Munir Sheikh, author of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute report “Estimates of the size of government: Adjusted for tax expenditures” was invited on Ed Hand’s show on 1310 News in Ottawa to discuss his findings. The report demonstrated that traditional measures dramatically understate the total size of government, and it attempts to adjust for tax expenditures, finding that the federal government is 50% larger than generally understood.
Tax expenditures return money to select individuals, if they undertake certain activities that the government would otherwise do directly through program spending, so they should be included in a measure of government, says Sheikh, who is former Chief Statistician at Statistics Canada. He told Hand that if you don’t take tax expenditures into account, “You understate the size of government, you understate how much taxes we actually pay … and you understate the size of government expenditures,”
For audio of the segment, click here.