OECD Survey Finds People Want Higher Taxes Levied On Wealthy People

Tax the rich!

That’s the finding of a new survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). A majority of people surveyed in wealthy countries — including Canada — said they want to tax the rich more and get better services from governments at all levels.

In Canada, 69% of respondents said the government should tax the rich more than it currently does to support the poor. That's slightly higher than the 68% average for the nations surveyed by the OECD. The OECD surveyed 22,000 people in 21 countries, about 1,000 in a representative sample from each country. The online survey was performed in the spring and autumn of 2018.

Higher taxation of the rich has emerged as a political lightning rod in many wealthy countries, with U.S Democrats proposing hikes and "yellow vest" protesters in France demanding the wealthy bear a bigger tax burden. In Canada, there have been calls to do more to tax money stashed in offshore accounts by wealthy investors.

About 57% of Canadian respondents said they wanted government to do more to safeguard their economic and social security. There was broad support for building the welfare state in most OECD countries, with the exception of France and Denmark, whose welfare systems are already among the most generous in the world.

In Canada, many expressed worry about their financial security in retirement, and 45% said they wanted increased spending on pensions, even if it means taxes rise. Beginning this January, the premiums for Canada Pension Plan rose, meaning those who retire a generation from now will have higher pensions. The federal government and provinces agreed to raise CPP contributions, because there are fewer employers offering private pensions.

Half of Canadian respondents (50%) said they struggled to meet daily expenses, with 48% said they worried about becoming ill or disabled, and 36% said they feared losing their job.