Many of those who know me will say that I think most forms of taxation are theft, but that is not true. Of course, I would like to spend my own money how I choose, but I do expect to pay taxes in order that we can have defence, and courts to enforce property rights. I am less convinced of the need of the state to provide certain aspects of healthcare and education, I am always wary of any Government spending in ‘infrastructure projects’, and I am always opposed to the State running entertainment and sports businesses. I always welcome spending and tax cuts; I am a libertarian in the mould of Hazlitt, Friedman and Hayek. However, where there is real theft, I will shout it from the rooftops.
For the last election David Cameron launched his new initiative, his “Big Society” aimed at, I imagine, capturing the floating voter who might have thought that the Conservatives did more for Big Business and less for the ‘little man’. Its stated goals are very broad and hard to pin down, but they include:
- Promoting social action
- Making it easier to set up and run a charity
- Improve the child maintenance system
- Helping to reduce poverty and improve social justice
- Bringing people together in strong united communities
- Improving social mobility
- Supporting the library services
- Marking relevant national events and ceremonies
- Making sure that the National Lottery targets deserving causes
- Growing the social investment market
- Helping troubled families turn their lives around
- Giving people more power over what happens in their neighbourhood
In another article I will post my opinions as to what these objectives mean, and no doubt I will question why on earth Government is spending this money in these areas. But here we come to an interesting point: Whose money is ‘invested’ in the Big Society Fund? Where did the £600 million budget come from?
£400 million of the total was seized by the Government from ‘dormant bank accounts’. The State decided that if money was hanging around long enough and unused its property was to be transferred. Unlike the £20 note found on the street and taken by someone, the money’s rightful owners were known, but for whatever reason, it had been decided that the cash should stay in the bank. It does not matter one iota that the banks in question may have tried to track down the owners, and it matters not a jot that the money will be handed over should the owner present themselves at some stage in the future. The fact remains, that this money did not, nor ever will belong to the State. This seizure is an absolute disgrace, something that the Soviets would have delighted in. To compound the crime, the Conservatives are trying to pass this crime off as being in the common good. It should be known for what it is: theft, pure and simple.