While I appreciate the argument – in Mark Speeks’s article on Friday – that the poor don’t fuel the economy, I think the piece underestimates the benefits of reducing their tax burden.
It is short-sighted to think any additional income for the poor will be spent on groceries. Like all of us, the poor expect certain things to be part of their standard of living – increasing their income would help the economy.
Also, recent reports suggest that the 50p tax rate might actually cost the Treasury money. If this is proven to be true, then the coalition government have scope to both remove the 50p tax rate and reduce the amount of tax payable by the poor. This would be politically, economically and socially compelling.
Watt a mistake
What a pity James Watt has been chosen to appear on the new £50 note. Far from being the brilliant inventor that is commonly imagined, Watt was the original “patent troll”, devoting decades of his life to the pursuit of frivolous lawsuits against would-be innovators. His invention was just a refinement of other peoples ideas.
Intellectual property laws tend to grant monopolies over ideas, causing wasteful litigation and restraining innovation.
So perhaps it is appropriate that Watt’s face should grace another unnecessary government monopoly – inflationary fiat money.