Tuesday, July 04, 2006
As previous readers here will know I was expelled from the SLD for, among other things, calling for business tax cuts to stimulate economic growth (my Enterprise Motion). So yesterday I read this in the Scotsman
Nicol Stephen, the party's Scottish leader, is studying plans to produce a "pro-enterprise" party platform, which is also likely to include a promise to make further reductions in business rates.The unattributed nature of this means that they are running up a flag to see if anybody salutes rather than making firm policy. They did something similar last year in regard to Nicol's loony idea of spending Â£3 billion on a Glasgow/Edinburgh bullet train (he had been on a junket to China, seetheirs's & wanted to play too), which eventually became official policy.
Lib Dem party sources last night stressed that the plans to cut the "tartan tax" - which will cost at least Â£500 million a year - were at an early stage.
However, it is understood Mr Stephen, the deputy first minister, and Tavish Scott, the minister for transport, are both determined to see tax-cutting promises in the Lib Dems' next manifesto.
Neither Mr Stephen nor Mr Scott was prepared to say anything in public yesterday, but party sources confirmed they were looking at income and business tariffs as part of a wider package of tax plans.
For 3 years I tried to get the party to even think about doing this & as a direct result was expelled on charges that such reforms arspecificallyly "illiberal" & "too right wing" to be considered. So I wonder where they got the ideas? Well OK I don't & I do claim credit.
So am I bitter. In the words of General Schmuck* - Hell, yes.
For that reason you may assume I am biased, though I don't think so, when, having claimed authorship, I now explain why it is a bad idea.
The main part of the proposal is a 2p cut in income tax. Business tax cuts which would be a more efficient targeting are a lesser part. Well after all income tax cuts are good for votes.
The real problem is how are these tax cuts to be paid for & the answer is
new taxes to offset the cost of the "tartan tax" reduction and the expense of using the parliament's tax powers for the first time.That's right. Tax cuts paid for by new taxes. Unspecified Green taxes (a tax on plastic bags is mentioned which I can't see replacing much income tax) & more charges for recycling (as if recycling was a profit making rather than heavily subsidised activity).
This is the sort of lifting yourself up by pulling on your own bootstraps which is a sort of economics equivalent of perpetual motion (actually economics being what it is it might just work if the tax cuts were focused completely on business investment since it concentrates diffuse resources on growth, but the income tax cuts are, by definition, diffuse).
Worse. The administrative cost of this is going to be high. Firstly the cost of invoking the income tax cuts will "cost around £100 million, and there would be an administrative cost of about £60 million a year". Moreover income tax is one of the cheapest taxes to collect. Collecting an extra £500 million (the figure given) from recycling charges & plastic bags (or slightly more credible green taxes like higher fuel prices, higher cigarette prices, surcharges on electricity not produced by windmills, community charge surcharges for higher cleansing prices, parking or driving in cities surcharges etc any suggestions welcomed) would probably cost at least 20%, which in turn means higher taxes to cover the extra costs.
Thus to replace the £500 Million will cost £700 Million (the original £500M plus £60M for increased income tax administration plus Â£140M ie 20% of the extra cost in raising £700M). Good tactics. That will really stimulate the economy. This exclude the initial Â£100M to redo income tax.
The real way to encourage growth is to cut the outrageous amount of our money spent by government (54%) & direct it primarily into cutting business taxes (cutting income tax, while everybody likes it should come 2nd to building our future - though this requires some faith in the Scots people not being short term junkies, a faith I believe justified). Cut the outrageous amount of waste, don't spend £3 billion on goa railway & cut overmaning until we reach English levels, drasticly cut the £500M given to Scottish Enterpise & select a few more sacred cows for culling. That would work. Anything which isn't willing to face cutting government@s cost is just smoke & mirrors.
The article implies that this stuff was put together by Nicol Stephen & Tavish Scott. I assume they didn't ask the advice of Ross Finnie, an accountant to trade & the Executive minister called in to run things when the going gets tough (foot & mouth, fishing, water) but does not have the chiseled blondeness of Nicol (& has had a heart attack) & so is relegated to the position of Minister For Things That Happen Outdoors. They should let him tell them how to fix this.
*General Schmuck says this in Dr Strangelove.
I just wanted to let you know I agreed with you on your comment about Serbia Slamming the ICTY. I left my own comment as well, though not as good as yours.
I suppose it is to be welcomed, but I cannot help but wonder about their sincerity. McConnell has blethered about making enterprise his numero uno priority, but he has – thus far - done nothing of the sort.
you write that:
"Naser Oric is just as guilty as Gen. Ratko Mladic even if he didn't kill as many."
How is General Ratko Mladic "guilty" exactly? What evidence do you have that he ordered or participated in the alleged killing of "...some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Europe's worst atrocity since the Second World War." (Scotsman quote)
After 11 years the NATO owned ICTY at The Hague has failed to produce a shred of evidence to support the charge that Mladic and/or Karadzic ordered the execution of 8,000 of the late Alija Izetbegovic's troops. For example, the overwhelming majority of bodies examined have NOT been identified as Bosnian muslims (see http://www.srebrenica-report.com
Even the Izetbegovic SDA Bosnian Islamists admit that 5,000 of their troops made it safely to the town of Tuzla through Izetbegovic's SDA held "Bosniak" Islamist lines - troops who were later on re-incorporated into Izetbegovic's "Bosniak" army. Add to this the approximately 3,000 of Izetbegovic's troops who according to the Red Cross also left the area WITHOUT their families being informed, and you discover how they came up with the figure of 8,000 supposedly executed.
This alleged moral equivalence between Mladic and Oric is WRONG. Mladic's guilt for the alleged execution of 8,000 of Izetbegovic's troops has not been PROVEN with any documented evidence by NATO - all we have is ASSERTIONS made by the NATO-owned ICTY. Simultaneously we have the documented massacres of 3,870 Serbian civilians by Oric from 1992 to 1995 - which has been confirmed by UN officials and blue helmet "peacekeepers" on the ground at the time -such as French UN general Phillipe Morillon in testimony under oath at the late Milosevic's "trial" by NATO's ICTY.
Oric's massacres of 3,800+ Serbian civilians have NOT been specifically denied by NATO, NATO's ICTY or the UN itself, but have simply been whitewashed and COVERED UP.
Oric was a cold blooded killer who BOASTED to reporters of the Washington Post and Toronto Star about how he murdered Serbian CIVILIANS - elderly men, women and children - mostly by cracking skulls with iron bars & sledgehammers, as well as beheading & dismemberment with axes,knives, daggers and machetes. All of this has been rigorously documented in official United Nations documents A/48/177, S/25835 and A/47/813, S/24991 describing the hideous murders and rapes of Serbian civilians in and around Srebrenica and other nearby Bosnian towns and villages - available at:
The UN document A/47/813, S/24991 on rape by Bosnian Muslim & Croat forces in
Bosnia in 1992 can be read at: http://www.srpska-mreza.com/Bosnia/rapes/raped-serbs.html