Timmy elsewhere

At the ASI.

Interesting little historical fact about Victorian free trade. As tariffs came down, customs revenue went up.

1 thought on “Timmy elsewhere”

  1. T’other day I was reading through the proposed Levellers’ Constitution of 1649. It uses a method probably better than the US one, of first assigning all power to Parliament, then clearly listing what it is not allowed to do, rather than the confused American thing of first awarding limited powers, then a limited bill of rights, the incompatibility between the two methods having rather weakened it. Anyway, it includes-

    18. That it shall not be in their power to continue or make any laws to abridge or hinder any person or persons from trading or merchandising into any place beyond the seas where any of this nation are free to trade.

    19. That it shall not be in their power to continue excise or customs upon any sort of food or any other goods, wares, or commodities […] being both of them extreme burdensome and oppressive to trade and so expensive in the receipt as the monies expended therein (if collected as subsidies have been) would extend very far towards defraying the public charges. And forasmuch as all monies to be raised are drawn from the people, such burdensome and chargeable ways shall never more be revived, nor shall they raise monies by any other ways […] but only by an equal rate in the pound upon every real and personal estate in the nation.

    No trade barriers or restrictions, no tariffs, no taxes on goods or services, no sin taxes, no possibility of Pigovian nonsense; the State can only raise money by direct taxes, the most highly visible and annoying to taxpayers method, and which also would weigh heavy on the wealthy types who make the laws on taxes. Glorious.

    Though some of it is rather anachronistic now, and one can envisage with a greater historic perspective additional restrictions on State power that ought to be included, it would make a fine basis for a new constitution for Britain. Or, indeed, anywhere else seeking a free, just and prosperous society.

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