Wednesday, April 7, 2010

And they're off!

The election campaign has started!
And what a miserable campaign it's going to be. Cameron claims that by raising National Insurance, Labour will be placing a TAX ON JOBS! And everyone knows, that a tax on jobs is A BAD THING.
Labour is on the defensive over this, and it reminds me a bit of the Tories fantastic idea to abolish inheritance tax, which Labour was also incapable of contesting.

Of course, this exchange reveals that nobody is going to be honest about the big fiscal issues. The Conservatives, until last week, were convinced Labour was too soft on the deficit. Now, they are proposing to drop one of the only real deficit-reducing measures anyone has put forward up to now. So, how is this going to be paid for? By cutting waste, obviously.

Nobody appears to notice that cutting this waste might also reduce employment - it will involve either sacking public sector workers, or cutting public sector spending on things that someone else is supplying. So any big employment gains from the NI cut will be at best cancelled out by the public sector squeeze. And who is to say any of the money saved by employers will be used to create jobs, rather than pay off debt or raise profits?

Anyway, at least we've learnt something today. The Tories like cutting taxes, Labour prefers to maintain public spending. We kind of knew that already, but it's nice to be clear about it.