Equalization makes us poorer, encourages bad policy and fosters bitterness. Unfortunately we can’t just take it out behind the barn and kill it with an axe. It’s wedged into the Constitution and besides, its original purpose of protecting Canadians against the possibility of a provincial government collapsing financially is not unworthy. But we could certainly make it less costly, harmful and unfair.
Satirist P.J. O’Rourke says, “Beyond a certain point complexity is fraud … when someone creates a system in which you can’t tell whether or not you’re being fooled, you’re being fooled.” So take Canada’s multi-billion-dollar equalization program … please. It’s so complicated even experts have trouble with it, and regular citizens are excluded completely.