Policy Exchange have an excellent new report by Andrew Lilico and Hiba Sameen out today on how taxes affect economic growth. Some of the results they've produced with the Oxford Economics model - chosen because it is a lot like the Treasury one - are a bit implausible, as the authors themselves acknowledge in the report. But the analysis yields some fascinating insights...
Fridays in the House of Commons tend to be a sparse affair, with seats mostly occupied by a scattered handful of south eastern MPs and a tiny number of guerillistas. This latter group fight an unnoticed yet typically meritorious rearguard battle against laws sneaking in under the political radar. Some of their battles are controversial, some find the opposition of newspaper editorials who want the legislation without considering the cost (such as over hot dog sellers), but you certainly can’t fault their democratic principles.
In 1950, the United States began its tortuous path towards embroilment in Indochina. While US troops were being committed to a major ground war in Korea, advisors were also sent to assist French forces by providing military support in a training mission. Six years later, that mission assumed training primacy with French withdrawal. Eight years after that, the Gulf of Tonkin incident pitted North Vietnamese fast boats against a patrolling US warship, triggering large scale deployment of US forces in support of the South. The rest is history.
I sometimes think that there's a chance Rod Liddle may become so contrarian that one day he ends up exactly where he started, in a bid to shock himself. Nothing wrong with a healthy dose of contrarianism, of course - and Rod is one of its greatest exponents. However, on the issue of MPs' pay he is just plain wrong.
In his latest Spectator Essay, he impressively manages to rebel against the public mainstream by joining the establishment instead - effectively becoming the only ewok to fight for the Emperor.
Whoever wins the election will have to tackle the pressing issue of public sector pay. At a time of grave fiscal crisis, with taxes rising and private sector pay under the cosh, the current arrangements are simply not sustainable.
Discussions in this area tend to generate more heat than light, so we thought it would be useful to set out some facts on who gets paid what.
Let's start with an old favourite - GPs. As regular BOM readers will recall, the Department of Health's crazy new contract stuffed GPs mouths with so much gold they nearly choked (eg see this blog, and this). And as it happens, a BOM correspondent has recently sent us a confidential document showing just what GPs are now earning, five years on.
I don’t remember much of 1979. At the time of the general election I was eight years old, but I do remember the images of rubbish piled up in the street, and I remember Margaret Thatcher on the steps of 10 Downing Street. That’s about it. The rest of my knowledge of the 1970s has come from reading and watching documentaries. It seems as if in 2010, the 1970s are starting to repeat themselves.
There are public sector strikes and the reckless strike against British Airways by the UNITE union. The country’s finances are in an even more parlous state than they were in the 70s, and instead of being prudent with our cash and making each pound go further, there are many in the public sector who throw our tax pounds down the drain.