A few years ago a senior Customs and Excise plod was on TV ponderously pronouncing that smuggling 'was costing the taxpayer £60 million a year'. Nope. It was costing the government a tiny part of its revenue, but it was a saving to the enterprising taxpayers involved.
Now we have Darling and Brown pronouncing that the Tories' timid promise not to implement the regime's tax on employment, grotesquely misnamed National Insurance, would be 'taking money out of the economy'. So, 'the economy' is only that money collected and disbursed by the state. Where do they think it comes from?
Actually, Brown has read a few economics text books, and one supposes Darling may have done so as well, so this is just standard Campbell/Mandelweasel 'say anything and see if it sticks'. But it does stick with about 27 percent of the electorate, which is disheartening.
On the plus side, the New Labour 'project' was always about making so many people state-dependent that it would bring about a one party state. With over 50 percent of GDP now controlled by the state, a 27 percent payroll vote is actually an indication that the electorate is not quite as gullible as the 'project' supposed.
It is not even an untried idea: the American 'progressives' tried to make themselves 'the party of government' under Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt. And they are at it again under Obama. As a scheme it falls down on the fact that government employees are also consumers of services, and that over-manning and feather-bedding actually disgusts the best among them.