Friday, November 28, 2014

Platitudinous claptrap from Chuka Umunna on taxation.

“I’d like to see taxes at the lowest level possible. I didn’t go into politics to tax people.” 

Well that's a statement, from Chuka Umunna, pretty high in the pecking list of meaningless platitudes. What next? "Motherhood is wonderful" ? "Nothing could beat for me the moment when my child was born". "To be British is to draw first prize in the lottery of life" ? 

You cannot, ever, talk about taxation in the abstract. And you cannot credibly make such a statement which implies that the opposite is a point of view held by some. Nobody in their right minds would say "I'd like to see taxes at the highest possible level. I came into politics specifically to tax people." D'oh! 

Taxation has to be spoken about together with expenditure. Indeed it's utterly meaningless to decouple the two sides of the accounts. So you raise taxes ONLY to carry out public expenditure. 
Ed Miliband wants a Mansion Tax to help fund the NHS. (The fact that this is nonsense doesn't take away from the broad principle that you need to talk tax and spend together).  

A proper discussion of tax can only be held if it is placed firmly in the context of expenditure. Generally you start not with tax but with the budget. A Government starts with proposals about what it should, or can, do. If its view is that what it must do would cost more than its tax revenues then it has to raise more. If it believes that it should not do, or stop doing, certain things then it can freeze taxes or reduce them. 

So Umunna's motherhood statement is disingenuous claptrap. Tell us your vision of the role of Government in our society and economy. What it should and shouldn't do. Then quantify that vision. Then tell us how you'll raise the money to implement it. Anything else is silly sloganising.


At 11:29 am , Blogger Unknown said...

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