Third, the fact that the incidence of the tax may well be on bankers and their bonuses is ignored; a disingenuous claim (admittedly stated with less stridence that usual) is made that unspecified final consumers may suffer is offered instead. This is not a technical argument. Technical arguments would consider possibilities and state them all: this is deliberate one-sided suggestion that the mainstream reader may suffer alone and is therefore mistaken in their simplistic belief in the tax which the assured technocrat author is telling them, in thinly veiled code, might hit their pension. Actually, I strongly believe the reverse is the truth. An FTT will hit the churning which currently denudes many pensions of any increase in value. The fact that this argument is not considered makes clear there is nothing technical about this article.
This is in reaction to this argument:
Finally, as the commission notes, the FTT is likely to be passed on to final consumers. This makes an evaluation of the tax more difficult; whether or not it can be labelled a “Robin Hood Tax” presumably depends on whether it falls on the rich. We are not entirely sure who will really bear the tax, but “final consumers” here certainly include anyone with savings tied up in their pension. If the aim is to introduce a new tax on the rich, then why not simply do that? The best way to tax the rich is to tax the rich – for example, through a wealth tax – not to try to introduce a tax on trading in complex financial instruments, especially when it is uncertain who would actually pay.
Not a technical argument eh?
So the EU Commission itself thinks that the result of the technical analysis is that pensions and consumers will bear the burden of an FTT. Sir James Mirrlees, a Nobel Laureate for his studies of taxation systems, thinks that such a transactions tax will cascade through the economy and the burden fall on consumers. The IFS did a study of who carries the burden of the FTT we already have, Stamp Duty on shares, and concluded that it was both workers and pensioners who carried the burden.
As in, large numbers of very bright people have looked at the technical aspects of this proposed tax. And their conclusion is different from that of Richard Murphy. For technical reasons. But because they don’t agree with the Murphmonster’s prejudices they are not advancing a technical argument.