This Starmer idea of British Recovery Bonds. Or, as Richard Murphy is claiming, his idea of stealing everyones' savings. It's possible to wonder at how stupid some people can be about the idea.
Think through it for a moment. The idea is that, currently, all those savings are just lying around doing nothing. This isn't true - banks do make use of their deposit base - but leave that aside. If that all gets spent on consumption then we've a potential inflation problem. So, say some, we should head that off at the pass and make sure all those savings instead go into investment.
Which is a damn stupid thing to say:
Second, one of the features of the past year is that some households have built up a significant “involuntary” surplus of savings because they have been prevented from spending on the things they usually do. One of the great debates of the moment is how much of those savings will be spent, and there is a possibility of a great splurge, when permitted, on holidays, imported cars and consumer goods, and so on.
Some in the economy are desperate for that surge, not least if they are in the hospitality business. The risk is that there is too much of a release of pent-up demand and it is inflationary. The new bond could have the useful function, if only at the margin, of soaking up some of those savings and diverting them away from consumer spending and towards...
Let's assume that we actually want to stop business - big business if you prefer - from lobbying government. We do have to assume that because there is that argument that perhaps government should be, occasionally, informed by people who know what in buggery they're doing. So, put that aside.
To work out how to stop the lobbying we do, clearly, have to work out why the lobbying:
In 2021, the US economy has now returned to a situation when lobbyists are influencing legislation to a degree that seriously impedes the health and vitality of society. This was brilliantly first described by Luigi Zingales in his book A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity. Again the proximity between society's legislators and many of the labour market heavyweights is far too intimate, as demonstrated by the lobbyist circus in Washington. The fact that the labour market giants...
Or perhaps the usual ghastly nonsense about an environmental problem. They do this all the time. Take something which really is a problem in certain parts of the world then insist that people must do vastly expensive things in parts of the world where it's not a problem. Rinse and repeat:
Freshwater fish are under threat, with as many as a third of global populations in danger of extinction, according to an assessment.
Populations of migratory freshwater fish have plummeted by 76% since 1970, and large fish – those weighing more than 30kg – have been all but wiped out in most rivers. The global population of megafish down by 94%, and 16 freshwater fish species were declared extinct last year.
The report by 16 global conservation organisations, called The World’s Forgotten Fishes, said that global populations of freshwater fish were in freefall. The problems are diverse and include pollution, overfishing and...
This is somewhere between amusing and worrying:
The Treasury has been urged to “step up and sort out” the digital services tax to close a loophole that allows tech giants including Amazon to pass on the fee to small businesses.
Dame Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP and tax campaigner, said Amazon had been a big winner from the coronavirus pandemic but was not paying the tax directly due to how the rules were written.
“Our high streets and smaller businesses are desperately struggling. That’s why it’s so galling that Amazon doesn’t pay its fair share and avoids the new digital services tax,” she said.
“Amazon is taking advantage of a glaring loophole in the tax. passes the levy onto smaller businesses and escapes any charges for the products it sells itself. The DST is a terribly designed tax and raises little cash, but it’s necessary until there is international agreement on corporate...
We have a report out that insists that hundreds of thousands have been made destitute by the coronavirus. This is not actually true for several reasons. One being that it's not the virus but the reaction to it that has caused the poverty. Even then it could be true of certain places in the world - being thrown out of a Bangladeshi clothing factory could lead to destitution - but not in the UK.
The real reason though is that this is a report from the usual fools who don't actually understand what poverty is.
The number of British households plunged into destitution more than doubled last year, according to alarming new research on the devastating fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Amid growing concerns over the unequal impact the crisis has had on the poor and low-paid, it has emerged that there were 220,000 more households living in destitution by...