Sunday, April 27, 2008

ASI on LPUK

Those fine people at the Adam Smith Institute have evidently been trawling through the Libertarian Party manifesto with some care, and produced as elegant a primer as one might wish to see.
Now they are beginning to assemble a very credible programme that would see the reduction of the size of the state and a restoration of individual responsibility.

The first highlighted manifesto policy is the abolition of personal income tax. It is a well thought through and well argued for piece of legislation that the LP would seek to introduce in the second year of them being in power and would finally, after 200+ years, rid us of this 'temporary' tax. This is the cornerstone of their economic programme which would also see them lower corporation tax to 10%, abolish IHT and CGT, the replacement of VAT with a national sales tax and Council Tax replaced with a local sales tax. As well as the strengthening of the Bank of England's independence they would also reduce government borrowing to zero and abolish the minimum wage. All very sound libertarian actions to take to drive an economy forward and free the market.

The manifesto is steeped in the notion of the rule of law which encompasses property rights, due process, equality and transparency. It outlines broad swathes of policy and the party's initial ideas concerning what action needs to be taken to free people from the dead hand of the state. Highlights include an end to the state monopolies in health and education, the former through a move to an insurance-based system the latter through a move to a Swedish style voucher system (similar to the one we covered here), a return to a more responsive and local police force, a localised planning system, a review of EU/UN membership and the removal of the welfare state hammock.

Yes, that is a pretty fair summary of our initial plans for making this country great again; now we have to be able to present those policies to the entire country and find the funds to put up candidates.

This latter point is going to be interesting as we have pledged not to take donations from companies, only individuals: will our unwillingness to be bought by special interests pay a dividend, as it were, in trust or will it just leave us in the wilderness?
They are turning into a very well organized political party with appealing policies, so keep an eye on them. They may well surprise people in a few years time!

Well, let us hope so. Whatever, we are in for the long haul...

16 comments:

Kit said...

But what about the National Insurance tax?

Devil's Kitchen said...

Kit,

With the abolition of the NHS, etc. why would we need NICs?

DK

Kit said...

Just asking;)It just seems odd that LPUK makes no mention of it in their manifesto.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Kit,

The reason for that is because whether the health insurance contributions, etc. should be compulsory (e.g. France) or not is still under discussion.

Obviously, we would prefer them not to be but some people feel that some of the less... er... shall we say "nimble-minded" of society might not then take out any insurance voluntarily.

Obviously, if it were compulsory, it would bear some resemblance to NICs. Except, of course, like Switzerland, you would pay the money to the insurer of your choice (which you can choose and change as desired) but it would not -- repeat, not -- be paid the government under any circumstances. Ever.

DK

Rory Meakin said...

"Obviously, we would prefer them not to be but some people feel that some of the less... er... shall we say "nimble-minded" of society might not then take out any insurance voluntarily."

I hate to quibble with such a sound proposition in general, but isn't the freedom not to do something the whole point of, well, freedom? Could I suggest that perhaps the real reason is that some of the less "nimble minded" simply cannot stomach the idea that people should be permitted to make the wrong choice (in their judgement) as to health insurance?

Devil's Kitchen said...

Rory,

You are quite correct. However, one then has the problem of what to do with them when they become ill; obviously, I believe that charities will spring up to fill this void, but some are less convinced.

Even were the insurance to be compulsory, this would only be an interim measure.

People have fallen out of the habit of giving to charity because they believe that the state covers all needs: we need to reverse this mode of thinking as much as anything, and that's not an overnight job.

DK

Nick said...

Treat people like adults and (mostly) they will act like adults. There are some people who will never grow up and take personal responsibility for their actions (or inactions), there are also those, who through bad luck, fall on hard times. That is what charity is for and each of us, as individuals, can decide what we believe are deserving causes and make voluntary donations.

I have great faith in the charitable nature of most people and, given a low (or no) tax environment I believe that charities would actually receive more money than they currently do through the coercion of gevernment.

Matt M said...

Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere, but does the LPUK have a position on the teaching of creationism, etc. in schools?

Would it just be a case of letting schools teach what they wanted, or would there be some kind of minimal requirement for schools to teach basic critical skills and information?

Roger Thornhill said...

Matt m,

What is important to remember is that anyone will be able to open a school. This will create a surplus of places. People who do not want to have their kids taught Cretinism can then send their kids to a school that does not.

I suspect a few schools will be formed to teach Cretinism but unlike now where "faith" schools are sought after as refuges of the 3R's and discipline, once schools are freed from the lunacy of State/Educationalist diktat, that USP will become common currency.

Matt M said...

People who do not want to have their kids taught Cretinism can then send their kids to a school that does not.

Thanks, Roger.

But it was the children themselves rather than the parents I was thinking about - What about the ones put in schools built around religious indoctrination by heavily religious parents? Such schools would serious impede the development of critical and rational thinking in its students.

In the long-term these schools would probably (hopefully) be weeded out of the system, as more and more parents saw the benefits of getting their children into schools providing a decent education in science, etc. but what about the damage caused in the short-term? And what about the damage done to children of parents in fundamentalist religious groups who reject modern knowledge about the world and human beings as immoral - the ones who don't want to their children to get a serious education?

Kit said...

matt m,
As soon as you set yourself up as the arbiter of what is right for other peoples children you are on a very slippery slope.
Personally I am very relaxed about children being brought up with a different belief system to my own and would certainly not call them "damaged". After all a religious education was the norm only a few generations ago and we turned out ok;)

Anonymous said...

with regards to the abolition of NICs, it may be prudent to ring-fence sales tax revenues for a future investment fund for the care of the elderly, what with changing demographics and all that.

surely a libertarian society would not be against looking after those who have worked hard all their lives?

Matt M said...

Kit,

As soon as you set yourself up as the arbiter of what is right for other peoples children you are on a very slippery slope.

I know.

But surely a child has certain rights as well?

I have no real issue with a religiously-focused education. As you point out, many people have had one and suffer few if any problems because of it. I had to sing hymns at school and still managed to turn out an atheist.

But there are undeniably some groups out there that, if given the chance, would seek to indoctrinate their children and use every means necessary to turn them away from thinking independently about the world. Would you be happy with schools that spent every day teaching children that Communism was the only acceptable political/economic model and that anyone who didn't hate capitalism was immoral and selfish? What about an education focused entirely on memorising the Qu'ran in Arabic?

I'm entirely sympathetic to the idea of independent schools. But without some kind of minimum standard I think there's huge potential to damage a lot of individuals ability to reason and think for themselves. A purely free-market system (as apparently advocated in the LPUK manifesto) would be open to abuse by irrational individuals looking to impose their prejudices and distorted worldview on their children.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Anon,

"with regards to the abolition of NICs, it may be prudent to ring-fence sales tax revenues for a future investment fund for the care of the elderly, what with changing demographics and all that."

Yes, we would have to commit to that. It is managing the transition that is difficult. And the longer that this goes on, the more difficult the transition will be.

DK

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the manifesto so don't know whether this is covered therein but wouldn't you have to leave the EU before you could e.g. abolish vat?

Roger Thornhill said...

Anon, we would do what is necessary to sort out the UK. If the EU is cool about that, we are cool about it. If it thinks it has sovereignty over a democratically elected government of the UK, it will have a shock. We will not proactively ask to leave, for that is to recognise their authority to decide if we can or cannot, but being thrown out is a possibility if they are immature about it.