Polly Again!

Essentially, it\’s all those rich bastards\’ fault. Take their money and spend it on what I desire instead.


Historians will puzzle as to why a Labour chancellor slashed capital gains tax from 40% to 18% at the behest of private equity.

No, I don\’t think they will actually. They\’ll say it was because they were frit.

There was a cut to 10% for certain types of capital gains: largely those connected to investments in businesses which were actually being run by said investor. This led some ignorants to scream that private equity investors were pay less tax than their cleaners (an idiotic mantra: a lower marginal tax rate perhaps, but not less tax). Said ignorants including one Polly T. In a moment of panic that rate was raised to 18%….and the politicalquid pro quo was that the rate for other capital gains came down from 40% to 18%.

Whether this is a desirable tax change or not is a different matter from hte process which brought it about. That process being the screaming polemics which issued from The Guardian\’s comments page. Yes, you helped to cause this Polly!

Why did Britain oversee more tax havens than any other nation?

You\’ve not quite got this thing about the Channel Islands and the Dependencies yet, have you? We don\’t run them internally. They\’re "free" to that extent. We have no right to tell them what their legal systems or tax rates should be.

Why were buy-to-let mortgages tax-deductible, puffing up the housing boom?

Because borrowing to invest in any business is tax deductible, that\’s why. There are very good reasons why we want a bigger private rental sector: it\’s well known that labour immobility raises the unemployment rate so we\’d like to have rental accomodation so that people can move. And no, social housing isn\’t the solution for it takes even longer (years apparently, last time I asked a local councillor (Antonia Bance since you ask)) to move across local council boundaries, hugely longer than even buying and selling a house takes. But leave that aside: the removal of tax deductibility for borrowings to invest would be a massive and fundamental change in the structure of the entire economy. Not something we\’d do just to get buy to let landlords.

Why was there an incomes policy for low-paid public workers, with no word about out-of-control top pay?

Because there are idiots out there (not a million miles away from The Guardian\’s comments page) who insist that there should be a policy for public sector pay. I\’d be absolutely delighted if there were not: let\’s abolish the national pay deals and let each employer pay what they need to get the labour they want. Nurses\’ pay (as an example) would rise in London and the South. Might well fall oooop North. Great, I\’m all for that: it\’s called a market, and it\’s the best method we\’ve ever found for allocating resources. You know, that price mechanism thing.

But as I say, there are those who say that such a thing cannot be allowed to happen: all must earn the same for the same job. And it\’s precisely because of such idiocy that we thus have an incomes policy for public sector workers. Do away with national pay deals and you won\’t need the policy.

(Despite the crunch, the total packages of chief executives of the 30 biggest UK companies rose by a staggering 33% in 2007-08. ……I have to admit, I\’m a little puzzled by these numbers but I\’ve never bothered to get to the root of it. There\’s to my mind two possibilities here. 1) These are the pay rises that those who are already CEOs are getting each year and 2) these are both those and the pay rises that people becoming CEOs get. That latter would be of course conflating a rise in the general level of pay and promostions. Anyway, what was Alan Rusbrodger\’s pay rise this year? 15% wasn\’t it?)

across the west the wealth of nations is shared quite differently, and it is the most equal countries that prosper.

You\’ll have to define prosper there Polly. I know of no linkage between lower Gini and higher GDP growth. If anything, the relationship is the other way around in industrial economies. Greater redistribution leads to slower growth.

The minimum wage is not rising in line with inflation.

Eh? It\’s some 3.5% this year, ain\’t it? Around and about the inflation rrate, following on from some years of much higher than inflation rises?

To spend £200,000 on a wristwatch is a defiant spit in the face of those whose lives would be transformed by such a sum.

Jebus, cretinism writ large. For of course that £200,000 goes to the makers, wholesalers, retailers and their staff of those watches. Buying things is a redistribution of wealth.

The state is people\’s only protection to regulate fuel prices,


Although, hysteria aside, she\’s right on one point. We do indeed have some of the most expensive petrol in the world, a result of the State taxing it more heavily than just about anywhere in the world. So the State does indeed regulate the fuel price: they make it expensive.

So, anyone got one of them cluebats?


5 thoughts on “Polly Again!”

  1. I admire your energy in debunking this woman. There is a heroic quality to what you are doing, since the chance that any of your points would penetrate the thick skulls of PT and her media admirers is close to zero.

    Good point on CEO pay. It is kind of obvious when you think about it.

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