Semantic stupidity

Osborne gave Balls a good hiding..

Fairness?  Hmm… not sure what that means. I actually thought the Poll Tax was fair, on paper.

The right thing” – shades of Gordon Brown. Yuk.

Really, these terms are quite meaningless, soon to be joined by regressive v progressive. The Coalition need to get a grip before this drivel becomes the defining judgement.

Already the Institute for Fiscal Studies has decided, now that all the lazy hacks have deified its analyses – as well as numerous politicians, when it suits them –  that it will not only provide  a factual analysis of economic policy, but will chuck in a dollop of moral judgement too.

Well, who’s “right” depends on who’s talking.

If I, as a higher rate victim pay more dosh than a lowly-paid nurse, then I’ve contributed more, by any of the standard measures of accounting, than said nurse. Has it hurt me less? Possibly, depending on my outgoings. Possibly it’s hurt me more though. Measuring everything through the prism of a percentage is not how we do anything else in the real world, or I’d be paying £10 for a gallon of petrol, unlike my nurse colleague.

Similarly George Osborne’s statement on cuts, whilst generally lauded as at least he’s doing something, was criticised for the manner of its delivery – too confident, too “political”, not caring enough etc.

Eh??? Is this really what it’s all about now?

Two essential posts on this. Firstly, Guido in serious mode, pointing out exactly what being in the lowest decile means in reality, and why we should avoid basing policy on a meaningless statistic

Secondly, The Institute of Economic Affairs on the logical result of being “progressive”, or communism, as it used to be known.

In the absence of a defining narrative of his own, expect Alan Johnson to witter on in this vein, with a  dash of Ballsoid tax n’ spend.

Meanwhile, in the real world the electorate seem not too upset by Osborne. Funny that.

One thought on “Semantic stupidity

  1. Guido didn’t get it right – a large minority of the “bottom decile” are far from poor – just look at the amount that they pay in Employers NI for their servants/employees or in stamp duty on purchase of (pretty expensive) houses.
    The bottom decile as defined by New Labour over the protests of the ONS includes “investment bankers” on “gardening leave” and rich students living in flats (while ignoring poorer ones in halls of residence) and since the EFS Survey ignores redundancy payments and student grants (and misses one-third of tax credits because many of those surveyed diod not think of them as taxable income) it is is not that surprising that the bottom decile allegedly spends more on VAT-rated items – i.e. excluding food, rent, public transport and children’s clothes – than its alleged total income

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