Will Hutton on Taxation

Well, yes:

Too many people, not just on the right but in the moderate centre, share the view that taxation is not legitimate if it threatens \’prosperity\’ and are buying the City/business line that even moderate capital gains tax, corporation tax, inheritance tax and gently progressive income tax are obstacles to \’enterprise\’. Taxation is increasingly only legitimate if it taxes something \’bad\’ – environmental pollution or cheap alcohol. The first principle of the British taxation system must be to keep the rich, business and the City happy, the toiling geese that lay the golden egg of prosperity.

Sounds good to me. Achieving prosperity is after all the aim of the entire adventure, the point of having an economy in the first place. Will seems to disagree though.

We need the City and the rich, but we need them to accept obligations along with their privileges. That requires argument and a wider culture that holds them to account, regarding paying tax as a civic obligation. In their absence, we have what we witnessed last week, with even the arts establishment arguing for non-dom privileges.

Civic, eh? That requires being a citizen, does it not? And er, the majority of the non-doms are in fact citizens of other countries, aren\’t they?

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