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It’s a proven fact, men can’t bear children. Ask anyone.
Therefore, any children born in a country are going to be born to women. And before World War I, British females of child-bearing age were having 3.2 children on average which created a constant, but manageable population growth rate.
This translated into a healthy economy — all those new mouths to feed, clothe, educate and shelter — and such birthrates form the basis of every domestic economy.
In economies with a high national birthrate per fertile woman, a significant domestic economy exists and consequently, sending raw resources or manufactured goods to other countries *isn’t* required to prop up the economy.
When more people are being born than are dying every year, you have the perfect domestic economy — and exports are merely the icing on the cake — and what a ride it is when the domestic economy is growing and exports are growing every year! Woot!
That’s how Britain prospered for centuries until WWI and WWII changed all that.
Let’s Skip Over the War Part and Get to the Results
Enough has been written and filmed about Britain’s part in WWI and WWII to fill entire libraries (as it should, and to every living and long-dead veteran, thank you again for our freedom!) but for our discussion today, let’s look at how two world wars changed the demographic picture of Britain.
Women entered the formal workforce and began to earn money.
This was done because the men were away fighting a war and the country was in a desperate labour shortage. Anyone who could turn a shovel, milk a cow, assemble a rifle, or ‘man’ a telephone exchange, was put to work immediately. Some workers were barely in their teens and had plenty of responsibility on their shoulders. The British people of the last century were truly an adaptable and amazing people who rose to every challenge and succeeded. Often at great personal cost.
With most of the men away, women worked up to 16-hour shifts on farms or in factories, and still cared for their household and any children that had been born prior to the war, and Britain’s birthrate fell precipitously. In fact, the birthrate per fertile woman fell below replacement levels and the population of the country as a whole, began to fall.
No country can sustain such a falling birthrate, however due to the extremely high wartime demand for weapons and other war matériel the economy continued to function. Not as well as prior to the war mind you, but it still functioned — and apart from borrowing money on the international markets to fund the war machine — Britain’s economy remained sound. The last payment on Britain’s WWI and WWII $120 billion war debt was recently repaid in 2006.
Economic Recovery and Birthrate in the Postwar Era
The result of all this war was that there was a postwar baby boom and Britain’s economy once again began to thrive.
Two profound things changed the British economy forever in the postwar era: 1) British women were likely to put off having children and continue working, and 2) in 1961 birth control pills became available to married women and were later made available to single women.
As a result, the birthrate per fertile woman in Britain again plummeted (replacement levels in Western countries is at 2.2 babies per fertile woman) and employers were eager to employ women who were happy to work for less than half of what men earned. In some cases, women were paid only 40% of what their male counterparts earned and no one thought anything about the discrepancy — not even the women.
Women’s participation in the workforce increased, and beginning in the 1970’s the rates of pay for women began to rise and even fewer babies were born to British women who were too busy earning income to want children.
Consequently, the government was informed by industry-centric economists to open the floodgates to foreign workers (starting in 1999) to meet the demand for labour in the country (which is a different way of saying, ‘bring in the kind of workers who will work for what we used to pay the women’ e.g. 40% of the wage rate for male workers) and British profits will rise again. Indeed they did, but unemployment among British citizens rose and downward pressure on wages began to be a measurable factor.
Company profits rose, British GDP rose, productivity fell but later recovered as the foreign workers became more proficient at their jobs and had a better understanding of the English language, and domestic demand for goods and services (which every economy is built on) skyrocketed.
All of it is an astonishing success story, Britain with its wartime partners winning two world wars, rebuilding its economy in the postwar era, adding millions of women to the workforce, the introduction of pharmaceutical birth control, near-parity for women’s wages in recent years, high profits for companies and a respectable GDP growth curve.
The downside for some is that it took millions of foreign-born workers migrating to Britain to sustain growth in the UK economy because British-born women would rather work than have babies. (Just like women in other developed countries)
Which brings us to the present moment.
Would UK Women Prefer to Have Babies, or Would They Prefer to Work?
The simple answer is, if they could afford to stay home and have babies, they would. Many studies support this finding although a certain percentage of women would continue to work until their 40’s before having children.
Even in this era of cheap birth control and relatively plentiful work for women, many women would prefer to stay home and raise children. But due to lower wages as a result of massive immigration many families cannot afford to have one wage-earner staying at home to raise children.
And we all know how enormously expensive raising children can be these days.
Are There Any Solutions?
