We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

MPs & Guardian readers discover regulatory capture, demand more regulation

Say it ain’t so! Accountancy firms ‘use knowledge of Treasury to help rich avoid tax’ – MPs

Margaret Hodge, the PAC’s chair, said the actions of the accountancy firms were tantamount to a scam and represented a “ridiculous conflict of interest” which must be stopped. “The large accountancy firms are in a powerful position in the tax world and have an unhealthily cosy relationship with government,” she said, calling for the Treasury to stop accepting their staff to draw up new tax laws.

In other news, Margaret Hodge called for tighter regulation of the consumer credit industrycivil service procurementwelfare to work schemesacademies… and tax avoidance… and Guardian commenters demanded tighter regulation of the press.

Remember citizens, Get real – get regulated.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on VK

12 comments to MPs & Guardian readers discover regulatory capture, demand more regulation

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Even the people who believe in regulation don’t believe in regulation (although they don’t know it)

    While I was lying in bed reading the very masculine and totally heterosexual Sharpe series, my wife was watching Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman in the background, which I totally wasn’t paying attention to….

    Anyhoo, in this episode there was a corrupt mine owner who was working people to death, only paying them in scrip and compelling them to work in the face of repeated cave-ins. Some of the workers formed a union and went on strike, but Dr. Quinn persuaded them to help dig out the “scabs” trapped by a cave-in. The local journalist wrote an article criticising the mine which persuaded the local shopkeeper to refuse to accept company scrip. Ultimately the mine had to close because, as Dr. Quinn said, although there were many desperate men willing to work under those conditions and those terms, there weren’t any left in town.

    Now this was obviously intended as a liberal fable about the need for a strong government regulating everything. Which I thought rather overlooked the fact that they had actually dealt with the problem using non-coercive collective action – all without the intervention of government. In fact this supposed liberal fable actually wound up making the anarcho-libertarian case for no regulation. Of course, I’m sure the writers didn’t mean it that way. Still…

    As I said, I was totally not watching my wife’s girly programme…..

  • Andrew Duffin

    Margaret Hodge?

    The same Margaret Hodge who inveighs against tax avoidance whilst enjoying an enormous income from a family business that operates from a tax haven?

    Why yes it is, the very same.

    Forgive me if I don’t take anything she says seriously.

  • Mr Ed

    Why Andrew, she supports homeopathy on the NHS: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/342

    So if you dilute tax till there is nothing there, it is more effective.

    Mind you, on accountancy, she is a bit of an expert, having worked for Price Waterhouse for 2 years as a consultant before becoming an MP, on the basis of her Economics degree presumably, rather than any Accountancy qualifications.

    http://order-order.com/2012/12/05/margaret-hodge-worked-for-pricewaterhouse/

    And it’s Lady Hodge, her late husband was knighted as a High Court judge.

  • This doesn’t work. Therefore we must do more of it.

    The fundamental principle of government, really.

  • Mr Ed

    @ Michael, absolutely. The whole purpose of politics is to reward failure and as its corollary, it can be to punish success. Sometimes punishing success is the priority. All a politician can do is promise to take from the successful to reward those who fail, otherwise, there is no point in politics, apart from some neutral matters of law reform etc. If you are able to buy or obtain your needs, you have no need for the middleman politician. The only reason to vote is to prevent the more vicious thieves from getting in. Not voting will not stop them.

    Here is a UKIP council candidate who is not handing out promises, a local Barry Goldwater, refreshing reading.

    http://order-order.com/2013/04/26/ukip-candidate-tells-abusive-cyclists-on-your-bike/

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I don’t think he’s a Barry Goldwater Ed, more of a motorist with his own sense of entitlement. He spouts a number of falsehoods during that interview, most of which are addressed by this website.

    Just because he objects to favours being dispensed to special interest groups (or which he is not a member) does not make him a libertarian. Especially since he thinks those favours should be redistributed to the special interest group he is a member of.

    In other words, he appears to be like every other politician out there. The only difference is his prejudices are in a slightly odd place compared to most politicians. But the way he responds to those prejudices is 100% normal for a politician, that is he favours the ingroup while demonising the outgroup.

