Friday 3 August 2012

Labour, Taxes and Failings Thereon

Richard Murphy quotes a Mr Peter Watt, former general secretary of the Labour party:
We should state clearly that while government must collect taxes so that it can deliver the services and protections that we expect them to, we understand that tax is a necessary evil and that people have the right to try and legally minimise the amount that they pay. Furthermore, any government should have a duty to minimise the amount that people and companies have to pay in tax and to spend the tax that it does collect wisely.
It sounds very much like Mr Watt is not so much a Labourite as a disappointed Conservative. He buys all the ideology but doesn't share the hope that a Hayekian utopia can be realised. 'Alas,' he sighs 'tax is a necessary evil.' Presumably he concludes that people are too feckless and stupid to achieve the ideal -- but the ideal remains hallowed and beatific.

A real Labourite would recognise, contrariwise, that the ideal is thoroughly dystopian and that the realisation of it could only be worse still.

I doubt many people feel particularly overjoyed when they pay their taxes. But that doesn't make taxes 'evil'! They're an integral part of social solidarity -- something that Labour doesn't have too much to say about these days, sadly.