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A label suggestion

These days, government laws mandate that food produce sold in stores must contain lots of information in the label, such as trans-fats, sugar, salt, etc. There are warning labels on certain products, such as cigarettes, all the way through to household detergents, home DIY equipment, paints, plastic bags, you name it. It isn’t clear to me how much of this ever is read closely by consumers, but presumably policymakers hope people do study the label. And when it comes to food allergies, those who suffer from them (nuts, gluten, dairy, etc) will look at them.

I have been listening to this Reason podcast about Phil Harvey and Lisa Conyers, authors of a book who go into the gazillions paid out in subsidies to various business sectors in the US. Their book covers everything from Elon Musk’s Telsa through to the sugar farmer lobby. And during the podcast a suggestion was made – perhaps tongue-in-cheek – that goods and services that have received a subsidy/tariff or other privilege from the State should have that fact posted on the label. Imagine buying a car and having a label in the contract stating “this car has been produced with taxpayers’ money”, or, to take a different example, “This sugar has been made more expensive because of public policy”, etc.

11 comments to A label suggestion

  • Peter MacFarlane

    I have thought for ages that a receipt for (e.g.) petrol should be itemised. It might say, for instance “to 1litre of petrol, 20p; to tax, 80p; to tax on the tax, 22p; total £1.22” – which is what I paid at ASDA this morning. The other numbers are a guesstimate if course.

    It might make people think, but based on the last twelve months, maybe it wouldn’t, or they’d just weep a bit at how wonderful the NHS is, and how grateful they are to be allowed to pay for it etc etc.

  • Mr Ed

    Receipts for car fuel routinely display the 20% VAT (i.e. £1 in £6 of the cost), but not the hydrocarbon duty (on top of which VAT is added). S6o if a gallon of fuel cost £6, of that, £1 is VAT and of the £5 it might be that £1 is the cost and margin and hydrocarbon duty is £2.71p. So another £0.54p goes on the price of a gallon by paying tax on the tax.

    I have noted that Pret-a-Manger electronic tills do flash up the tax on a meal that you buy, so a £4 sandwich it sign ‘£3.34’ and ‘£0.66 tax’.

    And of course there have been the EU flags bandied about on any building or project that had some element of EU funding, but in reverse. We could put EU flags on ruins of businesses closed by EU regulations (and British flags on those destroyed by this government).

  • Plamus

    I see a potential downside – some will claim, and many others will believe, that nothing gets produced without a government subsidy.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    I was about to mention the famous EU “gratitude” plaques! A few days before the referendum I posted a suggestion that they ought to say:

    Project Part-Financed by the European Union
    European Regional Development Fund
    Which since Britain is a Net Contributor to the EU
    Actually Means Financed by You

    Johnathan’s proposed labels might be received by some in the way that the EU expected its gratitude plaques to be received: as reason to bless the kindly government for its largesse. The government being persuaded of that is the only way that this law is ever likely to be passed.

  • Honest labelling on your pay-slip of all the tax directly paid before you received the residue, not just some of it, would be welcome.

    As sundry governments have had more than a century to correct the hiding of mislabelled ’employers NI’, I will not hold my breath for that (or any other part of the government’s share of the difference between cost-to-employ and amount paid to employee) to be made more visible.

  • Jacob

    Taxes are so oldfashioned… today they just print money

  • TomJ

    Fuel duty is (per the RAC Foundation website I just looked at) 57.95p/l. Add VAT to that and you get 69.54p/l. The average petrol price is (per confused.com) 125.6p/l, so before fuel duty and associated VAT it’s 56.06p/l. Take the VAT element from that and you get 46.62p/l to the petrol station and therefore, in total, 78.88p/l to HMG.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    There is a funny scene in Heinlein’s Job: A Comedy of Justice where the hero, who keeps getting involuntarily shunted to different alternate timelines, ends up in our timeline (or one very like it; I can’t remember). As usual he gets a job as a dishwasher to survive. Upon receiving his first payslip he sees the quite decent gross figure at the top is much reduced by a long series of deductions and “contributions”. He queries them and it is explained that they go to provide this and that government service, social security, pension account etc. He politely says that while he might well consider paying into these funds in future when he is better established, he would like his full pay on this occasion. Everybody thinks he has made an excellent joke.

  • David Bolton

    I’m not holding my breath waiting to see if meats sold to consumers will ever be labelled as halal or kosher. Given that “Schools where only 5 per cent of the pupils are Muslim will keep halal kitchens, because it is assumed non-Muslims can be served halal food whereas Muslims will eat nothing but. All New Zealand lamb imported into Britain is halal, as is the chicken at Pizza Express.” (source: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-5-per-cent-of-people-who-get-to-decide-everything ) it would probably upset that particular apple cart if people stopped buying. Shame about the animal welfare of course…

  • Paul Marks

    With no Balanced Budget provision in the American Constitution (WARNING such a provision has to be very clear – otherwise intellectually corrupt judges will “interpret” it as they have done in some American States) and the power to create “money” from NOTHING (Article One, Section Ten that only gold or silver coin may be “legal tender” in any State was “interpreted” by intellectually corrupt judges long ago), such wild spending is inevitable.

    Back in the 1940s Henry Hazlitt suggested a Parliamentary rather than Presidential and Congressional system – but there is no evidence that such a system works any better at holding back either government spending or regulations.

    Bankruptcy, in fact if not in legal theory, is inevitable now – but what happens AFTER fiscal and monetary collapse?

    Let us try to be positive – assume that society does NOT totally collapse into mass cannibalism and so on, let us assume that civilised action can be taken (a massive assumption – but let us make it).

    A Convention of States is needed in order to remove the parts of the Constitution that intellectually corrupt “justices” have used to push the agenda of Collectivism.

    We have over two centuries to observe with the current American Constitution – a new Constitution would mean new loopholes, what is needed is to remove the loopholes in the existing Constitution.

    Just removing two (a few words) would do-the-job of creating a limited (as opposed to unlimited) Federal Government.

    Removing the words “regulate interstate commerce” would destroy the Federal regulations that J.P. mentions (and the many hundreds of thousands of pages of other Federal regulations) – and getting rid of the words “and general welfare” would get rid of the wild government spending on basically everything. Presently the majority of the population get money or other benefits from the Federal Government – thus making reform by the normal process of elections and so on, a non starter – but with economic collapse a Convention of States could remove the “general welfare” power that has bankrupted the United States (yes both the words “regulate interstate commerce” and “general welfare” were ripped from their context by intellectually corrupt “justices” in context they do NOT mean what the judges say they mean – but it is too late to reargue all that, THE WORDS MUST GO).

    This is all that is needed – the existing Constitution, but with the words “regulate interstate commerce” and “and general welfare” removed from it.

    Simple to say but “politically impossible” at present – only AFTER economic collapse will it be possible to call a Convention of States and actually create a limited (as opposed to unlimited) government of the United States.

  • As usual he gets a job as a dishwasher to survive. (Natalie Solent (Essex), March 25, 2021 at 8:32 am)

    Like Mark Judge after the Kavanaugh hit on him destroyed his career. Mark’s article on it made it clear why dishwasher jobs are so often available to anyone who is willing to work but otherwise hindered in their options.