May 17th, 2010

Is Fink Now Going to Campaign Against the Government?

Readers will be aware that Guido and Danny Finkelstein have been squabbling for years about raising the tax thresholds for the working poor. Guido was even christened a “punk tax cutter” by Fink and at one point Nick Clegg himself intervened in our argument. Fink generously gave Clegg the space on his blog to tell Fink that he was wrong saying “I’m not sure I’ve ever been called a “punk tax cutter” before. I quite like the label… Danny Finkelstein is wrong, and cutting taxes is right… Growth is what we need now.” Fink gave a fair summary of his argument in January:

Is raising the income tax threshold, paid for by other rises, a good reform?

First, there are those who argue that it is a tax cut aimed at the working poor. This misunderstands who would actually gain from the measure. The vast bulk of the money goes to those earning more than £10,000. It is a very expensive tax cut, very poorly targeted on the working poor.

Second, there is an interlocking relationship between income tax and working families tax credit. Many of the working poor would find the money they gained from the tax cut clawed back because their increased income attracted less tax credit.  Those of us who believe in lower taxes are always attracted by proposals to reduce tax bills. But there are good reasons to argue that this is neither the moment, nor the measure.

So Fink is squarely against the coalition government’s key tax pledge and we should expect to see columns and blogs by Fink resisting this policy using the rationale he has advanced time and time again.

Fink also argued inWhy the Tories Can’t follow the Lib Demsthat if the Tories followed them down the tax cutting route, it would be a total disaster, in The tax debates: A response to Guido Fink argued that “the Lib Dems are in a fundamentally different position to the Conservatives. They are not offering to be the next Government and their credibility doesn’t matter. Nick Clegg has been hilariously unconvincing on the question of where the money for his tax cuts is coming from.” Is Fink laughing now?

One final claim that Fink never deigned to justify, despite repeated attempts by Guido to get him to, was that:

If the Tories were now to cut taxes immediately upon on entering office, what would happen? It would, erm, destabilise the economy, wouldn’t it.

Gilts are up a point since the coalition agreement, including Clegg’s tax cuts, was published. Game, set and government to Guido.


  1. 1
    gone fuckin mental says:

    you smug fucker guido lol

  2. 2
    Not a member of the skanky NUS says:

    Well done Guido!

  3. 3
    Gordo "Smalley Brainz" McRuin says:

    Second :(

  4. 4
    Grammar School Boy says:

    Fink like to look at life from a Utiopian, metropolitan theoretical elitist perspective.

    Small wonder he is so often wrong…

  5. 5

    Fink’s a nice enough bloke, but shit at politics.

  6. 6
    Should I care? says:

    Who’s Daniel Finklestein?

  7. 7
    avseer says:

    I am inclined to believe that when people feel they are getting a good deal, they tend to react better. I feel the weight of taxation under Labour was too heavy, I would love to have to £10K threshold they are espousing as soon as possible. Too much taxation does not happy tax payers make us – the burden of taxation lower, more money is actually collected.

    Fink, grow up and admit you’ve been Fawkesed ;)

  8. 8

    He wrote West Side Story.

  9. 9
    Spell checker says:

    Some relation of Daniel Finkelstein, I should imagine.

  10. 10

    The problem with the 10k tax threshold is that many of the real poor in the workplace don’t earn 10k and therefore will not see any benefit.

    The middle classes will be the main beneficiaries here and that is unfair.

  11. 11
    Yuri says:

    You Brits must be stupid to let someone bankrupt your country and leave a note behind owning up to the crime walk away. You look down at us Eastern Europeans as peasents but we would hang or shoot the people responsible for our woes at least. So it is you who are the true slave no?

  12. 12
    Old git says:

    A vast number of pensioners must be paying tax which they wouldn’t (or not so much, anyway) if the tax-free pay was raised to 10 grand.
    Mind you, raising VAT would hit them.

  13. 13
    MI5 says:

    Fink is another rather nice (for a change) but irrelevant MSM journalist

    Guido is now pulling rank on the Times FFS (with the help of the ASI ???)

