Hmm, well, a point Sirrah.

When the aim was no border in Ireland, Johnson has delivered one. And it will not work. Whilst the compliant will submit to the proposals the whole reason for border checks is that we know there are those who will cheat. Johnson’s plan for checks away from the border provides no mechanism to deal for those who will flout the border for gain. At which point the plan, necessarily, fails. And that’s before the politics are considered.

There are people who cheat on the current border arrangements too. So, the logical difference between the new and the old is what?

For example, those claiming asylum regularly cross national boundaries within the EU. It’s also, inside the Schengen area, illegal to have general checks set up to stop them doing so – that’s to interfere with the free movement of people. It is only allowable to have spot and intelligence led stops.


The twats don;t understand their own poll

New polling from Tax Justice UK and Oxfam, conducted by YouGov, shows widespread public support from across the political spectrum for increasing taxes on wealth.

The organisations say this would help to tackle inequality and raise revenue that could be used to fund public services and fight poverty.

The poll, published ahead of Conservative Party Conference, shows that more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of Brits thought that earnings from wealth should be taxed at the same level as, or more heavily than, earnings from income.

Taxing the income from wealth is taxing income, not wealth.


And isn’t this a lovely non-sequitur?

Currently, wealth is often under-taxed compared to taxes on income from work. In the UK, tax raised from wealth remains low at about 4 per cent of GDP compared to 15 per cent from taxes on income and 11 per cent from consumption.

Taxation of helium balloons is low too.

Just think what could be done!

Andrea Leadsom announced £1bn of extra government spending for the Green New Deal before the Tory party conference.

The sum involved is one-fiftieth of that needed. The Green New Deal Group think we need at last £50 billion a year for the next decade.


It takes some effort to get Green New Deal spending pretty much wrong at every level, given the quantum onwards, and when there is so much to do. But Leadsom has managed it. Which is staggering.

Put me in charge and I’ll piss away 50 times as much!

Which does lead us to that problem for these grand plans to go spend the hell out of everyone else’s money. Politics just isn’t a very good system of doing so, is it?

So, you see, the Green New Deal won’t pay for itself, it will be expensive

And such are the likely real margins inside many economies that nothing like the Green New Deal could be done by simply using government injection of funds without there being a superficial demand for additional tax payable, and quite possibly in significant amount if inflation was to be avoided. There are spare resources in the economy, but not that many.

We will lose what we would have had if we’d not had the Green New Deal.

The first relates to the necessary reallocation of resources to create the capacity for something as radical as the Green New Deal, because let’s not pretend that this will happen with all existing activity within the economy coexisting beside it.

Yep, there’s an opportunity cost to the Green New Deal. It’s expensive that is.


My proposal that pension fund and ISA savings be used to finance the Green New Deal should be seen within this context. Let us not pretend that these do not change aggregate demand within the economy. First of all, by providing tax subsidised savings mechanisms they do distort demand by diverting financial resources: this in itself has an impact upon the real economy. And, secondly, any argument that they merely create stocks of notional financial assets with no real impact is far too limited a perspective. The fact is that massive amounts of resource are actually reallocated by this savings process this process and this has a very real current impact upon resource allocation within society, both in consumption and investment terms, and both have real consequence.

But Snippa’s entire rant is that mere savings don’t have any impact upon that real economy.

So, what I have done is link the need for change in aggregate demand to the tax reform that has promoted current resource misallocation and have

Which is exactly how real economists have said we should tackle climate change. A carbon tax.

Err, well, no, Senior Lecturer

In the case of reducing rates of corporation tax a number of deeply destructive consequences arise. First of all, tax revenues fall. I do, of course, know all the arguments based upon modern monetary theory that suggests that tax is not needed to fund the government expenditure, but as a matter of fact a sum total of tax has to be raised within any system, including that described by modern monetary theory, to counter the effects of inflation. In that case, and as a matter of fact, if companies pay less tax then someone else will have to pay more: modern monetary theory does not change this logic. And as such what Boris Johnson is seeking to do is to shift the burden of tax from capital onto someone else, which will inevitably be ordinary people.

That assumes that corporation tax falls upon capital. Something which isn’t true, not in the slightest.

