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 – death tax edition

“The UK has a complicated, punitive, badly constructed and all-around dysfunctional tax system.The code contains over 10 million words. That is about 12.5 times the number of words in the Bible (around 800,000 words), 12 times the number in the Complete Works of Shakespeare and 8 times as many as the longest novel ever written (Marcel Proust’s À La Recherche Du Temps Perdu).”

Merryn Somerset Webb, financial columnist.

6 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – death tax edition

  • Fred Z

    A “complicated, punitive, badly constructed and all-around dysfunctional tax system”???

    So, it’s working exactly as planned by the lawyers, accountants and politicians who built it.

  • Paul Marks.

    Yet when Prime Minister Liz Truss tried to reduce and simplify taxation – everyone, including the Institute of Economic Affairs, turned on her.

    “But she crashed the economy” – someone who had been in office a few days “crashed the economy”, nothing to do with the vast level of government spending (some 500 Billion Pounds on the Covid insanity – on-top-of the already absurdly high level of government spending), or with the 1.6 Trillion (“Trillion with a T”) that the Pension Funds, with the blessing of the Bank of England, “invested” in dodgy stuff.

    No, no, no, it was modest tax reductions that did-not-actually-happen that “crashed the economy” – nothing to do with insane levels of government spending, or the “City” institutions investing one and half trillion (trillion) Pounds in dodgy stuff.

    Liz Truss was a “fall guy”, a “patsy”, for the utter failure of the British establishment – and that failure has only just started to have its impact.

  • Paul Marks.

    According to the Economist magazine, taxes, especially taxes on property, are much too low in the United Kingdom – and should be increased to (supposedly) fund the “inevitable” rise in government spending – over-and-above its already insanely high levels.

    So ignore the fact that Social Democrat Sweden and even the People’s Republic of China have no inheritance tax – the British inheritance tax of some 40% must stay (if not be-increased) – of course it should also be “tweaked” in various ways to make it MORE complicated, not less, taxation must serve the “Net Zero environmental goal” and the various other parts of the ESG, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – these United Nations Sustainable Development Goals get everywhere, I was just at a council committee meeting on tourism in the county and (you guessed it) the well paid consultants, were busy citing United Nations Sustainable Goals at us. “But there is no connection Paul” – oh yes there is, everything must follow United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Equality, the Environment (meaning the C02 is evil theory), women’s rights, and all the rest of it.

    It (it including higher taxes in Britain and the rest of the Western world)) is POLICY you see – and politicians must obey POLICY, made by “experts”.

    We have been in this ever higher taxation trap before – at least my maternal Grandfather, James Power, Irish family had been in this situation in the mid 19th century.

    As poverty increased in Ireland in the late 1840s the answer of the U.K. government was ever higher Poor Law taxation (the Poor Law Tax had only been introduced in Ireland in 1838 and the economy collapsed a few years later – including in areas that were NOT dependent on the potato, but no one made any connection), as the Poor Law Property Tax was increased so the economy got worse – as all taxes are passed on, “it will only hit the landowners” or “Irish Property must pay for Irish Poverty” being a doctrine only believed by utter cretins – such as Prime Minister Lord Russell (who also bailed out the banks – making a nonsense of Peel’s Banking Act of 1844, and pushed government involvement in education), and Sir Charles Trevelyan – the “laissez faire” man who supported ever higher taxation and hated landowners (apart from himself – he was a landowner), this is a very odd definition of “laissez faire” but the BBC says he supported “laissez faire” and that this was the trouble – so it must be true.

    Anyway this “laissez faire” vicious circle policy of increasing taxation whenever poverty increased, thus increasing poverty more (by destroying the economy), the response is then even higher taxation – which led to even more poverty, which….

    By the end of this process one third of the population of Ireland were either dead or had fled the country.

    I hope things do not get so bad here – with the establishment policy of reacting to everything by increasing taxes, and when increasing taxes makes the poverty worse, increasing taxes even more.

  • GregWA

    …and less inspiring than the Bible (!), less quotable than Shakespeare (!), and less fun to read than the longest novel ever written!

  • Paul Marks.

    Even GB News pushes the lie that “Liz Truss’s mini budget crashed the economy” – it is infuriating.

    The modest tax reductions proposed did-not-happen – it was the wild government spending over years, and the investment approach of the Pension Funds and other “City” institutions, with the blessing and encouragement of the Bank of England (whose pushing of low interest rates had made conventional investment unprofitable) that “crashed the economy”.

    The above is important.

    Just as the late 19th century was dominated by the lie that “laissez faire” policies in Ireland led to the disaster of the late 1840s (thus discrediting free market policies and pushing Big Government policies – ignoring the reality that what really happened in Ireland was CRUSHING POOR LAW TAXATION), so the lie that “the tax cuts of Liz Truss crashed the economy” is being used to discredit free market policies right now.

    The economy is going to get worse, much worse – and the truth is that this is the result of crushing levels of government spending and taxation, and the insane Credit Bubble policies of the Bank of England – but it will be blamed on the “free market”.

  • sonny wayz

    McCardle, back before the Borg got her, penned (correct word?) a column on inheritance taxes. From memory, one of her points was either the deceased has control of the estate post-mortem, or not. If not, 100% goes to the government. If yes, keep your #$)&^$* hands off. Anything in between (47.2%?, or whatever) is just a tax grab.