Credits: STOCK ART
Putting dinner on the table, shirts on the kids' backs and a roof over one's head are called the "basic necessities," but their share of the average family's budget is now exceeded by the demands of tax collectors.
According to Fraser, a typical family made $74,200 last year and paid 41.5% of that ($30,800) to one level of government or another.
Of course, the tax grab goes way beyond income tax. There are also sales taxes, property taxes and gasoline taxes, Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan contributions, tobacco taxes, liquor taxes, import taxes and amusement taxes.
Have you flown lately? Chances are you've paid an airport improvement charge. That's a tax dedicated to airport construction and renovation.
Stayed at a hotel? Then you've probably paid an accommodation tax above and beyond the sales tax you also paid on your room. You may also have paid a destination promotion fee - a tax charged by the local tourism board to pay for its advertising campaigns aimed at convincing you to come to the city or town you are already in.
Bought a vehicle larger than a Smart car? Gas-guzzler tax. New tires? Rubber recycling tax. Big-screen TV? Electronics disposal tax. Died? Inheritance tax. Sold your stocks? Capital gains.
And on and on and on.
Not a day goes by that the average Canadian does not pay taxes - visible and hidden - several times.
According to the Fraser Institute, the rise in taxes has outstripped the rise in almost every other expense in the past 50 years.
Taxes have outstripped inflation, too, by about three-fold since 1961. In the past five decades, taxes have increased by 1,738%; the rate of inflation has been just 663%.
Over the same period, the cost of clothing is up just 500% and food just 518%.
Of all the major family expenses, housing comes closest to keeping up with the rise in taxes. Housing costs are up 1,185% since 1961. Most home buyers know there has been an enormous rise in housing prices since the 1970s, especially in major cities. Yet even with the so-called housing bubble, taxes have outpaced housing-price increases by nearly 50%.
Think of governments as giant black holes consuming everything unfortunate enough to get caught in their taxation fields.
As the Fraser Institute also points out, these calculations do not include public debts, which are a form of deferred taxation. At some point, future taxpayers are going to be on the hook for all the debts and deficits current governments are racking up.
And what good are all these taxes?
Has the poverty rate gone down because of all the taxes devoted to social programs? Not according to social justice activists.
Are hospital waiting lists shorter? No. In fact, they've doubled in the past 20 years despite (or is that because of?) public spending on health more than doubling.
Has life on First Nations reserves improved? Has crime been eliminated by throwing tens of billions of dollars at the so-called root causes? Is public infrastructure - roads, bridges, schools, community centres, parks, etc. - in tiptop shape?
About the only things that have improved as a result of all this extra taxation are civil service employment and pay.
Fifty years ago, typical Canadians spent 56.5% of their income on the necessities of life, just 33.5% on taxes.
If you feel you've been running on a treadmill to nowhere - income-wise - over the last few years and decades, blame governments' insatiable appetites.