Yet another year's budget proves the pointlessness of this annual exercise in politics over prudence.
This year's edition cut the 50% top rate of income tax. but inevitably the Chancellor had to show that he wasn't rewarding the rich. So he took back the rich people's budget dividend with the other hand. Or dd he?
I was against Labour's imposition of the 50% rate. It seemed wrong to take half of anyone's income in tax. Far better to have a universal rate of income tax, and make it the main way of raising money for public services. (By contrast, regressive VAT is little short of evil, as it steals from the poor and benefits the rich.)
But at a time when the coalition government is making the plight of the poor worse with its aggressive spending cuts it seems criminal to reward the rich. But what would you expect from a cabinet of millionaires?
The theatre of the annual budget is hugely overplayed. Back in 2007, Gordon Brown's cut in the basic tax won the plaudits. I couldn't understand how no one had noticed that the cut had been bought by axing Brown's own 10% tax rate, punishing the poor. I pointed this out in an Ertblog post - Gordon Brown's trick or treat budget. But the political storm only battered Brown a year later.
We'll see how George Osborne fares in the months to come.