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Governments do not need the savings of the rich, nor their taxes!

In Chapter 24 of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Concluding Notes on the Social Philosophy towards which the General Theory might Lead, John Maynard Keynes confronted the issue of the “arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes” in capitalist economies. The argument he advances in that Chapter of his 1936 book contains guidelines for the progressive left that some just cannot seem to grasp. In short, governments (as our agents) do not need the savings of the rich to ensure that society prospers. There was another interesting contribution in 1946 from the American statistician and economist – Beardsley Ruml – who wrote that “Taxes for Revenue are Obsolete”. The progressive left would be advised to study his work and stop building political policy platforms on the claim that governments needs to make the rich pay their fair share of taxes so that adequate public services and infrastructure can be provided. The incomes and taxes paid by the rich are largely irrelevant to the capacity of a national, currency-issuing government to provide first-class public services and infrastructure. It is time to re-frame the debate and the way in which progressive political forces state their policy aspirations. This bears on the current interesting struggle in Britain for the leadership of their Labour Party.

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