    Keep it up Guido, remain “lean and hungry”

    And we will all carry you like Wilkes on out shoulders into the Chamber of the House of Commons one day…

    (It will be a bloody effort if you don’t slim down a bit…)

    PS Can you inform us of the hidden economic policy of this government yet ?
    And the extent of Zanu’s Black Hole ?)

  14. 14
    Bob says:

    I agree

    The tax system is such and the deficit and debt so huge that it really will not make any difference either way

    But lowering direct taxes is always preferable…

    Anything to encourage people to work and produce…

  15. 15

    Only if they are working part time, in which case they would attract the working tax credit payments and certainly not be any worse off.

    The overall effect will be to reduce the money that is currently taken in tax from the lowest paid, shunted around the system and then doled back out at great expense by overpaid public servants to the same people who paid the tax in the first place. Reducing the need for staff in the departments handling this merry-go-round will save money, and save aggravation for those who currently need to claim back that which is needlessly taken.

    Seems fair to me, unless you’re a civil servant taking money out of the system as it passes by…

  16. 16

    Would a Labour Black Hole have a ‘Prescott radius’?

  17. 17
    FINK GETS PUNK'D! says:

    “Second, there is an interlocking relationship between income tax and working families tax credit. Many of the working poor would find the money they gained from the tax cut clawed back because their increased income attracted less tax credit.”
    Fink really should do his research before he starts shooting his mouth off.
    40% of low earners entitled to claim tax credits do not do so because the system is so complicated and they do not trust the state to get the sums right. The working poor are on such low wages that they simply cannot afford to allow the government to fuck up their calculations and then claim overpayments back. There is no margin for error when one is on 200 quid a week.
    Fink’s logic is flawed and his conclusions are therefore unsound.

  18. 18
    Gordon Brown says:

    Daniel Fink is absolutely correct. And me abolishing the 10p tax band didn’t affect the working poor either.

  19. 19

    I still don’t see why someone on 40k a year gets his first 10k free.

    Better to target those earning less than 15k only and bugger the rest.

  20. 20
    Gobshite says:

    We should scrap NI and have a flat tax rate for everyone. And no Tax Credits!

    Imagine the bureaucracy that can be done away with if we had a simplified tax system!

    The only issue, is what that rate would be, and what threshold we should have for paying it.

    Of course, before we do any of this, we have to define what the government should be billing us for.

    The biggest problem we face is how much unnecessary crap that we are billed for.

    I fail to see why any more than 20% of the working population is employed by the state in any capacity. That should cover:

    Defence & Policing

  21. 21
    12,000 ex-LibDems sign up for Labour Party ........... says:

    1 – It’s a Labour Lie !

    2 – We knew that most LibDem members were thick and stupid anyway !

    3 – Those left – the sensible 2,000+ LibDems – said the coalition deal was ok !

    4 – Vote Labour? Vote Milligatweenies? Vote arse holes !

  22. 22
    gregoriad says:

    This is but one of many reasons why the LibCon coalition is genius. When the LibDem proposal to raise the tax threshold was brought up in the debates, Cameron said ‘I would love to have that policy’ but he said it was unfunded…, as a coalition, they can have it and fund it. We are going to be a lot better off under a LibCon coalition than we would have been under a Conservative government, not in the least because the Conservatives are going to be able to be a lot more radical, under LibDem cover, than they would have been otherwise.

  23. 23
    South of the M4 says:

    Probably only on a pie chart.

  24. 24
    Ben says:

    This is no fun Guido, where’s Gordon gone? Attacking the Fink is dullsville.

    I thought you had a few McBrideisms up your sleeve, or more on Broon bad behaviour, Mandy’s little peccadilloes etc etc

    Blogging needs bad guys. there’s lots more on Tony etc yet to come out. Isn’t there?

  25. 25

    Not only that, but the purpose of the changes isn’t to put more money in people’s pockets (although if your figure of a 40% rate of not claiming is correct then it would), but to remove the iniquity of means testing from the poorest.

    Fink’s an idiot, and a not terribly convincing one at that.

  26. 26
    lola says:

    You’ve all still got it arse about face.

