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Tax is a hot topic just now.

In recent weeks, tax has become hotter than ever as s topic for discussion. That the quality of public debate is so poor is disappointing, but only to be expected. It ought to be obvious that different taxes have different effects but this seems not to be much appreciated either by politicians, journalists or the general public. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding applies all the way across the political spectrum. What remains to be grasped is the idea that there can be the wrong sort of taxes, and the wrong sort of tax cuts and tax rises.

We are plagued with the wrong sort of taxes. We have got to the point that almost all legal economic activity is punished with hefty fines and penalties of ever increasing complexity. Just keeping going the ramshackle structure that passes for a tax system ties down an army of the more skilled and competent people in the country, who themselves could be engaged in genuine wealth creation instead of bean counting and whatever is the electronic version of paper pushing.

What can be done about this lack of understanding? Perhaps the most constructive approach is to trace out the precise chain of cause-and-effect, leading to the damage that this plethora of the wrong sort of taxes is doing. At least this could prepare the ground for a wider acceptance that land value tax offers a way out of the morass. We have attempted to do this with pieces such as Employers’ Burden and The Dead Loss of VAT.