Whig

President Obama's definition of fairness is precisely the opposite

Written by | Wednesday 25 January 2012

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for higher taxes on the wealthy (defined as anyone who earns more than he thinks they ought to). He argued that "Now, you can call this class warfare all you want... But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense." We all know that ‘common sense’ is an oxymoron. Let’s consider Obama’s logic with a purely hypothetical example:

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Immigrant benefit claims are an argument against the welfare state, not an argument against immigration

Written by | Friday 20 January 2012

Research released by the Department for Work and Pensions reveals that an estimated 371,000 non-UK nationals were claiming work-related benefits when they first registered for a NI number. Sir Andrew Green of Migration watch was quick to use this as a means to lobby for stricter controls on immigration.

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Return on investment for government projects

Written by | Sunday 15 January 2012

One of the principal claims made to support various government projects is that they will offer a positive return on investment (RoI). From one perspective, levels of RoI are scrutinised as part of the cost/benefit analysis and consultation process on major projects and form part of the ‘business case’ for such projects (presumably the term ‘business case’ is used to distinguish such discussion from non-financial issues  involved in any project). The same is true when subsidies are given.

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Hands off!

Written by | Wednesday 11 January 2012

Whilst most of the coverage of the PIP breast implants story has been rather puerile – if they had been in men or a rather less exciting body part I doubt the story would have gained much traction – there are some serious issues at stake.

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The British Social Attitudes Survey makes for miserable reading

Written by | Thursday 8 December 2011

The 28th British Social Attitudes Survey was released yesterday. Whilst it is important not to read too much into survey data they do reflect many interesting attitudes and changes in attitudes. Commentators have been quick to suggest that the results show ‘the public’ (i.e. the respondents) are less willing to pay more taxes to support the welfare state.

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The Leveson Inquiry should not advocate statutory regulation of the press

Written by | Friday 25 November 2011

The Leveson Inquiry recently began taking evidence into the role of the press and police in the phone hacking scandal. Whilst the police role in the scandal is an important one – and says a great deal about the problems of a state-run police force – the potential threat to press freedom is far greater.

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The Church of England is barking up the wrong tree

Written by | Thursday 24 November 2011

pauls

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Fat taxes won’t prevent people getting fat, fatheads

Written by | Wednesday 9 November 2011

fatboyResearch released last week suggested that people in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland should follow an ‘English’ diet to reduce levels of obesity. Fair enough, but unfortunately they also recommended imposing this diet by taxing fatty foods.

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The proper functions of trade unions

Written by | Thursday 3 November 2011

cuts

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Leviathan is swallowing the voluntary sector

Written by | Monday 31 October 2011

According to the Charities Aid Foundation the UK is one of the most generous countries in the world for charitable giving. The UK has a large and very diverse voluntary sector with an income of £55 billion this year. Worryingly, charities are increasingly being co-opted into the apparatus of the state and being turned into dirigiste organisations reliant upon and supportive of state aid.

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