There are always solutions. The question is; Are they affordable and acceptable to the majority of citizens?
- Wages rise enough for one wage-earner to support the entire family and have enough money left over to take a nice, 3-week family vacation per year (like it used to be in the ‘old days’) OR,
- British citizens willing to go through the effort and expense of raising children must receive some kind of assistance paid by an incremental increase in the national taxation rate.
Eventually, everyone who pays taxes would be able to recoup the additional portion of the taxes paid when they themselves decide to have children.
Using a Parental Guaranteed Basic Income to Boost the UK-born Birthrate
Let’s say that UK-born ‘Richard’ and ‘Anne’ want to have children. But because of the high costs of food, clothing and shelter in the UK (which you can partially blame on high immigration loads that force-up prices) they decide they must remain working until they can afford to have children. Many Britons are caught in this trap.
Why is it a trap? Because every year they remain working, the cost of everything continues to rise and they’re no further ahead after ten hard years of effort.
Both people working + one recession = no kids. It happens over and over. Working couples barely reach a point where they feel they can afford to start a family, and BOOM! along comes a financial crisis. Bad for the baby-blanket business!
It’s typical for recessions to occur every 15-25 years. So British-born couples like Richard and Anne may never reach their goal of having children, like millions of other Britons. And if they finally get to the point where they feel they can afford a family — they’re 100 years old like Abraham and Sarah of ancient Mesopotamia.
And everyone wonders why Britain has a 1.89 birth rate per fertile woman, which is far below population replacement levels. As mentioned above, 2.2 births per fertile woman is considered replacement level in developed nations. If you want to grow the population and not just maintain the present number, then the birthrate value must rise above 2.2 births per fertile woman.
The UK has a long way to go to meet replacement levels let alone begin to increase the population!
If that’s true, why does the UK population continue to increase? One word: Immigration.
Again, the solution if you don’t want ever-increasing immigration to prop-up your population and eventually replace the UK-born people;
- Raise wages dramatically so that one wage-earner can afford to provide for the entire family, OR,
- Families with children receive some kind of payment from the government financed by an incremental tax increase.
For those who don’t like higher taxes, hey, that’s your right. But don’t complain when your children are the last native-born Britons in the country!
Assuming you don’t want to hand Britain over to foreigners (even though some of them are very nice) UK-born women will need to be compensated for leaving their career and raising children.
A monthly payment can make the difference between a falling or rising birthrate.
If Richard continues to work and Anne receives a Parental Guaranteed Basic Income (PGBI) of £1088 per month, it might be enough for middle class families to get by with only one wage-earner.
In this way the negative birthrate problem in the UK will eventually be righted and massive immigration loads will no longer be required to sustain the UK population / and consequent domestic economy.
More UK-born children = fewer immigrants moving to the UK
Assuming both Richard and Anne have worked since leaving school and paid their fair share of taxes, when they are ready to start a family they will do so secure in the knowledge they will be able to afford it due to the PGBI system. Richard will earn his wages and Anne will receive £1088 per month.
At income-tax time, they simply combine their income (let’s assume £80,000/yr for Richard and £13,056 for Anne) and pay the normal amount of tax on their combined income of £93,056.
If they keep their expenses low, that’s enough annual income to raise one child until he/she reaches 18 years of age.
Which is certainly cheaper for the UK than paying double that amount to host one immigrant who will send much of his/her earned money to his home country to help his or her family for as long as he/she remains in the UK.
If we’re paying thousands per month for each immigrant (directly and indirectly) to sustain the UK population, why can’t we pay Anne less than half that monthly amount to raise a UK-born child?
Eventually, Richard and Anne’s child will grow up to become a worker and he or she won’t be sending thousands of pounds sterling off to a foreign country every year (yes, the immigrants work very hard for their money — they can do what they like with it) but the UK-born child will simply spend their earnings in the UK economy, except for his/her vacations outside of the UK.
For as long as Anne stays at home raising her children she can collect the £1088 per month — until she returns to the workforce and begins earning more than that monthly amount — or when her child hits 18 years of age her payments would automatically end.
Obviously, the easiest way to run this programme is via a ‘reverse income tax’ where a person’s income, their partner and their child, all appear on the same income tax form. After filing their combined tax form, couples would be notified of their eligibility for PGBI and monthly payments would begin.
