Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Does Labour still believe in fairness?

Treasury is having one of its regular ideological burps at the moment, with its Chief Executive touring the country spouting ACT policy, while his minions crank out policy papers calling for regressive tax changes, such as a flat tax or cuts to taxes on dividends, interest and profit (a form of income enjoyed pretty much solely by the rich). Naturally, Labour opposes the plan:

Labour deputy leader Annette King said her party was opposed to a flat tax because it raised questions about what other taxes would have to be raised to cover expenses.
(If you like, you can imagine me theatrically examining the statement to see whether there is anything more, but it doesn't work very well with a computer screen)

Yes, that's it. They oppose Treasury's ideas for massive tax cuts for the rich not because it is a direct attack on progressive taxation, the idea that those who can afford it should pay more (or "from each according to his abilities", to use the deprecated version), not because its just bloody unfair, but because it "raises questions" (to which Treasury has answers, though ones we would not like) about what other taxes would have to be raised to compensate. if this sort of pallid technocratic managerialism is the best the modern Labour party can bloody do, then I'm left wondering why anyone would bother to vote for them. Its enough to make you wonder whether they still believe in fairness at all...