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]

Samizdata quote of the day

[R]ight now is really the wrong time to be raising taxes upon anything. This is true whether you use a Keynesian, MMT or even – spit – neoliberal analysis of the economy. Recessions just aren’t the time to be increasing taxation. This means we have some time to discuss that future tax rise of course. My own response would be let’s kill the quangos and pay for everything from their rotting corpses. A minority view to be sure but one that would both work and also gain at least some support.

Tim Worstall

20 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Mr Ed

    Such simplicity, the reality is more nuanced. When the economy is booming, we can afford higher taxes, and it helps to ‘cool’ the overhearing economy. When the economy is crashing, we need higher taxes to pay for extra social services, unemployment benefits, infrastructure to give the economy a boost via the multiplier (a perpetual motion machine that speeds up) and if the economy is static, it needs a boost from higher taxes to get it moving again.

    So it’s quite clear: There are NO circumstances whatsoever in which taxes should be lowered, ever. Higher taxes make you better off, by taking money off you.

  • X Trapnel

    Tax cuts? Come and get them – right here. If you’re a lockdown’s-not-so-bad-roads-are-nice-and-clear manager, or public-sector worker, that is. Amazon delivery drivers, roofers, drainage engineers, shelf-stackers, bar- and restaurant-workers … not so much. Expect exactly zero questions from the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition about how this shameless bribe will be financed.

    Some think the disproportionate capacity of different sectors of the workforce to work from home should actually be reflected by making those who can work from home to be subject to tax-rises. This might actually have slightly more going for it, if it weren’t so much like the government throwing bricks through your shop window, and charging you tax to clear up the mess.

    Both are wrong, of course. It’s what we used to call a false dichotomy. Do Nothing does not appear though in any government play-book right now. Something Must Be Done. This Dumb-Ass Policy is Something. Therefore We Must Do It.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    “… let’s kill the quangos and pay for everything from their rotting corpses.”

    I absolutely agree with Mr. Worstall on that one, but the chances of implementing it are just about nil. Remember, when David Cameron became PM in 2010, he promised “a bonfire of the quangos.” Whatever happened to that? Was a single quango abolished?

    The ghastly truth – if you’re a libertarian, that is – is that big government is hugely popular, on both the left and right. And why shouldn’t it be? A government programme basically means getting something for free.

    We are now at the stage where just about everyone benefits from some government programme or other and will fight like crazy to keep it. Worse, someone agreeing to give his government benefit out of an ideological belief in small government is a bad strategy. It simply frees-up more money for other programmes, taking the pressure off them.

  • bobby b

    In our state, the Department of Motor Vehicles is where you go for license tabs, driver’s licenses, transfers, etc.

    Normally, the outlets have 10-15 clerk stations inside for transactions. They are slow and crowded on good days.

    With Covid, they have shut down the buildings and opened, at each location, one (or sometimes two) drive-through stations. Most employees are simply furloughed with full pay. Nothing for them to do.

    Of course, the wait time is huge. Police have mostly stopped enforcing licensing issues, because most people cannot wait in line for hours. You cannot get an exam for a new license at all.

    Which means, license fees paid to the state are way down.

    So, our governor has proposed a drastic increase in per-transaction license fees, to keep the government going.

    (Sigh.)

  • staghounds

    The only time not to raise taxes is when government has no debt.

    Deficit spending is always and everywhere a destruction of the value of money, and taxes should be decoupled from fiddling with “the economy”.

  • Bobby B –

    I wanted to upgrade my driver’s license so I could ride the airlines, just in case. (Papers, please!) I had to schedule an appointment, and it was about three weeks away. There were very few -customers- there, and about four agents. Somehow, even with an appointment and all my documentation ready, it took me an hour.

    Did you see Zootopia? I think they hired the sloth-clerks.

  • Phil B

    My own response would be let’s kill the quangos and pay for everything from their rotting corpses. A minority view to be sure

    A minority view?

    Sez who?

  • bobby b

    Ellen – I tried five different DMV offices that supposedly had appointments but really didn’t – they were “booked out to the end of their software”! – ended up in Chanhassen in a three hour line.

    Yeah, “customers.” Right. Supplicants, more like. Ugh. I shoulda been a government clerk. Now, there’s real power . . .

  • Flubber

    “big government is hugely popular, on both the left and right. And why shouldn’t it be? A government programme basically means getting something for free.”

    But that’s not the purpose of Quangoes. Qaungoes are there to employ the elites and the kids and friends of the elites, on huge salaries with zero accountability.

    There’s bugger all of value to the general public.

    In fact there’s negative value, as the quangoes tend to be the vanguard of the governments nudge unit, and greenhouses for leftist bullshit.

  • Roué le Jour

    bobby b,
    In the more laissez-faire parts of the world the answer to stifling bureaucracy is a modest bribe. Unfortunately the anglo sphere seems dead set against this simple solution.

