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.

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Samizdata quote of the day

It is highly unsurprising that, if marginal tax rates are cut, the people who will benefit directly are those who actually pay the tax.

Opponents to rate cuts on these grounds are criticising tax changes on the basis that they do not help people who are already completely exempt from them. This is bizarre. It effectively implies that they are against all tax cuts, of any sort.

Ryan Bourne

16 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Lee Moore

    Of course they’re against all tax cuts of any sort. Where has Mr Bourne been ?

  • Johnnydub

    Same as the “any tax exemption is a paid subsidy” bollocks….

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Here’s an idea! If no name for a comment is provided, then the first 30 characters are taken as the name of the comment. We have too many ‘Samizdata quote of the day’ headings.

  • Laird

    It’s basically the same complaint as that the unemployed don’t benefit from holidays. Utterly stupid.

    Nicholas, I’ve been complaining about that for years. Clearly no one cares.

  • Ferox

    But, but … that money doesn’t belong to you! You didn’t build that.

    Also a part of that whole mindset is “if you don’t want the government to pay for it, you are trying to make it illegal for people to get it”.

  • Jamesg

    Hmm…several people who don’t pay tax actually benefit from me paying less tax: my wife, my son, retired parents.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Laird, I have also offered a possible solution. Let’s wait and see…

  • Mr Ed

    When have you ever heard some self-appointed and self-anointed prattler from a church, charity or NGO purportedly advocating to help ‘the poor‘, that amorphous blob of the lower quartile of their own graph, call for a cut in VAT or abolition of a sales tax?

    You tax people to make them poorer, and so that others can be richer.

  • I add my voice to Laird and Nicholas: when there are several SQOTDs in quick succession, the reuse of the title is a real pain. Try and come up with a title that will differentiate it from the posts immediately before and after, even if you reuse it over time:

    – Samizdata Quote of the Day: Tax Cuts

    – Samizdata Quote of the Day: Free Speech

    etc. If that fails, Samizdata Quote of Wednesday can at least be distinguished from Samizdata Quote of Thursday and, since people mostly comment on recent stuff, will reduce by much more than a factor of seven the tedium of resolving comments. Failing that, just putting the post number in the title would work for me.

  • The quote’s logical point is correct but it unimpressed me as a way to persuade anyone not already for tax cuts. There are those who think property laws benefit most (or only) those with much property (‘the rich’) and those who understand that property laws benefit most those with very little property. (The rich can hire defenders and survive losses – and influence the state to ensure its depredations affect them similarly.)

    Like most left wing ‘thought’, the first idea has an obvious, at first glance, quality that lets them recruit new useful idiots after their every failure.

    It is indeed true that a tax cut will not obviously, as an observable administrative datum, immediately leave money in the pockets of people already exempt from the tax, and that such people exist for most taxes. But if I were on the campaign trail I would invest time explaining why law and order (including for theft, burglary and fraud) benefit the poor most, and I would similarly explain why tax cuts benefit those who do not pay the tax – and monitor closely how much they were understanding of that. Thatcher won the argument on equalising tax rates. She failed to win the community-charge / poll-tax argument about equalising tax amounts. Since she managed to make the political decision mostly just to run the NHS for a decade instead of fundamentally reforming it into something else (and ran it much better than her Labour successors did), she should have made the same judgement about where the public were on rates versus amounts and paced herself there too.

    There is an excellent discussion in Thomas Sowell’s ‘A Conflict of Visions’ about the different understandings of who benefits from the defence of property.

  • rxc

    Mention of churches, charities, and NGOs reminds me that they are big losers when tax rates go down. The big givers in the highest brackets give a lot, often in the form of appreciated assets, and those gifts can be written off against taxable income (in the US, at least). It allows them to do virtue-signalling for a very low (sometimes even negative) cost. When the tax rates drop, the gifts go down, and the revenue stream for the charities, churches, and NGOs gets hit.

    Think of all those university administrators who will have to tighten their belts (or raise tuition) to keep their wonderful lifestyles. And the NGO members jetting around the world to attend conferences. All that vital, wonderful work at risk of not being done, just because some rich person doesn’t want to pay tax. It is a scandal.

  • Sigivald

    I find that very often they’re not against “tax cuts” – they’re against Helping The Enemy Class, which is “people who make enough money to pay that marginal rate”.

    “Get the richies!” is a sentiment I find far too common.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes – that is correct.

    As people here have already pointed out, the people who are against tax cuts in the higher rates of tax (the only tax cuts that we KNOW produce more revenue over time) are really against tax cuts generally.

    For example – I think it was Antoine Clarke who noticed that WHATEVER THE SITUATION Daniel Finkelstein of the “Times” would always come out with an argument about why taxes should NOT be reduced.

    And then there are my dear friends the staff of the Economist magazine – the new “Lexington” was busy this week denouncing even Donald Trump’s timid tax cuts.

    Yes even very minor reductions of tax rates (and the closing of corrupt tax loopholes such as the infamous one that allows rich leftists in California, hello Harvey Weinstein, and New York to deduct their State and local taxes from their income before it is subject to Federal taxation).

    An outrage, according to “Lexington”, because tax cuts might mean less revenue to the government – which must always have more (never less) money. This is “Fiscal Conservatism” (ever bigger government is “fiscal conservatism” – not reducing the amount of money the government takes from the taxpayers) according to the “Classical Liberal” (really the opposite of Classical Liberal – ever-bigger-government Keynesian “New Liberal”).

    If James Wilson, the man who founded the Economist publication, returned to this Earth what would he do with the staff (and editor) of the entity?

    Most likely NOT some Hollywood horror movie style torture and murder of the staff of the Economist. More likely he would just shake his head sadly, turn round and walk away.

  • Thailover

    Cutting tax RATES does not mean cutting tax revenue. See the Laffer Curve. Republicans don’t want to cut tax revenue just as they dont want smaller government.They merely want to transfer power from the federal government to state government. Both sides are part of the same swamp.

  • Thailover

    I wonder if those parasites who “hate the rich” do so because they believe the zero-sum fallacy that the rich make people poor, or is it because they cause an equality of outcome, highlighting the parasites own inadequacies.

  • Fraser Orr

    I remember before the recent British election watching Angus whatshisname from the SNP on Question Time. He was talking about Brexit and the notion that Britain should be come a low tax haven. What I remember most is the way he said it “low tax haven” as if he were saying “country where slavery is legal” or “place where they eat their babies”. The idea to him of Britain as a low tax haven was utterly contemptible.

    But can you imagine? A Britain with a decent deal to enter NAFTA with a corporate tax rate at 15%? Maybe even having the balls to negotiate a free trade deal with the commonwealth too? That is a deal to make Brexit a success rather than the current scampering after the scraps that fall from the European table. I guess that is what happens when people who hate Brexit and perhaps don’t even grok Brexit, are the ones who negotiate Brexit.