Spat with Tax Justice Network again

Monday, 16 May 2011 10:08

Our relationship with the Tax Justice Network (TJN) is not what it ought to be. One might have thought that they would be foremost in leading a clamour for our promotion of land rent for public revenue. Instead, the approval is grudging. The most TJN will concede is to see it as "part of a comprehensive system of taxation".

But if LVT is part of a comprehensive tax system, which other taxes should be kept and why? Every tax has substantial set-up and running overheads before anything at all is collected. Operating costs of the London congestion charge, for example, take a significant chunk out of the yield.

The main reasons for taxation apart from revenue-raising are to encourage desirable actions eg not drinking too much, and to redistribute wealth. The latter reason begs the question of why wealth is maldistributed in the first place.

These considerations make taxes on wages, goods and services look bad in the overall scheme of things, which is why they rate low according to any standards of taxation eg Adam Smith's Canons, which are not a bad starting point.

I have posed the question on TJN's web site. The reply could be interesting.

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