Tackling Taxes for Economic Prosperity

In a recent essay published on this blog1, the present author highlighted the need for a libertarian strategy to be firmly and uncompromisingly radical, rooted in challenging the inherent injustice of the state as the ultimate destroyer of liberty. This is in contrast to gradualist or, we might say, deliberately half-hearted approaches, which are forced to accept the state’s basic injustices (such as its taxes, regulations, and monopoly over law, order and defence) and replace any radical principle with some kind of utilitarianism.

While it is wonderful that liberty brings with it heightened economic progress in the form of material increases in the standard of living, libertarians recognise that these ends do not justify the means. For example, if it could be demonstrated that murdering red heads would add a few percentage points to GDP we would still regard such acts as evil; the ability of everyone else to buy a few more pairs of shoes would do nothing to change this fact. Therefore, while leaps and bounds in the standard of living certainly add moral weight to the case for a free society they fail to add moral decisiveness.

Interestingly, however, it seems as though wedding oneself to a fundamental principle allows one to examine the economic effects of liberalisation more pertinently and that even on their own terms, gradualists, neo-liberals and utilitarians fail to make proposals which would bring the highest economic benefits. In other words, libertarians such as ourselves, who are derided for being too “utopian”, “principled” and “unrealistic”, seem to have a better grasp of the primary utilitarian case for liberty than do their more pragmatic brethren. We will elaborate on this observation here by examining the problem of taxation. Continue reading

Stamp duty

David Davis

The stalinists currently sitting and drinking in Westminster the Government are trying to look like they “care about the children” by proposing a 12 month “Stamp duty holiday”, whereby HM Land Registry will not only not charge people for buying a house up to £150,000, but now by not charging them an impost for one up to £175,000.

Of course! I was forgetting! The extra £25,000 over £150,000 allows you to find houses with large indoor swimming pools included, as opposed to not. I’m not sure most people round here, be we all yokels who say “urrrrrrhhhhhhh” when asked the way, could tell the difference even here between a £149,999 house and a £174,999 house, without careful scrutiny for the proximity of bureaucrats’ offices and the like.

Either “Stamp Duty” is a registration fee for the recording of the legal transfer of a piece of Landed Property, in which case in 2008 the fee is about £12 (and that’s generous – that’s what your credit card charges you for being late) or else it’s a progressive taxation.

The work involved is a few keystrokes.

I think we ought to be told either way.