Mr. Murphy Again

An interesting question really:

What are relevant criteria for identifying taxable capacity? – earnings, expenditure, age, hair, status, education, gender, height, assets, disability, responsibilities?

What exactly should we use?

We already do use earnings (income tax), expenditure (VAT, Stamp Duty, various excise taxes), age (there are tax breaks for certain age groups), education is at least mooted (various forms of graduate tax), gender (yes, there are differences in taxation according to gender: just think of the great whoops of victory which greeted zero rating tampons), assets (inheritance tax to start with), disability (yes, there are tax breaks for certain disabilities) and responsibilities (there are indeed tax breaks for those who carry certain responsibilities).

We don\’t in fact tax hair: but we do know that having hair leads to higher incomes than not having it, on average. Nor do we currently tax height, although Greg Mankiw has impishly suggested that we should, given that the taller do indeed make higher incomes than the short, again on average.

Status is about the only one that no one does talk about taxing.

Ritchie\’s response?

My guess is he thinks that funny.

Many of us might think it a pretty sick sense of humour, especially given the discrimination all too readily apparent in the work the review has commissioned. Notice he forgot to mention wealth. Why? Was he trying to tell us something?

Can\’t see what\’s sick about that at all myself.

Oh, and, umm, well, aren\’t "assets" and "wealth" normally thought of as synonyms? (Although, to be fair, wealth is better defined by nett assets.)

3 thoughts on “Mr. Murphy Again”

  1. Well, I tried extending an olive branch to Rich and was bombarded with insults.

    And he can’t even be bothered to get his insults correct* – as it happens, I am not a member of The Bow Group either, they just (very kindly)published my tax simplification paper ( for which I was roundly slagged off here and elsewhere, but that’s another topic).

    * To the extent that there is anything bad about being a member of the Conservatives or of The Bow Group.

  2. I asked him this question, with the following result:

    Assets are particular

    Wealth is a total

    I do see a difference, and a very real one


    can anyone explain what he might be getting at?

  3. D, that stumped me. Perhaps it’s a bit like Nationalist Socialist economics where they divided stuff into ‘assets’ (good things that make things, like machines) and ‘wealth’ (an evil mechanism which the Jewish people used to impoverish the German worker)?

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