Wednesday 2 November 2016

Review: The Joy of Tax

The Joy of Tax The Joy of Tax by Richard Murphy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Benjamin Franklin once wrote ‘in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes’. I would add ‘and your computer crashing’ to that, but the sentiment is still valid. Richard Murphy has been a voracious campaigner on all things tax, creator of ‘Corbynomics’, and in the ironically titled, Joy of Tax, fully intends to challenge every idea that you have about taxes.

Whilst most people don’t like paying tax, we seem more than happy to accept the benefits and services that a government provides from their tax income, so much so that populations expect governments to spend more than they can raise from tax and run a deficit. That changed in 2008 after the global finance system derailed and the political debate have been dominated by the spectres of austerity, debt and cuts. This hostile discussion has meant that the debate on why we need tax, and how it can benefit society have been ignored ever since. It is this debate that Murphy wants to bring to the fore in this book.

But, it’s a taxing subject…

He makes a good evaluation of the present system, with its few qualities and many flaws and overall it was an interesting read. His proposals are bold and in certain cases innovative, and rightly he argues we need to dramatically simplify the tax system to stop excessive revenue loss from loopholes. All sensible stuff, but Murphy comes across as a bit preachy about it all and it grates a little in the end. Generally ok, and if you have an interest in all thing financial then you may get more out of it than I did. 2.5 stars overall.

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