    It is not, and never should be an argument about funding tax cuts. It’s is and must logically be an argument about how the goverment funds spending. It is not tax cuts ‘that are not affordable’. It is government spending that’s not affordable.

    This really does irritate me. It’s a lefty socialist semantic trap.

  27. 27

    There are bad guys aplenty and they are still on the government benches.

  28. 28
    Anonymous says:

    brrrrrup! Tish!

  29. 29

    I suggested on an earlier thread that civil servants and quasi civils (beeboids plus anyone whose company makes more than 50% of their turnover from government contracts) should have a surtax of 25% applied to them, running parallel with the 40% and 50% tax bands.

    As a further idea I suggest bringing those on benefits into the tax net; thus Mr Matey in Anglesey who stays at home and gets £ 46k for the privilege of producing children should be required to pass a chunk of that back from whence it came.

  30. 30
    Augustus-Stevens Holyhead ........... says:

    First define the scope of BLACK HOLE (PFI, period etc)

  31. 31

    But Gordon told me tax cuts are taking money out of the economy, Lola.

  32. 32
    Capt M says:

    stupid boy!

  33. 33

    They should scrap income tax. Problem solved.

  34. 34

    What this would do for a family on 40K is to allow the wife to take part time work without the hassle of worrying about tax credits – surely a good move for the workforce and for families?

    40K will just about keep you afloat if you want to buy an overpriced UK property in which to bring up your family – let the little woman earn 10K without penalty and life gets a lot better.

  35. 35

    Are you Cleggy’s mum?

  36. 36
    Poxmin says:


  37. 37

    I thought we were talking about the real poor and not the hard hit middle-classes.

    I’m talking about the bloke who earns 9k on the trollys and his wife stacks shelves at night for 6k. They don’t have a mortgage because they rent and his car is constantly broken down!

    Where is the benefit for them???

  38. 38
    English John says:

    Quite enjoyed all the spats during the campaign (Bouton v Campbell-Boulton v Bradshaw) Glad it’s in the long grass just to get Fink trying in vain to be a smartarse. He’ll no doubt support Blinky against the Marx Brothers in the election no-one cares about

  39. 39
    gone fuckin mental says:

    lets tax spin

  40. 40
    Mr Ned says:

    … and economics

  41. 41
    Mr Ned says:

    … and rationalising reality for that matter.

  42. 42
    TrustyShield says:

    Fink obviously graduated from the Gordon Brown school of theoretical economics – Unlike Gordon, when Fink got it wrong millions of lives are not affected.

    I Fink, therefore I am

    should be revised to

    I Fink, therefore I am wrong

  43. 43
    Inbloodycredible says:

    Since when have you been believing anything the Snotgourmet says?

  44. 44
    Archimedes says:

    Very amusing GF – now – and I mean – now – justify your quip!

  45. 45
    pro patrea says:

    Tax Freedom Day 2010 will fall on May 30, according to the Adam Smith Institute (ASI), which has been calculating Britain’s Tax Freedom Day since 1991.

    That means that for 149 days of the year – from January 1 to May 29 – every penny earned by UK residents will be taken to pay for government spending.

    This year’s Tax Freedom Day comes three days later than in 2009, when Tax Freedom Day was May 27.

  46. 46
    oily Vaz says:

    Just want to remind you racists that I bought a house with your money.

    Keep going mental, whitey, it’s my country now.

  47. 47
    Anonymous says:

    Love that – the Marx Brothers – hope it sticks. Are you noting this Guido?

  48. 48
    Mr Ned says:

    I don’t need to know the scope of it to know that we are now looking at entering the event horizon of it.

  49. 49

    Scrap the NHS and welfare and you could.

  50. 50
    Spot-on-du-lu-lu says:


  51. 51
    Mr Ned says:

    The benefit for them is that they will get to keep ALL of their money. ALL of it. Every penny earned they keep.

  52. 52

    Are you new here?

  53. 53
    AC1 says:

    Extortion isn’t utopian, Income Taxes are a modern form of slavery.

  54. 54

    In fact taxing people more makes them better off!!!

  55. 55
    AC1 says:

    and Morality.

