VAT’s the way this government likes it….
Today VAT went up and the floodgates opened releasing a pent-up tidal wave of drivel. Close to top of the pops was the desperate claim by ‘ToryPressHQ’ that Alistair Darling restoring VAT to its original level following a temporary cut constituted a ‘VAT Rise’. If you want to be annoyingly pedantic then technically it might be true but it obscures the ‘other truth’ that this was preceaded by a reduction. The Spin Wizards at CCHQ would have been far better advised to comment on Darling’s idiotic insistence that were he still tormenting the country with his expansive eye-brows (and dreadful economics) as Chancellor of the Exchequer he would have raised VAT in any case. No doubt Ed Miliband would retort this is why Darling is not Shadow Chancellor but Alan Johnson would probably have done what Darling would have because he simply isn’t capable of an original economic thought; this requiring, as it does much more economic knowledge than he can pick up from the back of a cereal packet.
Not far behind (as always) were the Liberal Democrats with the mind-bending claim that a VAT rise is somehow progressive. Watch my lips (or at least read my words). NO IT ISN’T. Income tax though hardly being ideal does at least have the virtue of bearing some relation to what you actually earn and therefore being related to your ability to actually pay the tax. VAT isn’t so kind and doesn’t discriminate. It also has the baleful influence of exerting an upwards pressure on prices (not just of affected goods) at a time when this government is enforcing wage freezes (real terms cuts) across the board in the public sector. VAT can only be presented as progressive by people who are simply incapable of ‘joined-up’ economics; you know, people like Alan Johnson.
Quite simply the mind boggles when it comes to the Lib Dems. You cant help but think that if Nick Clegg and David Cameron decided fascism was a good idea they would expend a great amount of effort trying to paint it in ‘fair’ and ‘progressive’ colours. I know I will get the IFS ‘report’ thrown at me now; to which I have only this to say. Isn’t it funny how when the IFS agrees with the Lib Dems it’s a totem of economic wisdom and virtue and when it doesn’t it’s the devil incarnate? Notice incidentally in the link provided how Cathy Newman stretches credulity to its limit by claiming the ‘IFS has no agenda’. Channel 4, you disappoint me.
VAT has nothing to recommend it as a tax (much like the Liberal Democrats have nothing left to recommend them as a political party). It should be abolished (as should the Lib Dems, democratically of course, by being massacred at the polls) because it’s yet another stick with which this government is enjoying beating us all and especially the poor and VAT’s why they like it so much…..