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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 3, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta No great enthusiasm over refundable tax scheme Wednesday, March 3, 1971 - THE LETHBRIDCE HERALD - 25 OTTAWA - A refundable tax on income increases beyond productivity increases is one of the alternatives to direct price and wage controls being con-didered here but not with much hope.that either is the ultimate newer to inflation. There may be, however, some concensus that the refundable tax scheme is a better answer politically and administratively than mandatory controls. In effect, it would be.com* pulsory saving instead of freezing. But beyond conceding the idea has merit as a device and is being examined, or rather reexamined, cabinet ministers do not display any great enthu- The idea was most recently revived in, public by Robert Bonner, former B.C. attorney-general and trade minister who now is a vice - president of the giant forest firm Macmillan Bloedel Ltd. He told some 250 members of the Industrial Relations Management Association meeting recently in Harrison Hot Springs that it would be "less bureaucratic, fairer and more workable" to establish a federal "refundable excess income tax assessed against both individuals and corporations in place of wage and price controls." Bonner claimed the tax would take away excess cash from both business and labor to prevent inflation and would return it to them in rational manner when the inflation threat eased and unemployment threatened. He argued it would automatically introduce restraint and stimulus at the appropriate times and also would tend to deter labor from seeking excessive increases at the bargaining table and business from hoisting prices too high in an effort to get extra profits since government would only skim off the excessive incomes. Labor Minister Bryce Mack-asey and Canadian Labor Congress vice - president Henri Lorrain were at the IRMA conference and both said Bonner's proposal was worth investigation, particularly because of the possibility it would be a less rigid apparatus for fighting inflation than direct controls. Corporate Affairs Minister SAVINGS Beisei�... LIKE THESE ? GENUINE ARBORITE KITCHEN COUNTER TOP Factory assembled, precision machined, past formed four styles, variety of colors and patterns. PER SHEET . VVIVl 9 VIIIU 1696 CI1T0NE _ SATIN LATEX 1fgJO0 One coat is all if takes, brushes and rollers wash clean in water. GALLON QUART g.88 2'66 C-l-L Fiat Enamel or Semi-Gloss V PRESS the do-it-yourselfer's dream. No messy adhesive to buy or apply, just remove the backing and place and press, new decorator patterns. 12"xl2" 1/16" Vinyl asbestos tile in easy to carry 9 square foot package which covers one square yard. 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Cabinets are precision machined and factory finished with a three coat furniture finish of remarkable toughness. See your Beaver store now for an estimate and discover that your dream kitchen is well within your budget. Convenient terms available. MAHOGANY PANELLING Handsome Do-it-yourself panelling for distlnctve rec rooms or feature walls. Better quality finish in choice of two shades. 4'x8'x4 MM, PER SHEET .. CITATION WOODGRAIN HARDBOARD Attractive V-Grooved Decorator Panels for all your Decorating needs. 4'x8' sheets................ .49 COLONIAL COLLECTION Beaver's exclusive panelling, Williamsburg Walnut, Chesapeake Oak, Charlestown Hickory. Authentic colonial reproductions exclusive to your Beaver store. Satin finished 4' x 8' x 4 MM embossed surface panels. The rich warmth of hardwood panels at real savings. EACH..... .49 SQUARE-TEX CEILING PANELS Your choice of silver glint or plain white. 4' x 4' (covers 16 sq. ft.) 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S33 A MONTH | NOW! | I We have carpenter: for I all your building needs. I FREE ESTIMATES ^ BEAVER COTTAGES Easily yours ... the fun and satisfaction that comes with cottage ownership. CALL US TODAY - we have a cottage package to suit your every need. THREE WAYS TO BUY BEAVER 1) Cash and Carry 2) Approved 30-Day Charge 3) Budget Terms to Suit You YOUR BEAVER Monday-Wednesday - 8:30 to 5:30 CTftDE IC ADEN. Thursdav ~ 8:00 am- t0 9:00 Pm- jIUKE 13 WEN: Friday - 8:00 to 5:30 Saturday - 8:00 to 5:00 p.m. We Pledge Satisfaction 1707 3rd. Avenue South, LETHBRIDGE Phone 328-4461 DON PICKETT, Manager Ron Bastard here made much the same comments but pointed out that while any income taxing device would probably need less staff since an entire revenue collecting department already was in being, direct controls could be applied selectively and as flexibly or rigidly as the government ordered. But whether the sympathetic responses to the proposal were made out of conviction or courtesy is not known. There are a couple of reasons for this1. First, the Bonner proposal is neither