Wednesday 10 February 2010

Half way to being the new Robin Hood

There's a great moment in Blackadder the Third in which Baldrick describes his new hero, The Shadow:
What a man! They say he's half way to being the new Robin Hood... he steals from the rich, but he hasn't gone round to giving it to the poor yet.
Tax burden
This was my first thought on hearing of the new Robin Hood tax campaign; which it is suggested would be the first tax in history that wasn't somehow passed on to the consumer. Such a thing isn't possible, the market will always adjust, but the trouble is that in this country the consumer is also a sucker; probably believing there really is a big stack of unused cash ready to be spent on good causes. This is to say nothing of his gullibility as to the causes that any revenue will support – in reality existing expenditure would get cut to zero as soon as this new source of funding was secured.

Whilst we may not be the customers of the proposed targets, the market has an astonishing ability to pass on the cost, from institution to institution, all the way down a chain of which we're at the bottom. It would be more efficient to prop up the banks with less of our money and tax us directly rather than indulge in all this smoke and mirrors; but then even the suckers would know what was going on.