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A sensible recommendation

The one and only recommendation I make about tax after coronavirus to the relevant Commons committee:

The recommendation
To instruct the Office for National Statistics to prepare estimates of the wealth distribution on the same
bases used for the income distribution. To calculate both the market, or original, distribution and also the
one after the impact of taxes, benefits and government spending upon services.

13 thoughts on “A sensible recommendation”

  1. “currently fashionable”

    Oddly, just been reading the Sumner piece on Hume and the Great Forgetting. “Science decays one funeral at a time”.

    Made me laugh. For a given value of laugh, anyway.

  2. Come to think of it – a question.

    How does this recommendation fit with your previous writings on estimates (or assumptions) on the consumer surplus?

  3. ‘we don’t know – have no clue about – what the current wealth distribution is.’

    How pleasant it is to have it pointed out that no one has a clue about the proposal being considered. If only people did this more the stuff-ups might be fewer.

  4. It’s connected, certainly. And wealth inequality is going to be, as the final number, much, much, lower than commonly assumed.

    And if we started to think about the consumer surplus etc then it would be lower again.

    I would strongly defend the idea that we have the lowest inequality ever, at least since hunter gatherer days. For example, sure, we’ve inequality of food these days. But it’s inequality of Tesco budget baked beans to finest fava beans. Any time before 1950 or so food inequality was beans or no beans. That second is a greater inequality.

    But that’s also rather more than I’d expect a Commons committee to want to look into or even understand.

  5. There is a thought floating around. That I should perhaps sign up to all of these calls for evidence etc from everywhere. And then submit evidence of a sternly free market and capitalist type. Because few others do. But there’s that pesky problem of having to make a living as well and asking to be funded to do that would make me the P³. Plus, there are no grants to be free market and capitalist.

  6. One of the more non-obvious remarks about food I’ve read is that food inflation can go down, but food costs can go up, and vice-versa.
    Example is if food prices rise, but we all switch from Marks & Spencer to Tesco Value then food costs decline.
    Not quite on a par with comparative advantage for non-obvious truths though.

  7. Plus, there are no grants to be free market and capitalist.

    Offer your services (for a consulting fee of course!) to the saner thinktanks? IEA, CPS, er, any others? (obviously leaving out the ASI, as if they aren’t paying you now then they aren’t going to!)

  8. Yes, that’s the bit about the right wing plutocratic enforcement business. There’s no money in it……

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