How much it doesn’t, even why it doesn’t, is argued over. But that it doesn’t is just a well known piece of reality.

In 1998 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development began a programme to attack what they described as ‘harmful tax competition’. That program was misguided. That was because the clear implication of its title was that there might be a benign form of tax competition. There is absolutely no evidence that a benign form of tax competition exists. All of it is harmful.


Think theoretically for a moment. There are bad forms of taxation. Or perhaps there are types which are worse than other types. Equally, we could say that there are harmful levels of taxation – type and level being distinctly different points here.

A place that uses the good types at not harmful levels does better than that the bad at harmful. This is obviously tax competition. The outcome of which will be that the bad is outcompeted by the good and thereby replaced by it. If only becuase people start to mutter, well, bugger me, hadn’t we better start doing it that way?

Do note that this doesn’t depend upon what we say is good or bad taxation, nor what the judicious level is. On that second places which don;t tax enough, thereby failing to produce enough government, would equally be found out.

So, is it possible for there to be a good form of tax competition? Sure there is.

The Senior Lecturer is therefore wrong. But then we knew that…..

Why not find out then?

The blunt fact is that the US market has run out of overnight security available within what is called the repo markets (see those explainers for details).

The official line is that US corporations owed tax this week, and $78bn of cash for a bond sale had to be settled at the same time.

Let me be clear, I have no better clue on this issue than anyone else: no one seems sure whether these excuses are good or not. But I am goi9ng to take a punt and say I suspect not: this has not happened in the last decade and tax settlement and bond sales have happened before, and I can be fairly sure coincidentally.

Perhaps the duty of an academic is to try and find out?

The WSJ article also contains other sobering information. Specifically, post-crisis regulatory “reforms” have made the funding markets more rigid/less-flexible and supple. This would tend to exacerbate non-linearities in the market.

We’re from the government and we’re here to help you! The law of unintended (but predictable) consequences strikes again.

Hopefully things will normalize quickly. But the events of the last two days should be a serious wake-up call. The funding markets going non-linear is the biggest systemic risk. By far. And to the extent that regulatory changes–such as mandated clearing–have increased the potential for demand surges in those markets, and have reduced the ability of those markets to respond to those surges, in their attempt to reduce systemic risks, they have increased them.

The cause being the fuck ups by the know nothings attempting to regulate markets last time around.


Dealing with perpetual incompetence is very hard, in itself. Dealing with bombast, hubris and even straightforward lying from the incompetent party is harder still.

That’s why Snippa is no longer a member even or organisations he started.

Snippa and twat share a common descriptive power

As Larry Elliott has noted in the Guardian, Labour appears to be committing itself to a financial transaction tax for use on the financial services sector, if it is elected.

I unreservedly welcome this. Such a tax has long been the goal of tax justice campaigners. It helps address the issue, long noted on all objective sides, that the financial services sector as a whole is undertaxed,

That’s a very cool piece of rhetoric there. If you don’t agree that finance is undertaxed you are, therefore, by definition, not objective.

not least because it enjoys VAT exemption.

Which means that it cannot reclaim input VAT. The actual impact of exemption being one of those things which – objective – observers argue about therefore but at least some of them claim that finance pays more, not less, tax because of the exemption.

True, consumers of finance probably pay less tax but that’s rather different, isn’t it?

The tax is small. The impact cannot be known as the behavioural response will be hard to assess, and attempts to avoid it cannot be entirely predicted.

Bu everyone who has tried to predict it – the EU for example – says that it will be a net revenue loser. Which is why here’s the claim that whocouldanowd is being advanced ahead of time.

It’s also true that it’s not people trying to avoid it that worries. It’s the behaviour change of the tax itself which is. There will be less trading, lower liquidity, dealing spreads will rise.

He still doesn’t grasp money, does he?

Funding the UK Green New Deal

OK, super.

The Green New Deal will:

Transform the UK’s 30 million buildings so that they’re all energy efficient by 2030 – creating hundreds of thousands of jobs on the way right across the UK, as well as the training and support services they’ll need;
Turn as many of those buildings as possible into power stations by fitting solar panels and other generating alternatives;
Build new social housing to end our housing crisis;
Investing in renewable energy of all sorts on and offshore;
Build a non-carbon based transport infrastructure;
Invest in agriculture that protects biodiversity;
Require that business transform itself to become zero net carbon and provide the funding to help them to do that if they cannot find it themselves;
Provide security for people’s savings, which will be used to fund this innovation at better rates of return than most savers enjoy now;
Deliver pensions that will work.

