Listen to the arguments on financial transaction taxes

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Loved by the good | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC.

Nigel Stanley has, as I have before, waded into the debate on financial transaction taxes and the anti-union diatribe being pursued about it by Giles Wilkes on the Lib Dem (and seriously pro-free market) Freethinking Economist blog.

As Nigel says, much of the criticism of what we have had to say has been aimed at straw men - things we have not said.

As he also says, those who seek to make this a union bashing issue (as Giles seems wont to do, unfortunately) also miss the point, the TUC plays but a small part in this.

And those who seek to say it's a one trick pony are also wrong. Nigel says:

Given our work on tax avoidance and evasion at the TUC, I don’t think anyone would accuse us of going soft on tax dodging. Our work – and that of groups like Christian Aid and Tax Justice - has helped put this on the policy map.

Quite so.

I think Nigel correctly concludes, peeling off many layes of the oinion when doing so:

The RHT is therefore an indirect tax that firstly targets the institutions that did most to cause the crash and who have made super-profits, and secondly, is a progressive indirect tax that is hard to evade. It can make a significant, though only partial, contribution to finding the funds we need to avoid cuts, meet the Milennium Development Goals and tackle climate change.

That is how it should be judged, and while I have rarely been involved in a campaign where I didn’t squirm a little at some of the arguments of allies, that is what I happily endorse.

Giles has argued very well that now is not the time to make spending cuts as that will risk recovery, but I suspect that when it comes to dealing with the structural deficit – he is mainly a cutter, while we are mainly progressive taxers.

I have a strong suspiscion that is true.

And Nigel's words are wise.

Disclosure: I've known Nigel for many years. I have never knowingly met Giles Wilkes. I advise the TUC, including on financial transaction taxes.