13 years of Labour rule has ground into the pores of most of the electorate the notion that to levy taxes to ‘provide services’ is a moral imperative and a virtue in itself. Yet it has to be seen that a government that confiscates a very large proportion of the earnings of individuals and firms is itself guilty of grave moral turpitude unless compelling justification exists. It is no answer to claim that ‘fairness’ justifies expropriation of earnings since there is no ethical ground that confers on government a higher claim than its peoples to determine their social and moral priorities.
The justification for government action and taxation – simply stated – is that the State should only do what the State alone can do. This requires reflection to appreciate its implications. For example, applying this notion means that the State should cease to be the provider of education – now State dominated for 93% of the electorate. Nor should the State arrogate to itself the role of the near monopoly provider of health services. Applying this test it will be seen that pension and old age provision fall outside its remit. Subsidies for things that politicians approve of and taxes on those they do not approve are no part of the proper role of the State.
The State has a duty to raise taxes but only to fulfil its role of doing what only the State can do. This means that defence, internal security and justice, police, border control must be the prime duties of the State. Furthermore the State, through Parliament, should be the provider – by means of taxation – of funds to assist those who are unable financially to afford education, health and old age provision, without retaining any control over such services but with minimum standards. A safety net must be spread for those who cannot or will not provide for themselves ensuring minimum provision of what is essential.
Such a radical change in the role of the State will mean that these services will be provided at vastly greater cost/benefit and also that taxation will fall to levels that may enable us, by work, innovation and enterprise, to free ourselves from the ‘slough of despond’ into which we have been cast by Brown. Let us recall that in the 1980’s Ronald Reagan reduced marginal tax rates by 25 per cent across the board. The top tax rate was cut from 70 per cent – yes 70% – to 28 per cent. Yet tax revenues from the ‘rich’ and the share of total income tax paid by them increased. It is only by cutting taxes and getting people into work that we will recover our confidence and prosperity.
For UKIP this has a special significance. We seek to restore to our country the power to determine our destinies. It would be a tragedy if having succeeded in clawing back our sovereignty we do not also ensure that the State retreats to allow us to determine our futures at home.