According to a survey by the software provider Inuit, two-thirds of small businesses are hesitant to hire new employees due to the burden of PAYE. In the 18th century governments taxed windows and we still have examples of bricked up windows from that time. Today we tax employment, so we have unemployment! In Public Revenue without Taxation the author makes the point that “the development of Keynes’ general theory of employment leads to the conclusion that an open trading economy is likely to be most competitive, and therefore most prosperous, only when all taxation is abolished”. The author could have added “ and would have the highest level of employment”. Yet government must be funded. So what is the answer? The book is an examination of how government could be more efficiently funded by shifting taxes off employment (PAYE and NIC are employment taxes) onto the value of the land under buildings. From the government’s point of view no one could avoid the rent and from the firm’s point of view, the rent could be paid by a standing order or direct debit. In Re-solving the Economic Puzzle, Walter Rybeck describes how some town councils in Pennsylvania have adopted this approach and found that it has spurred economic activity and employment.
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