Skip to main content

Piketty still hasn’t a clue

Piketty still hasn’t a clue. His comments in today’s Observercalling for international action, demonstrate the point. The Observer itself is worse, with a call for United Nations action in a piece headed, The Observer view on how to clean up a squalid world financial mess.

Both pieces appear in the Observer/Guardian’s section laughably called “Comment is free”, I say laughably because most of the articles in the section are not open for comment. Free comment closed down several weeks ago, presumably because the newspapers’ pro-EU stance and advocacy of open-door immigration policies are met with a chorus of derisive and usually well-argued comments demolishing the authors’ arguments.

As far as the tax avoidance issue is concerned, there is no excuse for missiing the point because the Guardian itself published a piece, referred to on this website earlier in the weeek, that catalogued prime London residential property owned by offshore funds. If there was any real desire to deal with the problem, the hand-wringers would be arguing for increased taxes on property which is not going to be taken off to any tax haven anywhere; a simple way to pick up a bit of the lost tax would  be through reform of Council Tax bands, including a national component which could be used to boost the revenue of local authorities in places where property values bump along the bottom and are untouched by any boom. I am not advocating this but it would be a move in the right direction and go a little way towards dealing with the problem. One might expect the hand-wringers to come up with some such suggestion. That they do not indicates either that they are incapable of joining-up their thinking or that the whole thing is humbug.

You might ask why bother to visit The Guardian’s news website at all? Occasionally it comes up with a few nuggets, but the main thing in its favour is that most of the better British newspapers – the FT, Times and Daily Telegraph – have put themselves behind paywalls. That makes it pointless to link to any articles in them as visitors to this web site will not be able to read them unless they themselves are subscribers.