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]

A glimpse into the mind of a green politician

Caroline Lucas MP, Britain’s only, (or “first” as the Guardian puts it) Green Party MP, writes “Scrapping the fuel duty rise will hurt Britain economically”. In the article she says,

Some of the loudest voices are calling on the chancellor to scrap the planned fuel duty increase, due in April. But that essentially means using tax-payers’ money to fix a problem that we cannot control – the long-term upward trend in oil prices.

A commenter called Fomalhaut88 pointed out one strange aspect of her article at 12.53AM. He or she wrote,

Only in the mind of Ms Lucas could not raising a tax further be defined as “using taxpayers money”.

Some words from Ms Lucas that occur a line or two down are even more bizarre:

“A report commissioned from the Policy Studies Institute for the Green Alliance calculates that using a fuel duty cut to bring pump prices back to December 2009 levels would cost the taxpayer almost £6bn in the first year alone.”

Spot the error in this sentence. I have put the relevant bit in bold to make it easier for you. I don’t really think you need that help in spotting such an absurdity, of course. But by Gaia, some people do.

15 comments to A glimpse into the mind of a green politician

  • pete

    A person who is so poor at arithmetic that she thinks cutting a tax imposes costs on the taxpayer is obviously so thick that she is in no position to judge the accuracy or otherwise of all the science and computer modelling which underpin the global warming theory.

    Trouble is, she is obviously so dim she thinks she does have a good understanding of the science. Ignorance is strength.

  • Nobody watching the “News” will spot the deliberate error. The GreeNazis have made “the taxpayer” so higgorant, on purpose. They did this by destroying the teaching of maths and science, in schools. This was done with specifically this objective in mind, which the woman is trying to uphold and push past us.

    This is so that people like their Gauleiters, such as Caroline Lucas, can get away with saying “black is white, evil is good and good is evil” and not be challenged in the MSM’s magazine-progs-masquerading-as-“news”.

  • Beg to differ: she’s not stupid at all, she just speaks a different language. While an individualist understands ‘taxpayer’ as a single individual who pays taxes, a collectivist such as this specimen uses the word ‘taxpayer’ to mean ‘the state’ (or what she may call ‘the society’). This is only natural to her, as for her the term ‘individual’ is literally meaningless. Now plug that into the equation, and see how it all falls into place.

  • Here in the US, the people who have always wanted to raise the gas tax are also the same people who scream bloody murder every time the Small Oil profits when the price of gas rises.

    The implication is that $5 a gallon (or pick your price; I know it’s quite a bit more than that in Europe) gas is wicked if the money ends up in the hands of Small Oil, but suddenly, magically becomes virtuous if the money ends up in the hands of Big Government.

  • This principle is old.

    Aviation fuel is not taxed (guess why?) and the Greens have long claimed this is a “subsidy” to the aviation business. This is the same thing. This is not mathematical ignorance. It is the certain belief of the likes of Ms Lucas that all belongs to the state and that relenting a little here and there is quite literally not taking less but giving out. If you look through Ms Lucas (et al)’s cracked prism it all makes perfect sense.

  • It’s time to say, on a very very very widely read public forum, such as Samizdata, that there may sadly be “no room for” people like this Lucas woman, who view the world through a prism which they have deliberately cracked, and which nobody asked them to crack.

  • To follow my above: there are no penalties for thinking wrong things, or saying them. Sean gabb and I and most libertarians would agree about this. But there are penalties for committing bad acts and other sundry crimes, one of which is to say: enforcing GreeNazism upon others. The problem about this GreeNazi woman “Lucas” is that she means what she says, and will execute it given the chance. GreeNazis will never say sorry, and will “go, going forward”. Pol Pot’s murder-staff, taking their cue from Hitler and Stalin, point the way to people like the followers of “Caroline Lucas” to do what she advocates.

  • True David, but it is one thing to say that there is no room for certain actions, and quite another to say that there is no room for certain individuals, no matter how repulsive those people’s ideas may be. I gather though that your second comment was meant in a similar vein?

  • It is all about where you draw the baseline. It really is. If they draw the baseline at 50+% for the state as “natural” then obviously by that token then any cut below that is a give away by their own demented axioms. It is essentially a totally different moral/economic/political and social structure and an incommensurable paradigm.

    Trying to convince a Green of libertarianism is not trying to get a leopard to change it’s spots. It’s trying to convince it to become vegan.

  • Roue le Jour

    I’ve disliked the use of ‘cost’ to describe an absent input rather than an output since the Thatcher administration described MIRAS as a cost. It’s offensive because the obvious implication is that every pound left in the taxpayer’s pocket is a ‘cost’.

    If we accept the usage, then since money is taken from taxpayers and given to non-taxpayers, if a reduction in tax ‘costs’ anyone it’s non-taxpayers, not taxpayers.

    Looking at this post, the one that follows, and others elsewhere, are we not seeing the denormalisation of personal wealth?

  • Worse than Green thinking is the huge loss of prosperity because of higher taxes. Taxes are extracted and used foolishly, and there is an equal loss of production in society. So, taxes may cost the society twice the amount collected from higher tax rates.

    In Nov 1999, Martin S. Feldstein was the George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University and former President of the US National Bureau of Economic Research. He investigated the effects of income tax rates on the US economy.

    The Deadweight Loss of Taxes
    The deadweight loss caused by increasing tax rates above current levels may exceed $2 per $1 of revenue increase. When the government collects $1 more in taxes, the economy loses at least $2 in production and jobs.

    Say the government raises tax rates, planning to receive $100 more in taxes. It doesn’t actually receive all of this, because decreased economic activity only delivers say $50 more at that higher rate. The government has actually gained $50 in tax revenue.

    The private sector creates $100 less wealth than it did before ($2 less for each $1 incease in taxes actually paid). The society as a whole is $50 worse off overall (+ $50 taxes – $100 production), even assuming that the society gets $50 in efficient benefit from having the government spend the extra $50 in revenue.

    The money going to the government through tax policy is not the only factor. The overall wealth of the society is more important.

    Put another way, doing things through government, with the associated taxation, is an expensive way to do things. We should purchase through government only the most valuable things which only government can do.

    Feldstein: I dislike budget deficits as much as anyone else. But, I would never give up say $1 billion of GDP in order to reduce the deficit by $100 million. National income is a goal in itself; that is our standard of living.

    The simple conclusion is that the government must spend less, not raise taxes to feed a deficit.

  • Classical liberal

    The notion that not taxing something somehow represents a cost to the government is a very odd one. It’s like saying that my decision not to rob someone represents a cost to me, since it means I don’t get all of the money that I might potentially have, i.e. it’s accurate without being truthful.

    It rather assumes that my money somehow *really* belongs not to me but to the government and that I should be glad of what I’m allowed to keep, since any decision by the government not to take money off me means snatching bread from an orphan’s mouth somewhere.

  • The Liberal/Progressive view is that profits are theft. Every dollar of profit represents (as Classical Liberal characterized their view) “snatching bread from an orphan’s mouth somewhere”.

    The only moral economic organization is supposedly a non-profit, like the government and all of the endowments which “actually” help people. This is an extension of the ancient, royalist view of “tradesmen”, who made their money the filthy way.

    Motto: Businessmen make evil profits. Progressives make beautiful salaries.

  • Paul Marks

    I would say “I despair”, accept that I already despaired of this country quite some time ago.

  • The view that if you pay taxes you are making a “contribution to society” whereas if you don’t, you aren’t, is pretty common. I’ve been told this by elected officials from the Conservative party. The reverse is course true – money spent buying stuff in free transactions does far more good than money taken by the government – but this mindset does understand or allow this.