One of the basics is that you don\’t believe what people tell you. You watch what they actually do as a guide to their desires, not what they\’ll spout. In economics, revealed preferences.
And one of the arguments going on at the moment is about how much Brits are prepared to pay in extra taxes. From opinion polls (some more validly worded than others) we might think that lots are prepared to pay lots.
Leave aside that sneaky feeling that in reality lots are prepared to say that others should pay lots.
Compare and contrast instead how many actually pay extra taxes as compared to those who say they\’re prepared to.
Well, there are in fact some. And \”lots\” is a relative term. But we do in fact know how much taxes are too low by.
£1,000 a year.
No, that\’s not £1,000 per person. Not per family, it\’s not £1,000 million, it is simply and exactly £1,000 for all 65 million of us each and every year.
That is, taxes are too low by something like 0.00000016%.
And how can we find this out? Well, a UKIP councillor has updated something I did for The Times back in 2006. Gone and asked, how many people made voluntary donations to the costs of government, over and above their legitimate tax bill?
Or £1,000 a year.
So, err, sorry lefties. No, there is no evidence that by their actions, Britons actually desire to pay higher taxes. Well, not more than a collective £1,000 a year at least.