Don’t know ’bout the economy,
Don’t know how all my tax gets spent,
Don’t know who voted in this government.
But I do know one and one makes two,
(Which is more than George Osborne seems to),
Oh, what a wonderful coalition this could be.
God, I think I’m trying to do political satire. I’m sorry. It doesn’t happen often. And when it does, it usually scans better than that.
If this is making no sense to you, it’s a strained reference to this song. I did try to squeeze in a mention of how much I know about trigonometry and algebra, but it just seemed like bragging. And anyway, the purpose of a slide ruler leaves me just as baffled as it does that guy.
Anyway. Did I have a point? Ah, yes.
The current UK coalition government announced its Emergency Budget back in June, to urgently make sure we’re spending money in the right places so as not to let the whole country fall down. This has included certain tax rises, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has defended as being tough but fair.
Shockingly for a sweeping governmental policy regarding taxes, not everyone thinks this is a wonderful idea.
The particular movement that’s caught my eye is The Cuts Won’t Work, which lays out five alternatives to the strategies of the current budget, which it is claimed would be more effective at bolstering the economy.
I won’t analyse each point in detail, because I don’t know nearly enough to comment usefully on any one of them. I have no real idea of the economic impact of making what cuts when. I can only broadly agree on some of the easy stuff, like Trident, which would apparently be a nifty £6 billion a year saved if we scrapped it. (And look, Razorlight agree!)
The most easily understood point to your average economically incompetent idiot (hello!) is tax evasion. As much as the tabloids like to scream about the vast expanse of government revenue being eaten into to coddle immigrants, the amount the economy loses out due to rich people not paying taxes they can damn well afford is much, much more.
£15 billion, £25 billion, £30 billion, £40 billion, £70 billion, £123 billion… Okay, there’s a lot of disagreement in exactly how much money all this tax evasion and avoidance is costing us, but it’s clear that it’s a big deal. And I imagine the people coming up with such disparate numbers are often talking about different things, the fine details of which I’m not equipped to pick apart. They could probably even tell you the difference between “avoidance” and “evasion”. [Edit: anubiscaller has clarified this in the comments.]
I ought to have some sort of conclusion here. All I really know is that the Conservative government are the last people I’d want to trust to find a way to quickly and painlessly improve our economy right now. (And yes, I said the Conservative government. It’s a close approximation. I’m rounding up. And not even very far.)