Caveat: As long as Anne is receiving any amount of income over £1088 per month, either via unemployment insurance payments, annuity payments, inheritances, lottery winnings, gifts from family members, or from whatever other source, ‘Anne’ will not qualify for the PGBI payment. If she is earning less than £1088 per month (from all sources) the PGBI programme would top-up her personal income to £1088/month.
Although it sounds expensive, it would still be cheaper by half compared to the present method of paying immigrants to keep the UK population at a sustainable level and thereby keeping consumer demand high in the overall economy.
How to Pay for This?
Britons are already paying for it… TWICE OVER!
Each immigrant represents a significant cost to the British taxpayer, (and yes, they do work very hard to earn a living in the UK, no one is denying that) but in addition to using infrastructure and services in the country just like everyone else, there is a cost differential of about £100,000 per immigrant over their lifetime.
The Home Office / Border Force must devote considerable time and effort to immigrants with some costs happening even before the migrant lands in Britain.
Immigrants receive the same benefits as UK citizens such as welfare payments, and cost the government in other ways, including police, court, and incarceration costs, higher than average security and certain administration costs that are unique to immigrants — and they displace UK-born workers as they’re willing to work for lower wages.
In addition, they send billions of pounds sterling home every year. The figure of £20 billion per year is most often used — but it is likely much higher. Forget about official statistics, the UK government (like most governments) only records those foreign remittances that people volunteer (£3.2 billion) to share with the government. Banks and wire transfer services like Western Union know the real deal on foreign remittances.
And that’s costly to the UK economy. Just divide £20 billion by the 8 million foreign-born residents in the country and you’ll see how costly ‘foreign remittances’ are for the United Kingdom.
The final note on foreign remittances is terrifying. Such payments are notoriously difficult to prove, but the £20 billion/yr number is a guesstimate. It’s widely acknowledged that UK foreign remittances may be double that amount, and could in the very worst-case scenario top £56 billion per year. And you don’t want to know the grand total of foreign remittances since 1999. No matter the number, it’s a lot of money leaving the UK that will never, ever, return.
What could those billions have done for the UK economy? We’ll never know.
‘Cutting Our Losses’ Covers Half of the Cost of a Parental GBI, but More Tax?
In addition to lowering immigration to low levels because UK-born women would be having more babies — there would need to be an incremental tax increase.
A Tobin Tax is simply a tax on all financial transactions in the country. It’s called an ‘invisible tax’ because banks and retailers simply add an internal 1% tax to each and every financial transaction and remit the revenue to the government annually.
- Buy or sell some stock, it costs you 1% more than at present.
- Buy a beer, it costs you 1% more than at present.
- Take £100 from the ATM (yes, that’s a financial transaction) and the bank charges you 1% on the total amount.
- Buy some petrol and 1% is automatically added to the cost.
Basically, whatever you purchase is going to cost you 1% more unless it’s something that costs more than £100,000 — because you pay the Tobin Tax only on the first £100,000 on any individual purchase. Which is nice when you’re buying an Airbus A350 or other large purchase.
Yes, nobody likes higher taxes that’s for certain. But there’s no rule that the Tobin Tax must be set as high as 1%. A Tobin Tax could be used to fund special projects like a GBI for UK parents only — in which case it could be set at .2% on individual purchases.
It’s your choice.
Does lower immigration, lower foreign remittance levels, more UK-born children to keep the population stable, and more jobs for Britons matter to you? Or does a Parental GBI funded by a .2% Tobin Tax nullify those gains?
Let us know in the comments!
Population & Density Charts for the United Kingdom 1950 – 2020
by John Brian Shannon | June 25, 2016
When a thing isn’t working, it’s time to quit. Whether it’s a marriage or a political union there comes a time to say a respectful ‘goodbye’.
And it appears howevermuch joining the EU has propelled the UK economy, the social cost of millions of eastern European economic migrants and Levant refugees streaming into the UK is higher than British citizens are comfortable with.
The raison d’être for the creation of the EU is quite wonderful — inspired even. But there can be a difference between the theory of a thing and what has actually occurred.
Scary statistics were trotted out in order to push UK citizens into voting to stay in the European Union, but when analyzed turned out to be speculative, at best.
It looks like the EU project is in trouble. I wish them well, and I hope they solve their problems.
In the meantime, the UK must do what is best for the UK
And in my opinion, that means inviting like-minded nations to join The Commonwealth with the goal of increasing economic and social integration with those sovereign northern European nations. (Norway never joined the EU, Switzerland recently left the EU, and the Scandinavian nations are gone as soon as the first opportunity appears that meets optics standards)
If the UK, the Scandinavian countries and Ireland form a loose economic and social cooperative union (or even better, become members of a re-energized Commonwealth) it will immediately boost economic and social metrics across those nations without the downsides of EU membership.
