Government alchemy - Independent-style
14 Feb 2007 - Bruno Prior
The Independent is never shy of calling for more government money to be spent on one thing or another. Now we know why. Apparently taxation is not a drain on the economy, but a means to create wealth.
They report today that the Department for Transport estimate that "road pricing could raise up to £28bn by 2025". Let's not worry about how they can so precisely calculate a figure so far in the future, or whether they took the costs of the scheme into account. It's rubbish, of course, but we'll leave that for another post some other time.
What I am interested in here is what we can learn about the understanding of at least one leading journalist at The Independent about how the economy works. Because, in their box-out "The case for (and against) charging" (the brackets nicely illustrate the "balance" that they bring to this argument), they report that road pricing would "benefit the economy by £28bn".
Silly me. There was I thinking that we need to keep taxes under control because they represent a drag on the productive part of the economy, when all along I should have been pushing for ever-higher taxes, because the government can apparently magically double the value of money in the hands of taxpayers, simply by taking it off them.
Next time you read analysis in The Independent making a moralistic (and usually simplistic) case for more spending on this or that, remember that, in their eyes, they'll not only be improving the lot of those on whom the money is being spent, but expanding the economy as well. Then put the paper down, and buy one written by economic literates.