Should we hang Stewart Lansley now or later?

With gentle persuasion tried and failed, the government needs to change tack. It should introduce an emergency \”revival levy\” on cash-rich corporations. This could then be used to finance an immediate payment to those most likely to spend it – those in receipt of tax credit. This would represent a one-off, direct redistribution from the main winners of the 2008 crash and its aftermath to the biggest losers.

A 10% levy on the largest corporations would raise around £10bn, enough to pay each household in receipt of tax credit – a mix of the unemployed and those on the lowest earnings – more than £2,000 (or a smaller amount to a wider group of benefit recipients). This level of demand injection would help break the current economic deadlock.

Of course companies would complain. But an emergency situation requires emergency measures. And there is a clear precedent. In 1997, the incoming Labour government imposed a windfall tax on the privatised utility companies, raising £5bn to finance a job creation programme for the unemployed.

Sigh. So he wants to raid our pensions to shovel money to his client group.

Quite apart from the fact that the part of corporation tax that doesn\’t fall on the shareholders falls on the wages of the workers. In the UK\’s case more than 50% of it actually. So he\’s also arguing for lower wages for those who currently have the low wages that he thinks need subsidising.

Is hanging enough? Do we need to draw and quarter as well?

13 comments on “Should we hang Stewart Lansley now or later?

  1. Actually the biggest losers from the 2008 crash were the overpaid investment bankers and those property investors who were geared up with other people’s money that they had borrowed.
    So Stewart Lansley wants to give them money? He is the only person who does.
    [Inequality of both income and wealth in the UK has declined since the crash]

  2. Such measure will only introduce uncertainty and reduce investment, because 10% today is 15% tomorrow.

  3. Actually – I think the 1997 Labour government provides a good paradigm for what needs to be done. Sadly for him, it isn’t what Mr. Lansley suggests but it is a variation. I propose a ‘Socialist levy’ (maybe Surtax of 35% to mirror France) which would be applied to the incomes of all Senior members of the TUC, the Labour movement, Compass, most of the journalists from the independent, Guardian and Mirror and the various Leftist bloggers like Richard Murphy, Eoin Clarke and Owen Jones (add as you like) – This could then be used to compensate the victims of the policies they advocate. Everyone’s a winner!

  4. @Van_Patten: the Tories are missing a trick here. They should legislate to introduce a voluntary tax rate, a suitably ‘progressive’ one, such that anyone can opt into if they so choose. Lets say 20% basic rate, 45% higher rate, 55% top rate above £150K. Lets see how many of the champagne socialists put their money where their mouths are.

  5. Surely the point is that you deduct taxes from the hard earned wages of the poorly paid in such a way as they don’t notice. Corporation tax and “employers” NI are too prominent examples. The people working on minimum wage are unlikely to have heard of tax incidence, far less understand it.
    You than give them back their own money very openly and lo you are a good kind generous government protecting the poor from their grasping employers

  6. Would have thought that the biggest bunch of people whose asset values went up pre-Crunch and have not really come down again would be your average homeowners,so a good dose of the Henry George version of Land Value Tax would be in order.But the Labour Party would be as little likely to offend this mob of something-for-nothing-scroungers (homeowners)as the Tories who started this scam when they got rid of Schedule A in 1960′s .The smart thing to do would be to bung cheap money at all problems and leave present land values untouched and then kick in the LVT when they started to inflate but that would be taking one of those hard decisions politicians are always wetting themselves over.

  7. It’s a classic “shake the money tree harder” argument from the horrid Left.

    While agreeing with most contributors on this blog, I do find myself wondering why we on the economic right fail so abjectly to convince our friends and neighbours that today’s version of socialism, far from being “nice” is mean-spirited, coercive, nasty and dishonest.

    Capitalism, on the other hand, is nothing more or less than people doing things voluntarily for one anotherm, in return for payment – which seems quite “nice”? Any thoughts?

  8. @Richard: It comes about because we let them frame the question.

    Look at the latest corporate tax avoidance ‘scandal.’ Only one company (Google) stood up and said “Piss off. We follow the law,” and even that was couched diplomatically.

    At the personal level it’s the same. We tend not to stand up and say that we reduced our tax bills.

    And if you want an analogy, try cartoons of Mohammed. We, the West, should stand united and say “Piss off. We value freedom of speech over your belief.” (And, if they ask, the belief of a large number of our own.)

    But no. We are cowardly.

  9. Jim (#8)

    From a political perspective I think it would be a great idea-doubt you would get much taken, though!

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