  • Stonyground

    Interesting about inefficiency at government vehicle and driving licence outlets. Before my knee went wonky I used to do a fair bit of distance running and triathloning. Before each event there is generally a registration required to get race numbers, stickers for your bike and helmet,stuff like that. I have usually found these to be done very efficiently and these jobs are done by volunteers.

  • That bonfire of the quangos that Cameron once promised has so much going for it now:

    – good idea for liberty in itself

    – immediate saving of money spent on them

    – longer-term gain through speeding the economy by sparing it the effects of these parasites

    – easy for Boris to sell to his red-wall voters

    The only thing against it is that the swamp dislikes being drained, so typically has many laws, regulations and people in place to delay the effort.

  • Stonyground

    How many people are employed by these quangos? Are unemployment figures going to be an issue in the near future? Not that I’m arguing against abolishing them, it’s just that these are the things that politicians tend to consider.

  • APL

    Niall Kilmartin: “That bonfire of the quangos that Cameron once promised has so much going for it now:”

    It used to be the ‘go to’ promise in Tory manifestos of the ’80s, ’90s. Often promised, but rarely delivered. But Blair put an end to that with his massive expansion of the Quasi autonomous state financed organisations.

    Another corruption of the language, ‘charity’, once upon a time, not that long ago either, meant individuals giving their time or/and money for free to help a ‘good’ cause, a charity was once a ‘grassroots’ organisation.

    Post Blair, no more. Now a ‘charity’ is a State sponsored and directed operation that has as it’s goal the support of government ( deep state ) policy.

    But illustrating the utter uselessness of the Tory party. Which is no longer if it ever were a vehicle for a free market libertarian economic policy. The Tory party has embraced ‘Blairism’ with obscene enthusiasm.

  • Eric

    Supposedly in the US of every dollar in circulation twenty five cents was printed this year. I don’t know why we’re paying taxes at all. If the government is going to wipe out my savings like that, the least it can do is eliminate all that extra paperwork.

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    In our state, the Department of Motor Vehicles is where you go for license tabs, driver’s licenses, transfers, etc.

    FWIW, here in Illinois license tabs can be bought at a few different private businesses. Consequently, it is not at all a problem to buy them. Everything else? Impossible.

    Which comes back to the tax thing:

    @Mr Ed

    December 12, 2020 at 8:32 pm
    Such simplicity, the reality is more nuanced. When the economy is booming, we can afford higher taxes, and it helps to ‘cool’ the overhearing economy. When the economy is crashing, we need higher taxes to pay for extra social services, unemployment benefits, infrastructure to give the economy a boost via the multiplier (a perpetual motion machine that speeds up) and if the economy is static, it needs a boost from higher taxes to get it moving again.

    So it’s quite clear: There are NO circumstances whatsoever in which taxes should be lowered, ever. Higher taxes make you better off, by taking money off you.

    Which is quite right and all premised on the basic assumption: that the government spends money more effectively than private individuals, something which on any honest evaluation can only be answered with a snort of derision.

    Having said that, half the country just voted to have the government do just that, so I guess we have to learn that lesson the hard way again.

    BTW, have you all noticed the rise of the “Biden family crimes” meme in the press. Apparently it is allowed now. I believe I called this several months ago, they buried it to get him elected but held it in their back pockets to get him to resign after the election, and put the person they really want in charge. We will see how it all plays out though.

  • Paul Marks

    Getting rid of the Quangos would be nice – and it is NOT going to happen, as some of these Quangos are politically very important (for example, enforcing the Frankfurt School of Marxism “Diversity and Inclusion” agenda), but even if all the Quangos were abolished – it would not solve this problem.

    I have been astonished, utterly astonished, and how resilient the West has been – considering the utterly terrible policies that have been followed by so many governments for so many years. The entire Credit Bubble financial system should have collapsed long ago – taking the rest of the “economy” with it.

    I would have expected the West to fall long ago – and it is hung on in a remarkable, but all things end.

    Spending and regulation on this scale? In so many countries? And on top of all the other folly?

    No – abolishing a few Quangos will not deal with this.

    But, of course, go ahead.

    As for raising taxes – that is like treating a man dying of cancer, by SHOOTING HIM IN THE HEAD.

  • Paul Marks-
    As for raising taxes – that is like treating a man dying of cancer, by SHOOTING HIM IN THE HEAD.

    That’s just fine. They think there are too many of us already, and if they can get our money while they are killing us off, that’s even better. Or something.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Ellen – they call their totalitarianism “Inclusive Capitalism” – which only “includes” only people who AGREE with them.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Whenever you have tax cuts, you then have a booming economy. Reagan did it in California, and others have since done the same. The contrary is also true- Kim Beazley, here in Australia, once talked about ‘equity’ and how Australia needed more taxes to achieve ‘equity’, and lost the next Federal election.

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