Sales tax is still regressive, gravity still sucks, and George Osborne is still a delusional ideologue

In 2010, UK Chancellor George Osborne surprised the world's economists by declaring that VAT (the UK's ubiquitous sales- and value-added tax) was a progressive tax; this is surprising because there's widespread agreement that sales-taxes are regressive, and bite harder on poor people than rich people. Now the Office of National Statistics has confirmed what economists (except Mr Osborne) already knew: VAT is inherently regressive: "the poorest fifth spent 9.8% of their disposable income on goods attracting VAT in 2009/10, while the richest fifth spent 5.3%." Of course, VAT was only 17.5% then. I'm sure things are much better now that it's 20%.

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