(258) Canada’s corporate cash pile

After decades of business-friendly governments it stands to reason that Canadian corporations are flush with cash.  Six hundred billion dollars-worth if you’d like to know the figure.  While it’s nice to be within what seems like the last reasonably functional western economy save Germany it’s also nice to dream about what that money coud be doing to not only keep things from slip-sliding but to actually make life better.

We do still care about that don’t we?  Remember, about ten percent of Canadians are in poverty, with a much higher number for children.  No doubt, there are good business reasons to hoard cash in the corporate vaults.  There’s a lot of uncertainty out there, the Americans are in trouble and so are the Europeans.  No harm in having something set aside in case times get tougher, right?  Thing is, all that hoarded cash represents corporate tax breaks.  It can’t be paid out in wages if it is sitting in conservative investments or general accounts.  Somebody needs to remind these big, rich corporations about Henry Ford’s five dollar day.

In 1914 Ford decided to undertake a little welfare capitalism.  Henry started plowing a portion of his enormous profits into marked improvements in wages.  Shocking at the time, the five dollar day was in the car maker’s selfish self interest because better off workers were better workers and many reinvested their wages in Ford products.

The stress and difficulty of middle and working class life is a cliche in Canada in 2013.  The federal government that dished out all those corporate tax breaks has warned of the rising levels of personal debt in Canada and predicts an end to overvalued real estate prices.

So, how about it corporate Canada?  Five bucks a day for everyone on the payroll.  Cash, gift cards, bus tickets, neck massages, benefit plans, courses, days off …we’ll let you pick the delivery system.  What is this, Soviet Russia’s second five year plan? No, it’s Canada where the people are sensible, even in the corner office.  Don’t worry corporate Canada, you’ll benefit, too.  Big time.

Reality not politics dictates cash hoarding
ft.com – see also link to paper from CD Howe Institute

Stop the Corporate Tax Giveaways
Canadian Labour Congress

image: Stinson Bakery (Alberta) bread token by Jerry “Woody” via Wikimedia Commons