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Archive for February 2nd, 2010

The bloodsuckers and leeches in the U.K. government are a bit more honest than their counterparts in the United States. Unlike the American revenue-estimating system, which assumes higher tax rates raise revenue, the British bureaucracy admits that the new 50 percent tax rate will raise very little revenue. The UK-based Times reports:

High earners will cost the public purse hundreds of millions of pounds through tax dodges as they avoid the new 50p rate of income tax, a minister indicated yesterday. Lord Myners, the City Minister, said that the Treasury had “significantly reduced” its estimate of the revenue to be earned from the historic change. …Lord Myners told peers that “behavioural consequences of the new higher rate of taxation” — shorthand for tax avoidance — had forced the Treasury to lower its expectations. …Mike Warburton, senior tax adviser at Grant Thornton, one of Britain’s biggest accounting firms, said…“People are taking obvious avoidance measures because they are not prepared to pay 50 per cent tax”…  “People were prepared to pay 40 per cent but the Treasury don’t seem to understand what drives people. The minister has at last admitted that the 50 per cent tax rate was a blatantly political measure and not designed to raise new revenues. This is all to do with the politics of envy.” Lord Myners said that there were “very small numbers of people” who appeared to have moved abroad as a result of the tax change.

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I’m finishing up a swing through Canada, giving speeches for the Fraser Institute to audiences in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto. I’ve been talking about the size of government and the future of capitalism. As you might imagine, several people have asked about the battle in America over government-run healthcare and how the sysetm in the United States today compares to the Canadian system. I make two points. First, I tell tham that America’s health care system already is largely run by government. Obama’s proposal simply increases the level of control from perhaps 70 percent to 80 percent. Second, I tell them that the surviving remnants of a free market in the United States are worth preserving. Politicians have made the American system very cumbersome and expensive, but it is nonetheless the place where people want to be when their lives are on the line. So it’s quite appropriate that this bit of news was just unveiled:

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams is set to undergo heart surgery this week in the United States. CBC News confirmed Monday that Williams, 59, left the province earlier in the day and will have surgery later in the week. The premier’s office provided few details, beyond confirming that he would have heart surgery and saying that it was not necessarily a routine procedure.

Why is it that Canadian politicians come to the United States, but the medical traffic never heads in the other direction? Somebody should ask Obama to provide an answer.

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