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The dog that was not allowed to bark

The Institute of Fiscal Studies is the main sponsor of the Mirrlees Review, chaired by Nobel Laureate Professor Sir James Mirrlees of the University of Cambridge, with the aim of designing what they call “a tax system for the 21st century”. This has generated much detailed work, exposing the detailed impact of the tax system. There is a mass of discussion about the effects, all of them adverse, of different kinds of labour-related taxes but nothing about whether it is right in principle to tax human labour. The format consists of papers and responses. One of the responses to the paper on the taxation of wealth, by Martin Weale of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, comes out strongly in favour of land value taxation, referring to it as “the dog they have not allowed to bark”. It won’t be, but it is reassuring to find the odd supporter in academia.