Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Public Loves Taxes!

Also from the BSA survey I referred to in the previous post, here is how people's attitudes to taxation and spending have changed over time:



The bad news is that the public seems historically to be in favour of tax and spend, on the other hand there has been a pretty dramatic fall in public support for increasing taxes and spending over the five years from 2002 to 2007.

Update: In the comments Matthew plots the support for tax & spend against actual levels of tax & spend. There is a pretty strong negative correllation:

8 comments:

Matthew said...

Reasonable correlation (negative) with public spending as a % of GDP.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjtphotos/3838804153/sizes/o/

Certainly as Thatcher cut (relatively, whatever) support grew for tax and spend, then as Labour spent, it declined. The aberation, albeit it one of level not shape (if you squint)is the Major government, where public support was always higher than you might expect, even when spending surged. Maybe because of the recession? Or because the opposition to higher spending was left to the loony brigade of Redwood, Marlow and Gorman?

TDK said...

It would be interesting to see the figures back further. As it is, we see the early Thatcher years (ie after Labour profligacy) as being in favour of low tax. Then as the Conservatives get the economy moving again the people grow more comfortable and willing to hand over more of their money to the state. That results in a Labour government. The economy tanks and people resent paying taxes and the process resumes.

Matthew said...

You seem to have missed out the Major government in your learned economic history there.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I was going to say roughly the same as everybody else. But it's a handy chart and all.

The real issue is that few people realise a fifth of government spending is pure waste on quangocracies and so on. I'm happy to keep the other four-fifths steady, it's the £100 billion-plus waste that bothers me.

Oliver said...

There's also a positive correlation between countries with relatively high taxation levels and overall levels of happiness.

James Higham said...

Are you on holiday or something?

Ross said...

Matthew- that's agood graph, I'll include in an update unless you object.

MW- I think you are correct by it's interesting that such a small number of people appear to agree.

James- "Are you on holiday or something?"

No but it feels like it this week.

Ross said...

Oliver- I've heard that claimed although I'm not really sure how true that is or whether it implies a direct causal relationship.