Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dumb attack ads, and the real tax-cut winners

I'm baffled by the B.C. Liberals' focus on attacking the leaders of the other parties. So far, the efforts have looked amateurish and cynical, and have failed utterly to change public opinion.
Surely the critical issue for the party is finding ways to make people see Christy Clark more positively, not trying to slag the other guys.
The last Angus Reid poll found 28 per cent of British Columbians approve of Clark's work as premier; 53 per cent approve of the job Dix is doing as opposition leader. It's hard to see how any collection of low-budget attack ads are going to drag Dix down to less than 28 per cent.
There's certainly potential in pushing the NDP to commit to positions in advance of the election. (Though Dix will then remind people about the Liberals' promises not to bring in the HST, and ask what their positions are worth.)
But the attack ads seem pointless.
And they risk raising unintended issues.
The latest web attack, for example, says "When the NDP left government, a family of four earning $60,000 a year paid $1,970 more in provincial income tax than they do today," citing budget tables.
That's true enough. But the budget tables also calculate total provincial taxes - MSP, sales taxes, carbon tax.Those other taxes and fees went up $1,463 under the Liberals.
The family still pays less to the province - but $507 less, not $1,970. It's a dubious approach for a party trying to claim Dix is the one who can't be trusted.
And the ad opens the door to other tax questions.
The tax changes since 2001 under the Liberals have meant low income people pay much less to the province - 50 per cent less for a single person earning $25,000, 40 per cent less for a family of four earning $30,000.
But the next biggest beneficiary, given the budget examples, is a single person earning $80,000. He, or she, pays 28 per cent less than he did in 2001.
And a family of four earning $90,000 has received a bigger overall provincial tax cut - in dollars, and as a percentage - than a family earning $60,000.
Worse, the smallest reduction has been for a senior couple earning $30,000 in pension incomes. They're  paying three per cent less - $1.50 a week in tax relief.
Then, of course, there is the bigger assumption in the ads that tax cuts, in and of themselves, are automatically a good thing.
That family of four earning $60,000 is paying about $10 less a week to the province than it did in 2001. Maybe many of those families would consider it good value to pay the $10 if health care or education was improved for them and the people they care about.


scotty on Denman said...

Is it BC Liberal desperation or are they just stupid? Or both?

Their attack ads against BC Conservative leader John Cummins actually served to raise his profile. His popularity polls went up, some of it at BC Liberal expense.

So, to compound that retrogressive move, the BC Liberals decided to launch an anti-NDP attack ad. Sure enough, the NDP's popularity polls went up, widening the point spread even more.

As if the they don't quite get it, the BC Liberals now launch an anti-Adrian Dix attack site.

These ads plainly aren't improving BC Liberal polling numbers. The ads have the (inadvertent?) effect of inviting comparisons between them and their rivals, comparisons unfavourable to the BC Liberals. So, Dix back-dated a memo; how does that compare to BC Rail or the HST? The NDP "destroyed" BC's economy in the 90s, say the BC Liberals; but how does the NDP's 3-plus % growth compare with their own? Turns out economic growth was much lower under the BC Liberals.

It's almost as if these ads are intended for die-hard BC Liberal supporters who hate anything NDP, no matter what comparison, where the ads seem a somewhat desperate measure to prevent any more support moving to another party. It doesn't seem to improve their situation, therefore it's stupid. But, considering the BC Liberals might be wiped out as completely as the Socreds were, the attack ad tactic might not be so stupid....in a desperation kind of way.

Anonymous said...

CKNW is starting with the dumb things the NDP did in the 90's. Sounds like they are asking do you want more of the same. Hardly a word about the lies the lieberals have told the last 11 years. Word verification half the time I can't read the crap.

Anonymous said...

Add to that the new 1500.00 PER YEAR for those who must cross the port mann to get to their jobs. And of course we have had the hst for how long now when it should be gone! We pay more and more gas tax each year, for what? Everything is up substantially since these idiots came in. Absolutely disgusted with them and their backers.