  56. 56
    Kinsimple Innit ? ....... says:

    The nation cannot employ one doctor, one teacher or one policeman until it earns something to pay them with !!

  57. 57
    photo ex machina says:


  58. 58

    That was UKIP policy. Whilst I agreed with it as a radical economic policy, it do not do UKIP the shitest bit of good.

  59. 59
    I used to believe in democracy before Postal voting says:

    It was already suggested in an earlier post

  60. 60
    ............ waiting ........ says:

    ……………. waiting …………….

  61. 61
    lola says:

    ~6m in state ‘employment’. ~1.4M of those doing vaguely useful stuff, like soldering, doctoring etc. So just what are the other 5.6m doing, exactly?

  62. 62

    By the time our economic responsibilities have been re-calibrated and all our debts have come to light, we shall be no doubt all be asked to work until boxing day before we see a tax-free days.

  63. 63
    Gloryhunter says:

    Is this Guidos way of saying ‘oi Murdoch gis a job’ by embarrasing his staff on a regular basis.

  64. 64

    I don’t know why women are claiming that they are under-represented in cabinet. Have you seen this cabinet? barely a single testicle between the lot of them!

    All the proper tories confined to the back-benches and gone to UKIP.

    Still, it is a far far far better government so-far than the labour one it replaces.

    It’s not good enough yet, but it is a step in the right direction.

  65. 65
    lola says:

    So did the fuckwit badger browed plonker Darling on R4 this lunchtime. Had me swearing at the wireless.

  66. 66
    Anonymous says:

    Guido and Fink: this may come as a disappointment to you both.

    NOBODY who is going to decide what exactly to do about this is going to listen to either of you. If they have not yet made up their minds (and likely they have) then they will do so without the benefit of your advice.

    In the meantime Fink might help sell a few papers (it’s his job after all) and Guido may pull some extra readers and have some fun. He doesn’t have to be right in arguments (even if he is on this one). What he has to do is be right (most of the time) when he makes factual assertions – and apologise nicely when he gets it wrong.

    Smug is part of his stock in trade. He’ll not be alone in that.

  67. 67

    Can we call him Vazoline for short!

  68. 68
    Smig says:

    You can’t take it with you Vazeline.

    Your day of reckoning will come.

  69. 69
    ............ waiting ........ says:

    We’ll take that as a ‘you can’t’ shall we?

  70. 70

    legalise cannabis and tax it.
    legalise prostitution and tax it.

    problem solved!

    people will be too busy getting pissed, stoned, or shagging to give a shit what the economy is doing!

  71. 71
    Pink Wafer says:

    and anal

  72. 72
    Fink's Civil Partner says:

    and ……. that!

  73. 73
    The Lyon King says:

    The 10K threshold will make them finanically better off if they went and got a job instead of sat at home watching CBeebies

  74. 74

    Blimey that caught on quick!

  75. 75
    Smig says:

    Tax threshold for pensioners is higher.

    If you’re over 65 the allowance is already £9460.

  76. 76

    That would be about 80 quid and a couple earning 40k combined would get 1400 quid between them.

    Whichever way you call it it benefits the middle-classes over the real poor end of!

  77. 77
    filipinomonkey says:

    And a spin of – you must be joking, that fecker isn’t moving

  78. 78
  79. 79
    lolol says:

    AlJaBeB say Georgy boy is pinning the blame on the last ones that were running show,mmm now who was in charge and who were so inept with the taxpayers money that they had go get loans to carry on,mmm the NuConLibDums have been in control for a week now so it must have been them.

    Dearest Darling,yes a very dear/expensive ex chancellor throwing the blame onto NuConLibDums

  80. 80
    Smig says:

    Claiming more than 4x what they’d get on the dole.

  81. 81
    Smig says:

    Don’t forget the majestic 0% increase in chocolate ration!

  82. 82
    Inbloodycredible says:

    Not that new. Been here about 18 months.

    I *still* feel elated that Brown has gone. Woo hoo!!!

  83. 83
    Smig says:

    What can I say? The engine that powers Smig comments is a well oiled machine.