Without wishing any harm to the EU; The European Union can better concentrate on southern European issues with Germany and France leading the way, and without northern European concerns to complicate things.
The question is; Do we choose safe, or do we choose Carpe Diem?
The European Union is deep in it’s own problems for the foreseeable future and in that context I made the case for the UK to leave the EU. As there’s no precedent, it could now become anything the UK government wants it to become.
How about this?
- The UK adopts a similar relationship to the EU as Norway and Switzerland.
- The UK invites Scandinavian nations and Ireland to become part of The Commonwealth.
- The UK institutes a 1% Tobin Tax, keeping one-quarter of one percent for administrative purposes, and remits the remaining three-quarters of one percent to the IMF — to be held in a special account that only the UK government can spend on the UK and on other Commonwealth nations.
- Every Commonwealth nation should phase-in a 1% Tobin Tax over a 5-year period. And just as in the UK, one-quarter of one percent would be retained by each Commonwealth nation to cover collection and administration costs of the Tobin Tax.
- It’s obvious that a trillion pounds of Tobin Tax revenue would accrue rather quickly — and be available to each Commonwealth nation to spend in any other Commonwealth nation. (Need a new SASOL headquarters in London? Perhaps you need to double the export capacity in the port of Accra? Or with the proper funding you can finally build that 1 GigaWatt wind farm and export billions of dollars/pounds/rands worth of electricity to neighbouring countries. Now you have instant funding!)
- If you’re the UK there’s one thing you want, countries lining up to join The Commonwealth. And soon contributing their own Tobin Tax revenue to the special IMF account used (only) to strengthen trade links with other Commonwealth economies.
- The ultimate goal, would be for the entire Commonwealth to copy the Norwegian economic model (as much as is reasonably possible) in order to attain Norway’s enviable statistics — such as the world’s highest per capita income, among the world’s highest productivity, free university for all citizens and residents and (related to that) among the lowest crime rate in the world, and so much more. Keep in mind Norway’s very high-ranking on the Social Progress Index and on the UN Happiness Index (free PDF downloads for both) And remember, all positive economic indicators flow from those statistics — not the other way around.
The question would then become;
“Which country wouldn’t want to join The Commonwealth?”
In this, the 21st-century, it should never be a case of looking at a glass, half-full. It should always be about creating a massively better system. One that is a whole order of magnitude better than the presently sputtering economic model.
Previous generations of politicians rose to meet the challenges of their time, and likewise the UK government must also rise to the so-called challenges of our time.
But meeting the challenges of our time must be considered passé as the UK is sufficiently advanced that it should blow past the challenges of our time in the same way a Bentley Mulsanne Speed blows past an economy car on the M6 motorway.
Who Should Lead an Empowered Commonwealth?
Whomever is the most recently dismissed Prime Minister of any Commonwealth country should (within 180 days of losing office) be appointed to the top job — Secretary General of The Commonwealth.
In that way, a flow of different approaches from highly empowered and knowledgeable people will lead The Commonwealth of Nations and each former PM will undoubtedly leave their stamp on the broad policies of that organization.
A former Indian Prime Minister sitting as Secretary General might advance the cause of microgrid power generation across all developing Commonwealth nations, while the next SecGen (from the UK for example) might take up the cause of getting resources from all Commonwealth nations to China and other major markets. And during the time of an African Secretary General of The Commonwealth, the preferred cause might be improvement of all Commonwealth port facilities in order to dramatically expedite trade — getting Commonwealth goods to every market, faster, fresher, and better.
What matters to me, is that each Secretary General leaves a positive impact on The Commonwealth using his or her unique worldview, experience, contacts and ability.
It will be this synergy that will make The Commonwealth all that it can and should be.
The Commonwealth of Nations is a group of interdependent countries.
“The Commonwealth is a name for countries which were part of the British Empire before they became independent. This group of states works together on many important matters, like business, health and the fight against poverty.” — Wikipedia
- Should Britain Leave the EU? (Project Syndicate)
- A British Bridge for a Divided Europe (Project Syndicate)
- The Bear’s Lair: Brexit Could Unshackle Britain From A Corpse (TalkMarkets)
- What is The Commonwealth? (World Atlas)