If it’s not optimal, it’s fast, so it’s effective.

As inflation is here to stay, more targeted measures are now needed, such as the $200 special benefit the government released at the start of the year for the 3.3 million less well-off Quebecers entitled to the solidarity tax credit. Also more structuring, as the opposition demands, so that the boost becomes a solid helping hand.

But being one of those people who keeps a close eye on where their money is going, I also know that even small increases should not be neglected. And that those who make hot throats live well cut off from their society.

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