Funny bits of TPA report you probably missed


11:02 am - May 22nd 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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You thought the Taxpayers Alliance report from yesterday was all about reducing taxes, attracting women and quoting the Bible didn’t you?

You thought wrong, buster.

Unlike 99% of journalists I actually took some time to scan through the long, rambling, incoherent and ideologically dogmatic booklet.

Here are five amusing bits I spotted.

1) The Qu’ran makes an appearance too, and contradicts TPA philosophy (pg 99):

Islam recognises private property and discourages the excessive accumulation of wealth by a minority group in society. In his farewell pilgrimage, the Prophet of Islam said that “O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners.”

Well I suppose they could always quote the Bible to justify a smaller state. Oh wait…

2) Cornelius Vanderbilt, an entrepreneur from the 1800s makes an extended appearance (pg 91):

He began at the age of 16, with $100 borrowed from his parents, by running a sailing ferry from New York to Staten Island, charging far less than rivals. He then undercut the New Jersey state-protected monopoly steamboat line, running his boat the Bellona with the slogan “New Jersey must be free” flying from the masthead.

He operated a series of steamboat ferries to Philadelphia and up the Hudson, charging one-quarter of rival fares. Finally, he turned to running railways more cheaply than his rivals. He delivered to consumers an enormous benefit that would otherwise have eluded them – affordable transport. Here is what Harper’s Weekly had to say about his steam ships in 1859…

Very interesting, I’m sure. There’s more too… don’t ask why.

3) Sexual Jealousy is apparently behind everything (pg 92).

So no wonder we dislike inequality. No wonder we want tax to take that money off a Vanderbilt before he grabs all the best women. In the end, it is not necessarily because we think he stole it, though there are still a plenty of zero-sum Marxists out there, and it’s not because we think the government is better at spending it, though there are still plenty of demand-managing Keynesians out there; and it’s not even because we think tax is a decent redistribution system – who can really think that when confronted with all the middle-class benefits that flow from the taxpayer? No, it’s at least partly plain old sexual jealousy at the root.

Ermmmm… ok!

4) “Provocative” author is how one of the contributors Matt Ridley is listed as. He has written books on evolution, genetics and society.

Matt Ridley is also a known climate change denier, who has been taken to task for getting some basic facts wrong in a book on the subject

Not really surprising that the TPA is working with climate-change deniers. And yet they try and take the high moral ground on getting all the facts right.

5) Self interest groups are bad! That’s according to the report itself (pg 126).

That fits with Olson’s argument in The Logic of Collective Action that more concentrated special interests are better able to organise and lobby, at the expense of the latent majority’s interests.

As a result of the logic of collective action, countries with more active special interest groups tend to grow more slowly.

I think it’s rational to describe the TPA as a self-interested lobby group that works at the expense of the majority, right?

As Rick Perry would say: “Ooops”.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. Chaise Guevara

“No, it’s at least partly plain old sexual jealousy at the root.”

Never attempt amateur psychology without protection.

“Provocative author” Matt Ridley was also chairman of Northern Rock when it was the first business to go under in the recent unfortunate events. Clearly he is a financial genius, on whose every word about tax we should hang.

One of the Commissioners is one Martin Durkin, he of the hilariously bad and misleading “Great Global Warming Swindle” and the scaremongering “Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story” in which he urges Britain to copy, er, Hong Kong.

4. Robin Levett

@BenM #3:

One of the Commissioners is one Martin Durkin, he of the hilariously bad and misleading “Great Global Warming Swindle” and the scaremongering “Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story” in which he urges Britain to copy, er, Hong Kong.

Which will make SMFS’s arrival defending his ideological soulmate hilarious – or it will when someone points out that Durkin is a Marxist; and then stands back and watches him collapse into a fugue state as his love of global warming denialism goes to war with his horror of any political position to the left of Chingis Khan’s and inability to distinguish between labels and positions.

5. Just Visiting

Robin

Are saying Martin Durkin is a Marxist? And in the TPA ?

6. Robin Levett

@Just Visiting #5:

Are saying Martin Durkin is a Marxist? And in the TPA ?

Well, he says he’s a Marxist…

Durkin says he was a Marxist. That was, I’d guess, back in the days when the police and MI5 thought Marxist parties like the Revolutionary Communist Party needed an eye keeping on them, as closely as possible. Pure coincidence of timing, I’m sure; he would have been completely sincere about whatever he said and belonged to. Since he’s been making <a href="http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/the_great_martin_durkin_swindle&quot; libertarian documentaries for 15 years, it’s fair to assume that’s his real ideology.

8. So Much For Subtlety

4. Robin Levett

Which will make SMFS’s arrival defending his ideological soulmate hilarious – or it will when someone points out that Durkin is a Marxist; and then stands back and watches him collapse into a fugue state as his love of global warming denialism goes to war with his horror of any political position to the left of Chingis Khan’s and inability to distinguish between labels and positions.

Why would it be hilarious? Of course Marxists were the great techno-optimists. They had little time for this sort of environmental nonsense until they collapsed. That some of them should still deny global warming is not a surprise. Especially as the evidence for it is so weak. I have no problems with the idea that on some issues, I might stand on the same side as a Marxist. God knows Living Marxism has evolved into something weird that gets published even in the Telegraph.

However Durkin is probably an ex-Marxist. I find myself in agreement with quite a few of those. So did Thatcher.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1527400/Sir-Alfred-Sherman.html

Perhaps you would do well to spare us the childish projection and fantasies about what I think and actually address the issues? Which in this case are a little lame. The TPA has produced a document. Rather than engaging with it all we are getting is some pathetic sniggering about a few minor passages taken out of context. Brilliant.

As for Genghiz Khan, as a believer in collectivisation, at least of punishment, open borders, the redistribution of wealth from the haves (mostly urban people) to the have-nots (ie Mongols), firm opposition to capitalism and markets, the use of forced labour and so on, he stands pretty much further to the Left even of LC.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Five amusing bits from TPA report you likely missed http://t.co/rDdqhQ3L

  2. Jason Brickley

    Five amusing bits from TPA report you likely missed http://t.co/1wpT2I0N

  3. Current Account

    Added to the three extra ones found by @libcon (http://t.co/dUVVs448) that makes nine. Surely there're more to come?

  4. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Five amusing bits from TPA report you likely missed http://t.co/IGJmaxPu

  5. Jerry Chambers

    Five amusing bits from TPA report you likely missed | Liberal … http://t.co/VKFboOOe

  6. Valerie Chambers

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  7. sunny hundal

    According to TPA report "concentrated special interests" are bad and can lobby at the expense of majority http://t.co/12MhyvnO tell the TPA!

  8. Ben Bruges

    Five amusing bits from TPA report you likely missed http://t.co/rDdqhQ3L

  9. Arrest the Bankers

    According to TPA report "concentrated special interests" are bad and can lobby at the expense of majority http://t.co/12MhyvnO tell the TPA!

  10. Marie Paludan

    You know the TPA report that quotes Bible & has tips on picking up women?
    Five other amusing bits you probably missed http://t.co/BKgX7Xdp

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  14. Warren Niblock

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    Funny Bits of Taxpayer's Alliance Report You Probably Missed. http://t.co/s1IeKxMc via @libcon

  18. Seemy Ty96

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  19. Abiyomi Kofi

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