Alistair Darling had a chance to start to repair the nation's finances for the future. But he blew it, writes Madsen Pirie.
Digital Dirigisme, which responds to the government’s Digital Britain report, attacks the proposals for ‘industrial activism’ in the communications sector, and lays out its own vision for a highly competitive, enterprise-driven industry based on a clear framework of property rights and strengthened privacy protection. The report also calls for the phased privatization of the BBC, and the eventual abolition of the TV licence fee.
In The Economics of Tax Competition – Harmonization vs. Liberalization Daniel J. Mitchell argues that the arguments surrounding tax competition are ultimately a debate about the size of government. Harmonization means higher tax rates and bigger government: freed from the rigour of competition, politicians would cater to special interests and resist fiscal reforms. By contrast, tax competition provides a much-needed check on the growth of government, and encourages pro-growth tax reform.
In Tax Competition – How tax havens help the poor Richard Teather argues that tax competition brings benefits to all of society, not just to those that directly take advantage of it. By encouraging lower taxes and allowing greater efficiency in capital markets, tax competition encourages economic growth, the benefits of which often fall to the least well off. The unemployed are more able to find jobs as the economy expands, while low-paid jobs are made more productive (and therefore valuable) by increased investment.
The bloated expense claims by BBC personnel provides further evidence that the broadcaster cannot be trusted to handle taxpayers' cash, argues Madsen Pirie.
Tom Papworth sets out how to solve the looming pensions crisis.
In Knaves and Fawkes: Should we reform Parliament or just blow it up? Tim Ambler and Keith Boyfield argue that Parliament should re-assert its role as the UK's primary legislative authority and as the place where ministers are called to account. They suggest that parliamentary time should be better allocated so as to give better attention to EU legislation and legislative statutory instruments, and that all regulators should be accountable to House of Commons select committees, not the government. Under their plans, the overall number of MPs would be reduced, but new "assistant MPs" would be empowered to deal directly with government departments on behalf of MPs' constituents.
The Government is overcautious about the risks not just from paedophiles but from all aspects of modern life.
Technological advances, not "live more simply" environmentalism, will deliver a greener planet.