We’re in Underpants Gnomes territory here. Green investment…….. profit!

It’s the middle step that’s missing. How does investing in new social housing bring a profit to the investor? A no-carbon based transport infrastructure? Biodiversity is rather a public good isn’t it? With all of the problems of being able to appropriate the benefits of investment in a public good?

That being the problem here. Let’s just assume that everything else is correct – it ain’t of course, climate change isn’t going to drive us extinct, nor does all of this have to be done in 10 years – and that we need the green investments and all.

OK, what’s the problem with normal market forces just providing the investments? That they don’t turn a profit. Not in the normal financial sense they don’t, even if they are desirable in the larger context. Where we can say there’s a “profit for the planet” or whatever but we don’t in fact have that “profit to the investor directly in the here and now”.

For example, investing in solar panels doesn’t make a profit. That’s why we set up feed in tariffs and all that so that, with the subsidy, private sector investment in solar panels did make a profit. We deliberately twisted things so that the investor could appropriate some of the public benefit of that investment.

What’s the bit that Snippa has forgotten here? The Underpants Gnome bit. Where is the system whereby investors in things Green can appropriate some of that public benefit so as to provide a private return? Without that of course everything else is nonsense.

And the real joy is that with such a system then all the rest of the cobblers is unnecessary. Because in being able to make a private return on greenery we’ll get the greenery, won’t we?

That is, not for the first time, Snippa’s entirely missed the vital part to make the scheme work.

We’ve got to make it profitable to:

Turn as many of those buildings as possible into power stations by fitting solar panels and other generating alternatives;
Build new social housing to end our housing crisis;
Investing in renewable energy of all sorts on and offshore;
Build a non-carbon based transport infrastructure;
Invest in agriculture that protects biodiversity;

And once we’ve made it profitable to do so then what else do we need? And what’s Snippa forgotten? How to make it profitable.


I loved this, said by Alexei Sayle on Radio 4 last week:

Austerity is the idea that the global financial crash of 2008 was caused by there being too many libraries in Wolverhampton.

Sometimes one line says it all.

Accountant can’t count. That’s two lines. One sentence, sure, but two lines.

Umm, Rilly?

I do not trust many polls, and Opinium seems to produce much stronger Tory results than most right now.

There is one thing to note though: look at Scotland. Not a single Tory or Labour seat.

I stress, I am not convinced, but that is still a pretty staggering forecast.

Why staggering? It’s only a mild change – 1 seat each? – from the 2015 election result.

It would appear Snippa has been making deep and detailed studies of he subject he desires to comment upon, Scottish politics.

From a random PR email

I hope you are well this afternoon?

I wanted to get in touch with recent findings from CABA, the charity supporting the wellbeing of chartered accountants and their families who found have that more than half (53%) of accountants agreed that ‘accountancy will always be considered an elite profession’.

Can’t Ritchie just apply for a hardship grant from these people rather than attempting to build Musso’s dream in our green and pleasant land?

And who thought there would be a charity to support hard pressed accountants – and limited to chartered ones at that?

Err, Snippa?

The so-called Yellowhammer report is wrong. I can say that with absolute confidence. Every forecast is, and I’ve delivered a lot in my time, always with that caveat attached to them. But in my opinion that does not mean it is not important. That’s precisely its significance.

All it really says with certainty is four things. The first is that we do not know what will happen if we hard-Brexit.

Err, that’s what the report is telling us. What will happen.

He doesn’t even understand what he himself is saying


I am writing this sitting in a hotel breakfast room. Simple observation shows that obvious that the assumption that we are indifferent to others is false. People are cooperating over the breakfast buffet. That buffet shows that someone cares – and profit alone cannot explain that. The staff are attentive, and very clearly being respected. The interaction of those within the room is interesting to observe – most especially at the tables where colleagues are meeting before a working day: the interactions are clearly about more than personal gain. There are enquiries made as to well-being that are obviously sincere: the ‘other’ matters at a level far beyond their utility.