  84. 84
    Mips says:

    It is not a question of what is going to happen but what needs to happen with the thresholds. Truth be told we have spent far too much on ourselves for far too long and now the piper wants his pay. So tax will rise and if tax thresholds rise then something else will have to give.
    Anyone for more VAT? How about a proper carbon tax on ALL fuel.

  85. 85
    Politburo says:

    Traktor production has had a bumper month.

  86. 86

    Prostitutes are the biggest users, are you seriously expecting the entire prostitute population of the UK to pay off our deficit?

  87. 87
    Spirit Leveller says:

    This piece raises plenty of questions but, sadly, provides little in the way of answers.

  88. 88
    Mr Matey says:

    Jees this procreation stuff is tiring…

  89. 89
    Talking down the ecomony says:

    “We” haven’t been doing it. I have no mortgage and I have savings that I invest sensibly.
    IMHO it was “they” that are responsible.

    A VAT rise is bad because it hits pensioners, whereas an income tax rise hits earners.

  90. 90
    Muggins born in the UKSSR says:

    Dear Mr Finkeltein, After working and paying taxes for 50 years I find that I and my wife are worse off than had we done sweet FA during that time. Now tell me how you would feel in the same circumstances.

    It is time for you and the thieving bastards (aka Parliamentarians) to stop telling the law abiding, working population what is good for them. They know what is good for them, sadly you do not.

    So danny boy, it is time to come on down and join the rest of us law abiding citizens in this cesspit that was once a sovereign country. Better still, bring some mates with you and see how awful life is. You will hate it, but not as much as we do.

    With kindest regards,
    Muggins born in the UKSSR.

    PS Please leave Guido alone. He is all we have.

  91. 91
    The Lyon King says:

    today i went fishing and i caught me a Sir Trev!

  92. 92
    Lightweight Cast Iron says:

    There is much truth in what you say, but do not become too complacent comrade Yuri.

    English potato vodka is now officially the best potato vodka in the world, we have become VERY good at tractor statistics, and your borders are open to us.

    Prepare for the upcoming flood of economic migrants, my friend. English plumbers – coming to a village near you. Soon…

  93. 93
    ex bond trader says:

    scrap the tax credits.guess what Hunt invented it?

    i know 2 builders who only pay minimum wage.why?

    because the govt. ie everyone else has to chip in to top up the wages>>>>>

    therefore the employers get rich at everyone elses expense….
    nice one gordon!

    i wouldnt put too much faith in the gilt market……

    a giant ponzi scheme funded by printing money……..

  94. 94
    ex bond trader says:

    the modding on here is shit……..

    send me the refund in gold coins only.

  95. 95
    Rip Van Winkle says:

    Age 65 or over? earning less than £22,900? You already have an individual tax allowance of £9,490. So, unless this is also increased by about £3,500, pensioners will be WORSE OFF than general taxpayers.

  96. 96
    Smig says:

    How long would it be into the year, if it was only the economically-active taxpayers that were included in the count?

    Take out the doleys, the pensioners, the public sector, MPs, etc., from the total of UK residents. How long do I have to work to pay for all the wastrels and slackers?

  97. 97
    Watcher says:

    Keep looking over your shoulder Mr Brown! You are not important any more!! With any luck this great pile of shit that you have built up will catch you up and do the necessary!!

  98. 98
    Lightweight Cast Iron says:

    Well, they are an extremely hard working demographic.

    If anyone’s gonna pull it off, it’ll be them

  99. 99
    hoodie says:

    gissa hug, tory boy

  100. 100
    Marxism is a race war waged by Caucasians says:

    English plumber? You evil b*st*rd. Why deploy WMD even before issuing veiled threats?

  101. 101
    lola says:

    You certainly have ‘buggered the rest’. Now fuck off. You lost.

  102. 102
    lola says:

    Well, since New labour were the biggest tarts on the block ever, p’raps they should get out there and do a bit of time on the streets and donate the proceeds to the national debt they created. After all they’ve been shafting us (all of us – poor and rich alike) for 13 years and giving us fuck all for it. So it’ about time they got to feel like what it’s like to be shafted for fuck all.

