38.56% is apparently a magical number

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I noticed all the garbage about tax freedom day last week, which is in fact an attack on society as we currently structure it. I thought I should add some objective data to the nonsense that the Adam Smith Institute and others on the far-right publish on this.

I recently did an analysis of tax paid during Gordon Brown's years as Chancellor using IFS data on tax paid and Treasury information on GDP. Put the two together and during Gordon Brown's ten year tenure of 11 Downing Street the aggregate average proportion of GDP paid as tax has been 38.56%.

During the ten previous years when the Conservatives were in office the aggregate average proportion of GDP paid as tax was 38.56%. You read that right. To the second decimal place the figures are the same.

Three things come from this:

1) Those who argue for substantial tax cuts are arguing for a fundamental change in our society, not just an alternative government.

2) There is a consensus in our society that accepts that tax is due and beneficial

3) Much (but not all) of what has been written about Gordon Brown's chancellorship is wrong.