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November 26, 2011



Tax reduction signals that they are good people, unlike those greedy left wing fat cats, who prefer to maximize government income.

Luis Enrique

Finally I understand why Sunny, master political strategist, publishes Ansty Nomads FC (captian RM) He plans to enfeeble the right wing. Cunning devil.


The key difference between occupy and conservatism is that occupy has 1 excellent idea that taxation should be proportionate and fair. That those who benefit the most from a society should contribute the most to it.

Conservatism is basically the bad idea that a society should benefit those who are the greediest.


I can well imagine that the right can't help themselves when it comes to the attacks on working conditions and benefits, no matter how low the returns have diminished. I believe this process will continue until the 99% truly have nothing less to lose and the stupid right will finally get their comeuppance.

A large fraction of the population already have nothing to lose but their voices are still excluded and they wont be until well over a majority of the population have nothing to lose.


"A lack of competition produces low standards"

Then why is the Left so against competition, in the NHS or education for example?


@ Simon: legitimate reasons might include: the danger of crowding out altrusitic "public service" motives; poor incentive design (eg "teaching to the test"; information asymmetries (eg patients can't know as much as doctors). But I can't speak for the left as I'm instinctively in favour of competition in principle.


This is hardly news. The right are the rich mans party so they support ideas based on a right wing ideology where the rich must always pay less tax and pay lower wages and thats virtue. Greed is good and exploitation of people as mere commodities is the goal. It has nothing to do with economic theory or efficiency. Never has done. If it had then for example the evidence that privatisation costs the tax payer more than in house services would have scuppered contracting out in local authorities.

As for competition: public services are areas where competition is often not going to work. It is a simplistic idea to think that public goods can be better supplied by more competition. As chris has allude to the characteristics of public goods mean they cannot be provided in the same way as private ones. Also some of the same problems apply in the private sector too. As the purchasers of crap financial products have discovered.

Paolo Siciliani

To have public goods provided efficiently under competition, you need strong regulatory oversight, which with hindsight rarely turns out to be the case.

On tax evasion, well Chris, I'm Italian, and I guarantee you that tax evasion has always been Italy's Achille's heel, otherwise we would be stronger than Germany as a nation nowadays (and this is regardless the confusion between external debt and public debt).

Anyway, I would argue that the kind of race to the bottom among states to lower tax rates (and workers rights) to attract (or retain) the rich and mobile is tantamount to tax evasion for that matter, and thus partly responsible for the collapse of middle-low-class salaries which is at the root of today economic struggles.


Neither of your links make much of a case against the Tobin Tax, and the justifications by James Tobin (a Nobel Prize Winner in Economics) are still available. But you tax what you wish to discourage, High Frequency Transactions in particular and Financial Services in general.

As for Tax Evasion it is much more of a problem than benefit fraud, and why should the rich escape their obligations to society, and to the extent that tax evasion enhances the rewards for cheating the system, it contributes to the incentives to cheat.

Neoclassical Economics and Neoliberalism are the accepted conventional wisdom and the current Labour leadership subscribes to this. The last thirty years (and the great depression) have demonstrated their (both of the above's) self evident failure.

The previous model to neoliberalism was clearly better for most of society and the left have a even powerful and coherent argument to make, some of which has been hinted at in the comments on this blog.

Mehdi Hasan has made an attempt in his short book 'The Debt Delusion'.

The fact that the deficit and the debt are products of a single economic world view is correct, but I depart on the detail of his argument from what I can gather from the criticism.


There is a case to be made, it conflicts with the dominant world view, and is not currently strongly advocated in mainstream politics.

Tim Almond

An anti-scientific culture. Why bother with awkward, messy, statistical evidence when your own prejudice and ego tell you all you need? This philistinistic attitude is perpetuated by the BBC, with its absurd tendency to present the bar-room talk of business people as serious proposals to raise economic growth.

Most of the BBC (and most of the mainstream media) are innumerate and don't do the research into anything. They're interested in the theatrics of politics (speeches, PMQs, studio arguments) rather than the substance.

If the government wants to make us all richer, it needs to radically reform itself - switch tax to more LVT, privatise more services, introduce a citizen's income and remove certain bits of government that really don't need doing (British Councils, funding arts, sports etc).


Your first theory is the most plausible, and so now the major factor deciding the result of modern elections based on the perceived performance of the current government which is largely determined by the state of the economy and general well-being.

Arguably these performance factors are largely out of the hands of governments. There are rare occasions where governments do something to win future elections, but most often these are right wing activities, e.g. exploiting council house sales and public flotation of utilities.

On the left the only major popular success appears to be the NHS, hasn't this blog mentioned before that the left has a problem making leftist government policies popular? In the public at large, who misses The New Deal or even remembers what it was?

Now the low hanging fruit of right-wing government policy has gone there is little incentive to generate new policies other than say that any failings are down to the concept of national government. This is where US politics is at, and explains why the right is becoming more extreme.


I trust you're not considering Cameron/Osborne as of the right? They are globalist pink, as are all those in Europe with their hands on power and there is all the evidence needed for why we are where we are. Some are out and out officially ex-Marxists, such as Barroso and Merkel.


Point #5 is my favourite, if only because it damns those who deserve to be with faint praise. Nice work!


My main quibble with this post is, apart from the limited utility of competition in the area of public goods provision, that the right are not stupid. The policies mentioned are intended to allow capitalists and high paid people to make more money. They know what they are doing so all you can say is the justifications are lies or exaggerations. The aim is to grab a larger share of the economic pie. Most people are almost certainly going to gain nothing from all of these ideas or lose out relatively. Selfish or greedy would be a better description than stupid. That lets them off lightly. Thatcher and Howe etc are hardly stupid.

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