There is growing concern in the UK, as well as many other Western countries about how fat, bloated and unhealthy their government have become over recent decades. Many analysts put this down to government’s unhealthy addiction to taxation. Many governments, not just in the UK, do seem to think over-gorging themselves on taxation is a way to solve their problems, or, at least, delay those problems until someone else is in charge. However, countless studies by academics and independent think tanks have shown that taxation is highly addictive to governments and that once on the downward spiral of ever-increasing taxation, it is almost impossible for them to break free of the cycle.
Most citizens of a country would like to have a government that uses the money it raises from taxation efficiently, prudently and sparingly. But as history has shown once a government gets the taste for taxation it has to keep either increasing the levels of existing taxation or find other things to tax, from windows to Cornish pasties.
In the past, of course, the main problem with governments was their insistence on making laws, often coming up with complex rules and regulations that only make things worse, and usually with egregious unintended or perverse consequences. As many historians have pointed out, the concept of democracy was originally created to prevent politicians from doing things. Often, the people of a country know when their politicians are starting to get out of hand and elect someone else instead. Naturally, those with any sense do not expect the new lot of politicians to be any better. Most people who bother to vote just hope that they will have a few years of peace while the new lot learn how to do government. But once they start to look as though they will begin introducing new laws or start casting around for new and novel forms of taxation, most voters know it is time for a change.
Some academics with an expertise in government have suggested that governmental taxation should be treated like any other addiction and that politicians, especially those in government, or those in opposition awaiting their turn to be in government, should be weaned off seeing taxation as a panacea for all the county’s problems. But as many more sceptical observers point out, there are only two rules involved in running a government.
1./ If you can’t ban it, tax it.
2./ If you can’t tax it, ban it.
Most politicians believe that these are the only two possible options in government. This applies in opposition too. Whatever the nominal party affiliations, the parties all think the same thing. The only difference between the various parties lies in what they will either ban or tax, with each having their own list of what to tax and ban that they believe will get them the most supporters at the ballot box.
Unfortunately, many ordinary people do not see what a poison tax can be, as long as it is someone else, not them, who pays that tax. Not seeing that it is governmental and political addiction to tax that makes us all poorer in the long run and that humanity really needs to work on finding not only a cure for taxation, but for politics as a whole.