new nor provably effective. A partial version was tried by Mitchell Sharp when he was finance minister in the Pearson cabinet. In 1966 he slapped a five per cent "refundable cash profits tax" on corporations in an effort to take some of the steam out of a frenzied capital investment race which promised to touch off an inflationary round. It took $230 million out of their cash incomes in all during the boom and this was progressively returned to them during 1968, 1969 and last year. The value of the exercise is still being debated by the government's experts. An even clearer demonstration that the refundable tax device is not a panacea is the present situation in both Sweden and West Germany, both of which have used a compulsory savings type of technique on business and workers in the past several years to stave off inflation. Both are experiencing a serious and distressingly high rate of inflation right now despite the technique. However, neither of them have even a quarter of Canada's current unemployment rate. Prices and Incomes Commission head John Young declined to comment on the Bonner proposal but Economic Council of Canada vice - chairman Dr. 0. E. Thur said it offered certain advantages over direct controls without getting to the root of the problem. And that's the other reason no one is really doing cartwheels about devices for combatting inflation that have been mentioned so far. Dr. Thur points out that direct controls would require a large bureaucracy, even for selected industries, which would take time and effort to both assemble and dismantle. Although public opinion polls have shown a remarkable proportion of the public feel controls are needed or acceptable now, Dr. Thur asks whether public favor would still be high after a couple of years of irritations and restraints from compulsory controls. In peacetime, he doubts that direct controls are a feasible economic device ina demo cracy and that's where a refundable tax offers more hope -as devices go. "But there certainly is no specific evidence that this system is working well in either Sweden or West German y," he notes. Brief urges bigger tax dollar split OTTAWA (CP) - A bigger chunk of the Canadian tax dol lar and a regular voice at federal-provincial conferences was urged for municipalities Tuesday by the Canadian Federation of Mayors and Municipalities. The recommendations were contained in a brief presented to the special Senate-Commons constitution committee by the federation, which represents about 4,500 towns and cities across Canada. Setting out the growing demands on the budgets of municipalities, the brief said that property taxes were inadequate to meet expenses. The group agreed there would be "very real limits" in municipal levies on personal income. But it called for "a much greater reliance on transfer of funds from the provinces . . . with a substantial part on an unconditional basis either through grants or the sharing of taxes." "Such payments if made by the provinces would seem unavoidably to indicate some shifting of revenue from the central government to the provinial governments so that they may meet their responsibilities." The federation rejected the idea of giving municipalities equal states in the constitution with the provinces and the federal government. It also rejected the creation of a few city-states because if "could see no practical way of adjusting the separation of these central cores to the economics of their surrounding areas." The really crucial need is development of monitoring techniques sensitive enough to tell government when anti - inflationary action - of whatever sort - should be applied and when it should be taken off. "You know the problem really is that it's not easy to decide the precise moment when you should be applying brakes to the economy and the moment when you should release them or even push the throttle up," said Dr. Thur. "You have the same problem in Europe as here, and in fact around the world - with fiscal and (monetary policies there are always delays between policy and effect. "The exact moment that you perceive a problem may be as much as six months too late. That's the whole problem of intervention in the working of the economy-timing. "And it's worse in a democracy because a political power is not in a position to take strong action until there is public reception or pressure for it -and that might be long after you first perceive the problem which already is six months late. "A demonstration of that is that today everybody is just mad about the unemployment rate yet a year ago the same people had such a psychosis against inflation that it seemed the only priority problem." Dr. Thur said public and business opinion is gradually becoming more mature and sophisticated and with continuing refinement of economic monitoring and analysis techniques he believes in a decade or so a well - adapted technique for