Nice to see this out in the open at last:
Gordon Brown was challenged over and again to admit a somersault in the polls made him back off – but politics always requires economy with the truth.
So, there we have it. Politics is, by definition, shits lying to us. Thanks for that , Polly.
And Alan Greenspan, the Republican who nodded through George Bush\’s trillion-dollar tax cuts for the very rich, bequeathing ballooning public debt.
Err, you do understand the American political system, do you? The Chairman of the Federal Reserve has no power over tax rates. That\’s Congress that does that.
The deputy leadership elections did briefly throw up some passion – revulsion at excess at the top, the word "inequality" spoken out loud, debates that touched on fairness in schools admissions, faith schools and all the barriers to social mobility. That\’s what Labour is for. The Tory masterplan for cutting inheritance tax by £3.5bn while taxing non-domiciles £25,000 each has drawn a key battle line. Labour may have to give assurances that the inheritance tax threshold will never reach more than the current 6% richest, but the principle remains. It will take hard work to remind people what tax is for, why it is a public good and not a burden, how it is the agent of social justice. Those ideas have been allowed to atrophy in the last decade. Labour has redistributed more than any government to the poor, at least slowing the rate of increase in inequality – but by never framing the argument in ideological terms, a generation has never heard how inheritance tax helped shape social progress in the last 100 years.
Yes, please, let\’s do have this debate. On these terms. So, the Plain People of England, what do you actually support? Equality and social justice? Or lower taxation so that you get to do what you want with your money? Let\’s have an election on exactly those grounds. I have a feeling that, as with this very minor change to inheritance tax, the answer won\’t be to Polly\’s liking.
Why not take up Harriet Harman\’s proposal for a social justice commission to overhaul our tax system, which has become grossly unjust? The bottom 10% are taxed more than the top 10%,
Well, we could take up the proposals of those ghastly right wingers at the Adam Smith Institute and raise the personal allowance to £14 k or so. That\’ll take the poor out of income tax altogether. UKIP\’s proposals are subtly different but similar. The first thing to do about the poor is to stop taxing them so damn much.
VAT at such a high rate is deeply regressive,
Indeed it is and to reduce it we\’ll have to leave the EU. Score another one up to UKIP then.
property is taxed less than anywhere else
It is? What, with Council Tax? Some OECD numbers show that 5.4% is the average share of property taxation in the overall take, with the EU below average and the US and Japan both double that average. Unless the UK is an outlier in the EU (which it might be, can\’t find the figures) . A quick estimate though: 24 million housholds, £1 k a year each Council Tax, £24 billion. Another £20 billion in business rates and we\’ve got £44 billion. That\’s er, 8.8% (call it 9% as it is very much an estimate) . This is nearly double the OECD average, the EU average, for property taxation. This is less than anywhere else?
Today\’s comprehensive spending review can\’t camouflage the steep drop in spending in most departments.
I beg your pardon? Which departments are facing spending cuts? Slowdowns in hte rises in their budgets, yes, but actual cuts? Anyone seen any of these mythical beasts?
And finally, the truly outrageous:
The spectacle of one Tory millionaire swaying votes in a few marginals to buy the next election is all the evidence anyone needs of the democratic dysfunction of party funding and of an electoral system that hinges on 200,000 bored swing voters. Jack Straw has already led the way in supporting the alternative vote, giving voters the right to put their choices in 1, 2, 3 order, a first step towards fairer voting: it could be done for the next election. Better by far for Labour to do it before a hung parliament forces them.
We might lose power so let\’s change the electoral system.
Ho hum, a standard Polly Toynbee column then.
One real delight though. She\’s recommending lower consumption taxation, higher property and income taxation. There might be merits in such plans. But you know what she\’s actually doing?
In almost all OECD countries, over 80% of tax revenues come from three taxes: income tax, social security contributions and consumption taxes on goods and services (see Table 3 and related charts). However, the relative importance of different tax revenue sources varies widely from one country to another. For example, Australia and New Zealand do not collect social security contributions, while Denmark\’s revenue from this source is well below that in other countries. Overall, the countries of the European Union rely more on consumption taxes and social security contributions and less on income tax that the OECD average. In contrast, the United States collects a higher proportion in income taxes and property taxes but less in consumption taxes and social security contributions.
Yes, she\’s advocating that we move away from the European system of taxation to the American one. I wonder if she actually realises that?