  • Paul Marks

    It is the old story.

    Statists demand an ever bigger and more complex government (involved in everything) – and then are astonished (sometimes sincerly astonished) at the corruption which this brings.

    They then demand even bigger and more complex government……

    It is the same as statists denouncing “lobbyists” – whilst demanding that the state regulate every industry (which means that enterprises in every industry HAVE TO pay for lobbyists…).

    Want less tax avoiding?

    Then make taxes simple and LOW.

  • Laird

    Well, JV, I don’t know anything more about that particular political candidate than is in the interview posted by Mr Ed, and so can’t speak to his libertarian bona fides, but I agree with everything he said there. I don’t know about the UK, but in the US gasoline taxes are intended to pay for roads (and we don’t have any sort of “carbon tax” as is alleged in that website you linked to be the case in the UK). Our gasoline taxes have been diverted to other many uses (such as cycle paths, public transportation, etc.), and the condition of the roads suffers accordingly, but it nonetheless remains true here that motorists do pay for the roads and cyclists do sponge off them. And as a group cyclists are among the most rude and inconsiderate users of roads, often riding two or more abreast, running red lights and stop signs, weaving erratically, etc. I do wish the police paid more attention to them and ticketed them, but I’ve never once seen that occur. They should be banned from motorways and should pay for their own cycle paths.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    In the UK roads are paid for from general taxation. Cyclists pay as much towards their upkeep, frequently more, than many car users, while inflicting far less wear and tear on the surfaces.

    While I don’t doubt there are many poor cyclists out there, as an occasional cyclist myself I have witnessed many displays of irrational aggression on the part of motorists. Per km cyclists cause some of the least damage out of all road users. When they do crash they tend not to do much damage because of their relatively low speed and mass.

    It is important to retain some perspective here. When on my bike I get the impression that some drivers harbour murderous rage toward anyone who dares to delay them for 30 seconds on the roads. Riding a bike on the roads is one of the best instructions in how to be a better driver you can get, because you get to see what it is like on the “other side”.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    As an aside Laird, you are engaging in a very dangerous line of reasoning. It is one frequently used by statists. It goes like this:

    Sure, it’s not ideal that I end up paying for things you use and I don’t but that’s the way government works – so to take the sting out of it for me I demand a say in how you live your life, since I’m paying for it

    I never asked for other people to pay my way in the world. If an when road pricing is introduced, I will gladly pay an appropriate fee to use my bike on those roads. But until that day, I have as much right to be on the Queen’s highway as anyone else.

    Oh, and cyclists are prohibited on Motorways in the UK.

  • Laird

    JV, I don’t understand your claim about my alleged “dangerous line of reasoning”. I never said or implied anything along those lines.

    But if it is true that there is no dedicated gasoline tax in the UK, as there is in the US, and the roadways are indeed paid for from general revenues, then I withdraw my objection there (not that I get a vote on it anyway). But not here in the US.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    JV, I don’t understand your claim about my alleged “dangerous line of reasoning”. I never said or implied anything along those lines.

    You did when you said this:

    Our gasoline taxes have been diverted to other many uses (such as cycle paths, public transportation, etc.), and the condition of the roads suffers accordingly, but it nonetheless remains true here that motorists do pay for the roads and cyclists do sponge off them. And as a group cyclists are among the most rude and inconsiderate users of roads, often riding two or more abreast, running red lights and stop signs, weaving erratically, etc. I do wish the police paid more attention to them and ticketed them, but I’ve never once seen that occur. They should be banned from motorways and should pay for their own cycle paths.

    My point is that for most cyclists, it isn’t their fault that this is how things are arranged. Even if they are “sponging” that doesn’t give you the right as a motorist to request ad hoc punitive measures to be taken against them. Just because you are involuntarily bankrolling their hobby does not mean you should have any say whatsoever on how they do or do not practice their hobby.

    Exactly the same argument is used here for hassling fatsos like myself, or persecuting smokers, because through the NHS we’re all paying for the consequences. Many feel like they are owed a say on how other’s live their lives.

    They aren’t.