The Financial Times: specious
There’s a characteristically good editor’s letter in City AM today on Tax Freedom Day.
CONGRATULATIONS: you’ve just started to work for yourself. Today is tax freedom day, the day when Britons stop working for the chancellor and start working for themselves. The Adam Smith Institute has calculated that for the first 149 days of the year, every penny earned by the average UK resident will be taken by the government in tax. This year’s tax freedom day falls two days later than it did in 2011; net tax hikes mean the government is taking a larger share of our hard-earned income than before. That remains true despite the chancellor’s humiliating and confusing partial u-turn on the pasty and caravan taxes last night.
For comparative purposes, I thought I’d see what Britain’s leading financial journal – The Financial Times – had to say about the world. I alighted on a comment article by Brian Groom, who was busily agonising in the Notebook section about the Beecroft report.
It began with a bold claim:
“Notebook is all for a flexible labour market…”
This wasn’t remotely borne out by the rest of the article, which was mostly dedicated to worrying about all those poor, poor people who might lose their jobs if Beecroft were implemented and where they’d find work.
It sought to undermine Beecroft with lofty – but actually when you think about it utterly specious – pronouncements like:
Indeed, the Beecroft report offers no evidence that hiring would be boosted by the move.
It earnestly trotted out the same statistics you hear quoted on the BBC and in the Guardian and by lefty employment lawyers “proving” that actually Britain’s labour markets are incredibly flexible and have no need of reform.
The UK has (after the US and jointly with Canada) the second most liberal hire-and-fire rules among 34 developed nations, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – unchanged for at least a decade. But debate still rages about whether looser rules would boost jobs.
Now, of course, there are two sides to every argument. My beef here is with the side that the FT has chosen – and pretty much always chooses – to take. It is not on the side of the entrepreneur, the small business employer or free markets generally. Rather, it is on the side of the status quo, of labour laws, of regulation, of big corporations, of money-printing, of Keynesianism, of compliance, of bureaucracy, of technocracy, of high taxes, of the global warming scam, of rent-seeking, of the European Union. Cycle past the Pink Un’s offices, as I did the other day, and you see, dangling limply outside, not the Union flag but the EU flag.
The Financial Times was founded in 1888 and has an international circulation of over 337,000.
City AM is a freesheet, founded in 2005, has a circulation – mainly in the City – of over 110,000.
Will both papers be there in 2088?
Well, I bloody hope not. If a well-educated alien from Von Mises University on the Planet Economor were to come down to our planet and examine what passes for Britain’s leading financial newspaper he would be baffled beyond measure. “Your economy’s stuffed!” he’d go. “You borrow too much. Your welfare spending is too high. Your markets are overregulated. Business is weighed down with red tape. The European Union is a basket case which should be split up. The Euro is a joke. And what is the paper of choice of your economic governing class? Why, the one that urges you to carry on making all the mistakes you’ve been making for the last five decades….”
I’ve seen the future and it definitely ain’t pink.
Or if it is, we’re even more doomed than I feared.