And we all know this is true. And yet we organise our economy as if it is not. And that is the paradox that is laying our society, our well-being and our lives low in the twenty first century.

That hotel breakfast room is indeed the economy. And look at it, people are cooperating and it all works.

Which is what we do in that economy. You know, interact and cooperate.

Or as we might put it, try not to use the example of a market economy working to rail against a market economy. The logic doesn’t really work if you do…..

You know what’s so lovely about Sustainable Cost Accounting?

It makes no damn difference:

I was asked by a person with a political persuasion to prepare some slides for them so that they might present my ideas on what I call Sustainable Cost Accounting.

The argument is on the production methods of the company. OK. So, apply to an oil company. Their production methods might be mildly emittive. But that’s not the point, is it? The people who buy the products are going to be doing an awful lot of emitting.

That is, this new accounting method doesn’t actually solve any known problem.

Well, he would, wouldn’t he?

This is my kind of macroeconomics:

The abstract says:

The case for central bank independence is built on an intellectual two-step. Step one argues there is a problem of inflation prone government. Step two argues independence is the solution to that problem. This paper challenges that case and shows it is based on false politics and economics. The paper argues central bank independence is a product of neoliberal economics and aims to institutionalize neoliberal interests.

Of course Snippa won’t like it.

The actual aim of central bank independence being to stop politicians inflating the hell out of the money supply as Snippa wants to do.

Not that that’s neoliberal, it’s just a rational constraint on the excesses which public choice economics leaves us prey to.

So who hasn’t read the report then, eh?

To pontificate:

IPPR has issued a report this morning calling for the alignment of tax rates on capital gains tax with the equivalent income tax rate applicable to the taxpayer making the gain. In effect, they are arguing that gains should be taxed as income. This is a policy proposal I entirely agree with, as I noted recently. It is virtually inexplicable that when we are worried about increasing income and wealth inequality in the UK, which organisations as left-wing as the IMF argue is harmful to society, the tax system is designed to exacerbate this trend. I say virtually because for some this is entirely explicable: that increase in inequality is their aim.

The Guardian report on the IPPR proposals is supportive.

Worth actually reading the report really:

The first two are significant: it is a deeply economically orthodox view of tax to think that it is simply a tool for raising revenue that must be maximised in a microeconomic sense as if a government is the same as any other entity subject to the rules of the market, which that microeconomic approach would suggest to be the case. This view, best summarised of late in the IFS’s own Mirrlees Review, is profoundly wrong. It fails to recognise the importance of tax as an instrument of social and economic policy in its own right. I would suggest that the IFS is repeating its own error in endorsing the Mirrlees view in making these comments on the IPPR proposal.

The IPPR proposal discusses, at length, the Mirrlees view and suggests that it’s an entirely viable method of structuring matters. Someone who had read the report before pontificating would know that.

In that case the IFS objection on the grounds of whether or not this policy might raise significant revenue is irrelevant. The whole purpose of equalising tax rates would be to change behaviour. The object would be to remove the incentive to re-categorise income as gains and to as a result minimise the tax avoidance activity that takes place around this rate differential to the benefit of society at large. It really is time that the Institute for Fiscal Studies understood these most basic issues with regard to text design, which their blinkered adherence to orthodox neoclassical economics prevents them doing.

I applaud IPPR’s approach. This change needs to happen.

Well quite. The IPPR models both an inflation allowance and the Mirrlees risk free return allowance. Pointing out that one of the two is – probably – needed in order not to tax illusory capital gains.

But, you know, why bother to read before commenting, eh?

Sniff. Pshaw.

If you want a giggle this analysis of MMT from a hard Marxist perspective is amusing for the politics and economics geek. Written by Adam Booth, it could have been improved by even a little reading of what MMT is about. It makes the most basic of errors. So many in fact, I have no time to point them out.

Actually, the first half – got bored, sorry – looks pretty good.

I think what’s pissing on Spudda’s chips is that Marx was actually correct in that money arises from the desire to track debt rather than state action. That’s so not Tutto nello stato that Snippa just can’t allow it to be so.