  103. 103
    English John says:

    By me

  104. 104
    Indian Givers says:

    So tax cuts hoorah, VAT increase boo. Hmmmm?

  105. 105
    Granny smith says:

    I want to know, when the benefit junkies are going to taka a hit.

  106. 106
    Brown Hater says:

    By me, weeks ago, actually…

  107. 107
    Reality approaches says:

    Does not really matter; once Murdoch’s PayWall goes up no-one will read him and he will soon be forgotten.

  108. 108
    Smig says:

    They wont. Its all a very cunning plan to keep them comfortable.

    Give them enough money to stay drunk and be able to afford SKYtv and they dont bother burgling and rioting.

  109. 109
    Smig says:

    They wont. Its all a very cunning plan to keep them comfortable.

    Give them enough money to stay druuunk and be able to afford SKYtv and they don’t bother burgling and rioting.

  110. 110
    Anonymous says:

    Who are these `working poor` anyway?

  111. 111
    Smig says:

    Gisajob Maquire :P

  112. 112
    Anonymous says:

    Why don`t these `working poor` just go onto benefirs and live comfortably

  113. 113
    A Celt says:

    Still seems odd that a person working 40 hours a week on the National Minimum Wage has to pay Income Tax.

    Poor Pensioners do not buy much with VAT on the purchase, except fuel and a bit of clothing. Food is VAT free, and travel on buses is free.
    Fags and booze I suppose.

  114. 114
    They're all smug, sneering, Celt cunts at the BBC, 'cept Kuenssberg whom I wish to bum intensely says:

    Joo Fink is out of time and on a road to nowhere

    His bruising time as a Tory party insider has warped his view of policy, as it was a time when no-one wanted to listen to Tory arguments on anything.

    Joo Fink can clearly not comprehend the public are listening to alternate arguments now.

    Just as with the fat pig Abbot, and shrinking Portillo the BBC should get this outdated contradiction factory off it’s airwaves.
    Although I quite like Olly Grender she seems to be a very nice lady who would be rampant in the sex department.

  115. 115
    Wallander says:

    Mr Finkelstein is factually wrong.
    Tax credits are based on your taxable income, effectively your gross income, not your nett income after tax. Someone with a full time minimum wage would be around £700 a year better off and the tax change would not affect there tax credits one penny.
    The easy way to fund the change is to increase the basic rate of tax to 25%, that balances out the money raised from income tax and removes the benefit from people earning more than £22,000.

  116. 116
    That's News says:

    Is one difference between Guido and Danny that Guido has actually worked at the sharp end of finance and so has some genuine real world experience? Just a though…

  117. 117
    The Weeping Man, aged 39 and I'm actual scared for the future says:

    Stocks, shares, gold, ponzi schemes, 24 hour tv, trash culter, blogs, gigabytes, mindless internet, porn, reality tv, spam, bbc 24, edjukation, youtube, big brother, pizza, casual sex, AIDS, bird flu, NHS, drugs, riots, muder with a 6 month sentance and a PS3.



    There are some very clever, smart, educated people on this blog, so I ask them, jokes aside,

    Why is my country being destroyed?

    Why are the peeps so dumb down :(

    Why is the free world being destroyed?

    I/ve never hurt anybody.

    I/ve kept my nose clean.

    I/ve done 12 hour shifts 7 days a week.

    I dont deserve for this shit :(

    WE, all of us, should be very VERY fucking angry right now.

    so why?

    a grown man weeps into his hands, the answer is,

    There are some very evil, corrupt bastards in this world. THE war never eneded did it?, it simply shifted from bullets and bombs to, well, you know, the EU.

    is the NWO real, i dont know.
    what exxacly is builderberg?
    is Alex right, i dont know.

    I look at Dave, with his kids and his wife and think to myself, he must be OK, he must be a decent bloke, he must want whats best for us?

    I’m and atheist since age 5 whos maybe had one too many whiskys tonight, but now I say God help this country.

  118. 118
    Early Bird says:

    Blimey, mate – that shut ‘em up didn’t it?!!

  119. 119
    Zen says:

    I know what you mean weeping man. This country disgusts me sometimes. Money & profit is all that matters to these k*unts now.

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