Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sharing the proceeds of growth

I genuinely bought the logic of sharing the proceeds of growth. It is possible to combine rising public spending with cutting the burden of tax. However, I'm left a little dissapointed by Osborne and Cameron's reactions to the Forsyth commission report. Their line appears to boil down to: 'we'll take the bits about cutting personal taxation but compensate for it by increasing environmental taxation' combined with 'we'll take the cuts in headline corporation tax if we can compensate for it with removing breaks to the same value'. How is this sharing the proceeds of growth?

Surely sharing the proceeds of growth over a parliament would mean that we would, in addition, be planning to actually cut the total quantity of tax? £20 billion over a parliament isn't too much. We could then use the revenue from shifting towards green taxation to go further (the report hints at profitable ways of doing this). There would still be a big share (well over half, I believe) of the proceeds of growth to direct towards higher public spending.

Bill Emmott's massively... well... stupid editorial for CommentisFree finally answers the question of why The Economist has supported the election of a Labour party which has failed to satisfy either the economic or civil liberties demands of classical liberalism. His notion that a tax reform commission must either examine the entirety of government fiscal policy or hold total revenue constant is absurd. If we are sharing the proceeds of growth then we want to know both how we can tax more efficiently with the total amount held constant and what we could 'buy' with a moderate tax cut. Combining this with an analysis of public spending is a job for another commission or the party leadership; it can more easily do so if the benefits of cutting tax by a moderate amount have already been considered.

1 comment:

Gracchi said...

Cameron's point though is not to accept that we will have growth because he wants to avoid a tax cutting auction with Brown- he wants to avoid being accused of taking twenty million off the NHS so will vaguely say tax cuts will happen but not when or where until the growth itself has happened- ie until he is in government and can avoid the Brown accusations.