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Saturday 16 April 2011

Picking On The Poorest – 7

The workings of the pretentiously titled “2020 Tax Commission”, otherwise a convocation of the Institute Of Directors (IOD) and the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) continue, with the stated goal being simplification of the UK tax system. However, recent statements from the TPA suggest that something else is in the sights of this august body.

Yesterday, the TPA issued a piece titledIncentives And The National Minimum Wage” authored by non-job holder Rory Meakin. This argues, after creating a fog of verbiage on the subject of incentives for 21 and 22 year olds in the job market, that the minimum wage should not exist.

Meakin’s exact statement, supposedly put forward as an incentive to get people into work, is “you could stop banning them from selling their labour at a price employers are actually prepared to pay (rather than a price politicians and bureaucrats deem to be “fair”)”. No example of an employer willing to lead the charge against the minimum wage is given.

Meakin then argues “you could reduce the attractiveness of the incentive package you offer in exchange for them not working”, as if living on benefits were on a par with a City banker’s “Golden Hello”. This is in line with the TPA’s previous urging that the Government reduce the poverty line, which I covered last July (See HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE).

And the move against the minimum wage, as I noted at the time, was urged the previous month by the TPA’s so-called “research fellow” Mike Denham, for whom the distress at seeing the least well off getting access to washing machines and refrigerators was clearly too much. That call was on Denham’s own blog, but he was the main author of the “report” calling for the lowering of the poverty line.

Moreover, Meakin’s clear and unequivocal statement shows that the TPA are moving towards a call for the minimum wage to be abolished, as it clearly offends the ideological purity of their economic vision, one in which Alfred Marshall is suspiciously radical, and the idea that mass unemployment can be cured by lowering wages and “clearing the market” is still valid, despite the idea repeatedly failing to work over time.

All that the TPA needs to do is persuade the IOD of their case. The chair of the “2020 Tax Commission”, City AM man Allister Heath, is in any case just another TPA stooge.

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