More than four in ten young Canadians think that socialism is the best economic system for Canada, though few want to pay higher taxes to fund higher spending.
According to a Fraser Institute poll released on Wednesday, Canadians aged 18 to 34 support socialism (46%), capitalism (39%), communism (13%), and fascism (8%).
A Leger poll commissioned for the policy think tank shows that 42% of all Canadians support socialism as their preferred economic system. The number rises to 50% among Canadians aged 18-24, and it drops to 38% support among Canadians over 55.
“A whole segment of the population — not just in Canada but across the developed world — self-describes as socialist, but many of them have never lived in a world with genuine socialism nor the misery it imposed,” said Jason Clemens, executive vice president of the Fraser Institute and co-author of Perspectives on Capitalism and Socialism: Polling Results from Canada, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Unlike previous polls of this type, this one focused on how respondents understood socialism. Many young Canadians defined socialism as getting more government assistance. However, according to the report, socialism is defined as the state controlling the means of production, namely the raw materials, capital such as machinery and equipment, and buildings required to transform various inputs into goods and services.
How to fund socialism?
Traditionally, socialism implies that the government, rather than people or businesses, controls and directs companies and industries, thereby controlling and directing the economy.
Among the 18-to-34 demographic, the most common views of socialism are “the government providing more services like healthcare, education, and daycare” (67%) and “the government ensuring a certain level of income for all citizens” (59%). The traditional definition, “the government taking charge of companies and industries to control the economy” (36%), is the least prevalent.
Even though many young Canadians support socialism in some form, they believe that passing the buck to affluent citizens would fund additional services and provide a universal basic income rather than paying for it themselves.
Seven in ten (72%) believe socialism should be financed by raising taxes on the wealthiest 1%, while 60% believe the government should tax them 10% more. “These targeted tax hikes will not generate near enough revenue to pay for the higher levels of spending linked with socialism,” said Globerman.
“If Canadians want a larger government and substantially higher government spending, then all Canadians, and not just top income earners, will have to pay higher taxes to finance it.”
Fewer (32%) said income taxes should be raised on all citizens except those with low income to finance socialism, and the fewest (20%) said a purchase tax on goods and services should be imposed to fund socialism.