I thought this was an interesting discussion but there was a problem when certain empirical claims were made but, perhaps inevitably, little evidence to back them up. I wonder whether we could introduce a simple structure in future deliberations in which we could test the strength of a proposition (ie to what degree it is backed up with evidence) and then, perhaps, agree to do a bit of research and bring the debate back to a future meeting. We might even agree a conditional based on the claim – something like ‘if x then y’ and then test the veracity of x and come up with a new conditional at the next meeting and, ultimately a valid and sound argument. Of course, the available evidence may not be strong enough on either side to come to a firm conclusion but perhaps it might help to create a bit of structure to our deliberations.

Salisbury Compass

Discussion of the role of taxation in our society

This debate followed on the discussion about group business which took place on 17 December 2016 and was initiated by Brian.  His thesis was that tax is an efficient way of collecting funds for essential services yet was always treated as essentially ‘a bad thing’.  Almost all politicians will claim they wish to lower taxes and they sell the idea that lower taxes mean that people are better off and they will have more money in their pockets to spend.   There was never a mature debate about tax and the very notion that tax could be ‘a good thing’ seems an almost absurd concept.  Surely, lower taxes must mean we are better off?  Isn’t it obvious?

There was a spirited debate on the subject and the following were some of the points made:

  • tax was an economical way of raising funds…

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