avoiding both the pitfalls of inflation and unemployment will be evolved. "It is impossible today to imagine what a successful incomes policy will prove to be but I am confident that in 10 or 15 years all developed so cieties will have one," he said Whatever the ideal may turn out to be, the refundable excess incomes tax may be a step closer to it than compulsory wage and price controls. That possibility was suggested a few days after Bonner's speech to IRMA, when President Nixon drew back from introducing direct controls in the U.S. Friday after a full week of board hints they would be initiated in the construction industry to avoid repeating 1970's inflationary 18 per cent wage increase average. Instead, Nixon suspended the 1931 regulation which required all contractors on federal projects to pay prevailing rates in their area, freeing them to bargain for lower rates. "The president simply didn't want to try to enforce a wage-pricfe freeze or government-imposed controls on a reluctant industry," explained Labor Secretary James Hodgson. That tends to bear out Dr. Thur's scepticism that compulsory controls are workable in peacetime democracy because the bandwagon for them was moving even faster in the U.S. than in Canada due to the immediate strains of the Vietnam War. Washington's second thoughts undoubtedly will reinforce a growing sentiment here that it's bootless trying to nerve up for controls until more basic understanding of the new economic problems is available - on the theory that shooting wild broadsides blindly in the hope of hitting the target is less useful than first pinpointing who and where the enemy really is. Big bang theory tested CHURCHILL, Man. (CP)- Scientists have collected space data they expect will go a long way to proving or disproving the theory that the universe originated with a "big bang." It will be several months before they know for sure but the work of a team headed by Dr. Herbert Gush of the University of British Columbia is already being hailed as a first. Information on cosmic radiation and temperature relayed to the Gush team from a Black Brant rocket fired here last weekend beat a French scientific group which was aiminig at collecting the same evidence. Dr. A. V. Jones of the National Research Council's upper atmosphere research branch said the Gush team's achievement is the first successful measuring of short wavelength radiation from this particular part of space. SUGGESTED STUDIES l^fa* Successful long wavelength measurements in the rocket flights of recent years led Dr. Gush to propose to NRC that sufficient short wavelength studies be made to enable scientists to judge the validity of the theory that the universe originated in a huge explosion of energy. Dr. Gush argued that the measurements would be one of the few existing measurable quantities with which to test the big bang theory. By learninig the intensity and temperature, scientists could calculate backwards to the size of the event which caused it. Dr. Gush, a professor of physics at the University of British Columbia, and co-workers from the University of Saskatchewan's space engineering division, have been experimenting directly with one offshoot of this scientific theory. In a telephone interview Monday from the northern Manitoba rocket range on the shores of Hudson Bay, Dr. Gush said the theory that the universe was created eons ago by a primeval fireball was largely unsubstantiated until recently. FORMED PLANETS According to the theory, when this ball of energy exploded, it also condensed rapidly into matter and formed the stars and the planets. In later years the theory was further advanced by a scientist at Princeton University who suggested that if the theory was correct, deep space should be a sea of'radiation all within a certain spectrum or intensity. Dr. Gush explained that when the first communications satellites went up they received strange signals from deep space and that this appeared to support the sea-of-radiation theory. Dr. Gush and his team harnessed a delicate apparatus to the nose cone of a Black Brant rocket and shot it 85 miles skyward. "We know now that the apparatus works and we received some data," said Dr. Gush. He said the data gathered now must be analyzed, a process that could take several months. Then, he said, if all goes well, the scientific team will repeat the experiment. Hard of Hearing? . . . See The New "DISCREET" available at EATON's HEARING AID CENTRE Stereo Room-Second Floor MR. H. W. MATHESON OUR CERTIFIED HEARING AID AUDIOLOGIST Will be in LETHBRIDGE on Mr. H. W. Matheson Thsirs., Mar. 4th 10 till 5 p.m. You won't believe your eyes or ears when you hear and see the "Discreet" by Qualitone. The most natural sounding eyeglass hearing aid we have ever made. Gone forever is artificial sound. No cost or obligation. Come in, call or write tomorrow. EATON'S HEARING CENTRE Second Floor Dial 327-8551 ;