Thursday, March 16, 2006


Cameron's article today on got a familiar reaction. Conservatives like winning and there was broad support but nervous questions about the statement that tax cuts will not be prioritised over economic stability. Reform responded to this when it was first announced with a standard, and clearly correct, line that a small state is not more unstable. However, there are two possible processes at work if a party states that they will not prioritise tax cuts over stability:

1) They are left wing and believe that private sector irrationality makes capitalism inherently unstable and in need of state sector stability.

2) They believe that should we come to possess a debt/GDP ratio radically higher than it is today (a severe fiscal crisis) then it would be sensible to prioritise austerity over ideologically driven tax cuts. While there are no policy implications now we need to let the public know that our ideology does not imply poor decision making in a crisis.

While the first paradigm is patently false I believe it is the second that the Conservatives are addressing and this is far less troubling.


El Dave. said...

Alternatively, the Conservatives have realised that there is broad support in the country for maintaining current levels of public service funding and, hence, current levels of taxation.

The economic arguments you present are sound, but I think this is much more a case of wanting to win (not that there's anything bad in that) and defining your policies in the current framework-consensus rather than going from first principles.

The Tories can, of course, rely on some people to consistently justify their policies for them ;)


fec said...

i'm surprised the idea of the supplicant state hasn't been mentioned more often. the businessonline article which was linked from conservativehome a while ago reckoned over 50% of the country are now in some way dependent on government spending. as dave hints, perhaps DC has abandoned tax cutting simply because he believes it is impossible to convince people. problem is, as it gets more necessary to cut tax, it will get more difficult.