The Death of Taxes (or the End of Life as We Know It?) – Forbes


I can relate to the “desperation”  that is apparent in the Author’s tone!

Virtually any company I have seen, with just a little coaching and prodding, can increase their bottom line by at least a full percentage point.  Since most companies only make about 5% after tax, that one point is a 20% improvement.

And still they don’t react; they don’t change; and if they do, they do too little and only do it once.  But complexity is like weeds in a garden.  It keeps coming back again and again, and needs to be monitored, controlled and repeatedly removed.

Ironically, the systems that may fail first due to excessive complexity are not corporate systems.  They are the incredibly complex systems that we call “government.”

The Death of Taxes (or the End of Life as We Know It?) – Forbes.

Particularly in tough economic times, the opportunity to build better, more profitable and resilient enterprises, and economies, makes supreme sense. Read more of this post

Two reasons why the public finances are in deep trouble


Circulation in macroeconomics

Image via Wikipedia

Last time the UK’s public finances were in such a mess was back in the 70’s. A whole lot of pain was inflicted on the public, including austere spending cuts imposed by the IMF.

In the end a Tory government was voted in. The government was forced to hike taxes and cut public spending. In the end they were able to right the ship.

Thatcher talked about government finances being like a household budget. This simple analogy can be useful – i.e. you shouldn’t spend more money than you bring home.
But there are two critical differences…

First, when a household borrows it’s usually to buy something tangible (a house, or a car). Yes, you’ve created a liability (the loan), but there’s an asset on the other side of the balance sheet.

Secondly, households tend to borrow most when they’re young. Borrowers work on the assumption that their wage will tend to rise over time, so reducing the onus of the loan.

Neither of these applies to government borrowing.

Firstly, government borrowing generally isn’t for investment. The big bills are for NHS, schools, welfare benefits and pensions. That’s not to mention the banking bail-outs. This is day to day spending – and it keeps going up!

Anyway, if there has been investment, it’s been mainly pushed off the balance sheet into PFI projects. There are no new assets on the government’s balance sheet.
Secondly, the government can’t easily grow its income. They can try to increase revenue by upping taxes, but this is increasingly difficult…
In economics the ‘Laffer curve’* describes how you can only raise taxes to a certain point after which the amount of money raised actually begins to go down. And that’s where we are now.

* Not an original idea. David Hume expressed similar arguments in his essay Of Taxes in 1756, as did fellow Scottish economist Adam Smith, twenty years later. But even they weren’t entirely original.

Businesses are migrating to lower tax regimes and so are individuals. Of course, this all takes time, but make no mistake, people aren’t happy to offer government a blank cheque book.

Once presented with unreasonable taxes people start to avoid them, both legally through avoidance and illegally through evasion.