Abolishing income tax makes them seem off the map. The reaction to this, their first policy is going to beHahhhahahhhahhahhhahhah
however well thought out it is.
Possibly. But then, if we just get people thinking about it, that will be a good thing. The usefulness of income tax is that it was introduced not too long ago and for a specific purpose: to fight the Napoleonic Wars.
It was abolished in 1802, having been in force for three years, and had to be levied again in 1803: again, because hostilities against France recommenced. It was abolished in 1816, a year after we won the Battle of Waterloo, and wasn't levied again until 1841, when Sir Robert Peel reintroduced it.
Peel, as a Conservative, had opposed income tax in the 1841 general election, but a growing budget deficit required a new source of funds.
Or, to put it another way, the government had been so profligate with its funds that it was forced to take more money off the hard-working people of Britain so that the state could continue to expand. Who would have thunk it?—a state, unable to balance its books, shakes down the taxpayers in order to pay for the state's failure. I've never heard of that being done before...
Some people, of course, have said that the state didn't need income tax then because it was much smaller. My reply?
And a replacement: local sales tax is ridiculous - tax competition between counties would be extremely unpopular. Just look at the reactions to "postcode lotteries" in health and education, imagine what it would be like if there were major differences in the cost of living - Labour shit-holes would have high taxes and the poorest would be unable to go to the next town. Think "Poll-tax" but with extra anger.
This entirely misses the point. The problem with pricing services according to the so-called postcode lottery is that they are based on where you live. It is difficult to up sticks and move to somewhere more favourable (though it doesn't stop those who can afford it from doing so); it is easy to hop on a bus over the county line to buy cheaper clothes, or stationery, or whatever. People do it all the time.
But so stupid is the idea of funding services at a local level through a local sales tax that this group of utter lunatics have proposed something similar. Direct Democracy are "a movement of MPs, MEPs, activists and candidates committed to making localism the core of the Conservative Party's platform" and who advocate raising almost all funds locally: in fact, the person who convinced me that a local sales tax was feasible—as we were returning home from a stint on 18 Doughty Street—was one Douglas Carswell MP. Indeed, Dave Cameron seems to approve of this group...
"I passionately believe we need to localise power, as recommended by the Direct Democracy movement of Conservative activists and MPs" - David Cameron
But a local sales tax is, according to The Dude, just crazy talk!
Government, even a minarchist one acting in a "night watchman" role needs money.
Indeed it does, and there are many ways in which to raise that money and to do so almost painlessly. Mark Wadsworth talked, quite sensibly, about a Land Value Tax.
At the very least LVT could and should replace all property-related taxes, such as Council Tax, Business Rates, Stamp Duty Land Tax, Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and the TV licence fee, net of Council Tax Benefit and subsidies for agricultural landowners (total net revenues, about £50 bn, or 10% of the UK's total tax receipts).
** The 'single taxers' believe that ultimately, the amount of LVT that would be collected (whether you call it ground-rent or call it tax is by-the-by) would be sufficient to fund all State spending - including welfare - so all other taxes could be abolished. This would be a feudal system with redistribution, so to speak.
But despite all of this, apparently proposing the abolition of income tax is "lunacy".
I would suggest—should our idea be dismissed out of hand—that the problem here is not with our radical policy, but a massive paucity of thinking on the part of others.
UPDATE: I forgot to say that the Dude does make one very good point.
If there is to be a Libertarian party (director of communications - DK), why don't they start with some policies which might have some public traction? Like repealing oppressive legislation such as the criminal offence of "failure to kneel before someone in a high vis vest with intent to be free", or Being "in possession of a beard with intent to be Muslim". Maybe they could suggest that 24 hours is quite long enough for the police to hold anyone without charge, Thank you very much.
To be honest, I think that we got slightly blind-sided here; to us it seems so utterly obvious that we would abolish such illiberal laws that we keep forgetting to mention it. But we will definitely be doing a drive on the civil liberties front.