Ritchie’s found two tables from HMRC. Then he says:

First, we are not being overtaxed at present. In fact, it is fairly obvious that the economy’s capacity to pay tax is not being exploited, despite the deficit.

Umm, yeah. Try adding the £150 billion or so (a further 33% of the amount HMRC collects, a further 10% of GDP) in tax that is raised by people other than HMRC before making that claim, maybe?

30 thoughts on “Blimey”

  1. Ritchie has found tables from HMRC and ONS that tell us whether we’re being over – taxed or not? Fact; not opinion? Blimey indeed!

  2. The reason the lowest decile pays the highest effective rate of tax is because of indirect taxes. But you don’t see too many people arguing that the regressive taxes on alcohol and cigarettes should be made more progressive.

  3. Good lord! The man thinks the government should take more? To deal with the deficit? Never, maybe the government should cut spending with these guys is it? Always give us more money.

  4. Christie

    I particularly don’t think you’d see Murphy asking them to do that – he despises smoking with a visceral passion, not sure as a ‘Quaker’ he’s too keen on booze, either….

  5. I particularly don’t think you’d see Murphy asking them to do that – he despises smoking with a visceral passion, not sure as a ‘Quaker’ he’s too keen on booze, either….

    So the argument becomes “Because the poor spend so much on booze, fags and FOBTs, we must increase income tax and national insurance on the rich.”

    Not quite so attractive a proposition, is it?

  6. Christie

    To quote Polly Toynbee in her book ‘Hard Work’ – ‘I have no objection to shopping and ‘consumerism’, my only wish is that these pleasure were more widely spread across the population’ – for Murphy the proposition you suggest IS an attractive one. ‘The state is the only organ with the moral authority to dictate consumption.’ or some other such Sovietesque screed.

  7. Squander
    Interestingly he did once suggest that for the unemployed. Then I pointed out this would increase marginal rates for those moving into work and so we should scrap it for low in workers as well. He DIDN’T like that and de idea that everyone should be happy to pay for the BBC. By the end of the exchange he had flipped his opinion; moron.

  8. I suspect that his income tax etc numbers show the receipts net of tax credits which is why they drop from 59% of all receipts to 55%. So total gross receipts (the tax that somebody somewhere is paying) is not shown.

  9. Bizarrely it’s morphed into “they make it up. Everyone agrees on that.”
    If they make it up then can we believe any of it? I don’t think the implications of that comment were thought through.

  10. John

    I think it was Abacab who pointed out he doesn’t think anything through in the sense that you or i would (potentially) by thinking through the stages of a process. I’d advise him to read Bastiat but I think he’d dismiss him as a ‘neoliberal’ – his replies to critics are particularly poor in general….

  11. @ John
    Perhaps someone might point outtohim that Council Tax is a *direct tax*.
    I mentioned alcohol and tobacco which is the answrr tothat question and he ignored them

  12. And “excluded relevant data”?
    Like benefits go a long way to compensate for lower incomes? Or that ONS know their data and definitions, probably better than he does?
    The problem is he rushed into print with a “big” story and ignored or forgot about countervailing data. Now you’re telling him these things it’s probably only a matter of time before you’re trolling him and/or contributions deleted.

  13. John77

    With respect, you deserve what you get, we all do. You give him an analysis – a correct analysis – that he can – understand, so he tells you that you’ve made it all up; personal abuse.
    And you end up enabling him to claim that his blog is popular and influential.

  14. I recall a year or so ago pointing out to him that tax as a percentage of GDP was near a 50 year high and that therefore, seeing as all manner of high and low taxes had been tried in that period, that this may be some sort of ceiling.

    He replied that “GDP is higher today so we can raise more”.


  15. @Shinsei1967

    “… and we can take more because though this leaves you with a smaller proportion, in cash terms there’s no change so you’re getting off quite lightly”.

    Does that make sense of the Murph-logic?

  16. Van_Patten, yes, on the railways – or more precisely on his suggestion that we need to replace our outmoded railways with things running by pneumatic pressure through special tunnels at high speed. Here is my reply.

    Andrew K says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    February 20, 2015 at 4:33 pm
    Skipping lightly past you somewhat disrespectfully characterising the discussion on railways as “silly”, whilst simultaneously joining it, I shall examine your comment in more detail.
    You tell us that tunnelling technology is cheaper than it has ever been. That does not mean that it is cheap
    The Channel Tunnel cost at today’s prices about £12bn for a little over 31 miles. That is £384m per mile. At that rate a link between London and Manchester (about 208 miles) would cost in the region of £80 bn for the tunnel alone. That cost presupposes existing tunnel technology, not a pneumatic technology which is largely untried on any scale and would presumably need some sort of magnetic levitation to avoid friction plus the means of moving large volumes of air very quickly. To develop and install that would add considerably to the cost – possibly even double it. Questions of revenues and return on investment would obviously be important.
    You state that Switzerland considered the idea some 50 years ago. Given that no such system exists there, they obviously rejected it, presumably after doing similar maths to what I have done.
    There have been earlier attempts to create what is referred to as “atmospheric railways”. They have noot been noted for their successes.
    Knowing as I now do your age I suspect that your post was inspired by Robert Salter’s proposal for a Vactrain published in 1972, further details of which can be found here:
    I would respectfully suggest that many of your ideas, on other matters just as on this, date back to the 1970s if not earlier, and if you examined your assumptions properly before committing them to comment on here then it would save you much grief; I submit as an example the notion that developing countries such as Brazil and India are unable to produce motor vehicles of world standard.

  17. I think Ritchie was originally Anglican.
    My understanding is that Quakerdom is something he acquired at about the same time as he acquired the current (second) Mrs LHTD – indeed there may be a connection between the two events.

  18. How long can he keep to his views? Blog states the tax system is unjust. A comment provides quotes from the ONS data he chose to ignore. It shows big redistributive effects.
    His reply is that tax works to redistribute – “thank heavens for that”.
    Do you think he actually read the ONS report before blogging?

  19. The Household Survey to which he refers shows that the bottom decile spent 127% of their after-tax income on VATable goods (excluding the VAT on those goods).
    I shall doubtless be banned again for mentioning this because it shows that his whole diatribe is based on a piece of nonsense.

  20. Van_Patten

    It may well have been me – he’s very superficial, and only considers the 0th order a data point, a policy change. He never thinks about how that interacts with the wider system, how people might react to a change. Basically 1st-nth order effects are never considered. He must be a rotten chess player.

    Ironman: “By the end of the exchange he had flipped his opinion; moron.”

    Often happens, and then he claims that he’s never said any different (cf. the Seamus O’Leary exchanges). Oceanea has always been at war with East Asia.

  21. Lety’s see how he deals with:
    “Dear Mr Murphy,
    I am not pretending any of the outliers are representative of the population.
    I am merely explaining an anomaly and pointing out one of several reasons why one element of the Household Survey may give a misleading picture.
    After all, it is your graph not mine.”

  22. Dear Mr Worstall

    Government ought not to exist to tax to the max. The fact that it does (and is supported by people like Mr Murphy) suggests that government is utterly broken and is incapable of doing anything which is not harmful to society and the economy.

    Real tax justice, which Mr Murphy claims to uphold, would require a lowering of taxes.

    One hopes that Mr Murphy is not supportive of rank government robbery in order that he gets a cut of it.


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