Apr 172009

I’ve been arguing half-heartedly with a soi-disant friend recently about the charitable status of private schools. I teach in one, so I’m hardly a casual (or objective) observer, but his contention is that he shouldn’t have to subsidise tax-breaks for the ‘half-witted children of the rich.’

Which made me ask myself: is the absence of tax the presence of subsidy?

Upon reflection, I think in theory, no. In theory, there are neutral entities which are neither taxed nor subsidised.

But in practice – in a society where every bloody thing you can think of is taxed – yes: not taxing something is, effectively, the same thing as subsidising it.

(Never mind about the private-school argument; my friend is a David-Osler-type student-union whinger-on about class privilege, and logical discourse has no effect on his deeply-held conviction that the rich are eeeeevil.)

The whole question of taxation/subsidy reminds me of that Monty Python sketch wherein the civil servants can’t think of anything new to tax except… one:


  One Response to “Tax and subsidy”

  1. […] and subsidy, part 2 In this post, I asked myself (and anyone else who wanted to answer) whether the absence of tax was the presence […]

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