LP Intern’s Analysis of VAT

Libertarian Party intern Daniel Murdock posts an analysis of the Value Added Tax at the LP’s website. A short selection:

Because the amount of taxation remains hidden, governments come to view a VAT as an easy and painless source of revenue, providing an incentive and opportunity for governments to expand by increasing the VAT.

50 thoughts on “LP Intern’s Analysis of VAT

  1. Erik Geib

    Daniel seems excited this was reported here. Just thought I’d pass that along.

  2. Susan Hogarth Post author

    Glad to hear it. I thought it was an interesting analysis. Not perfect (the inflation discussion, for instance, and the idea that a VAT is somehow ‘sneakier’ than a frank sales tax), but worth notice and discussion.

    Y’all should consider using *single* spaces after a stop (period). Just a personal peeve of mine 🙂

  3. Robert Capozzi

    sh, my training says otherwise…2 spaces after a period. where’d you get that convention?

  4. George Phillies


    One of the computer firms, a decade or so back, wrote a generalized spiel chequer that could tell

    R. Capozzi was right and

    R. Capozzi was wrong (spacing exaggerated for effect)

    but was not good enough to tell it was looking at something other than a single capital letter followed by a period. So it could not tell the prior period was correct. Rather than fixing their spiel chequer, they started claiming that a single space was correct, contrary to multiple centuries of English type setting.


  5. pdsa

    Robert C. – single-spacing after sentences has become a styling standard for internet mark-up because of asinine conflicts between text editors/word processors, and how their output is rendered in different browsers. Many browsers strip away multiple soft-spaces (space bar), but all will render two hard coded spaces properly. Single-space after sentences is for consistency. As far as I know, double-spacing after sentences for documents intended to be printed is still considered to be the proper style.

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Single space after a period” has been in the process of superseding double spacing for a few years now. In HTML, unless you “hard code” the extra space after a period, it disappears in Web display.

    Over time, most writers whose work product appears primarily on the Web have become used to not wasting their energy putting in spaces which will not be displayed.

    I expect that within the next decade or so, “double space after a period” will have substantially disappeared from typesetting for paper printings as well.

    Things change. No biggie — “double space after a period” is a convention, not a principle.

  7. libertariangirl

    Lol . oh you crazy Libertarians will debate anything…

    i say 2 spaces

  8. Susan Hogarth Post author

    Oh, gods, now I’ve done it.

    Next I guess we’ll start arguing about the Oxford Comma.

    After that someone will toss in a gallon of bourbon and things get -really- testy.

  9. Michael Seebeck

    Only a gallon? LOL!

    My PHD nun English professor told me that the double space was the proper way to do it, but that the advent of laziness and lately the idea of space-compaction on things like texting (and now Twittering!) has led to people going to single-space. Never argue with a nun who has a PHD–trust me on that one! 😀

    Frankly, I prefer and use the double space because it better differentiates between a period used to end a sentence versus one used for abbreviation or other uses. On question marks and exclamation points it differentiates between one used to end the sentence and one used for emphasis. Plus, if you use Word with the spacing marks on like I do, it helps the typing a lot.

    But that’s my opinion only.

    As for the VAT itself, The blog does a decent job of explaining its problems, it ignores the obvious point that the price inflation from a VAT would simply increase the underground market as a compensating means to combat the tax. It also ignores the necessary must-have sunshine attached to it so the VAT does not remain hidden throughout the widget production cycle.

    It also misses the clear illustration of a single-point VAT in use today, aka the import tariff.

  10. Jim Davidson

    Two spaces after a period ending a sentence is correct. George Phillies could not readily display what he typed because HTML conventionally disappears all but one space in a set. You can type twenty spaces in a row and most browsers will display only one.

    As George notes, there is only one space after a period ending an abbreviation such as Mr. Jones. By tradition there were two spaces after a colon that separated two full sentences.

    For many of us who have been typing since, e.g., 1975, there is no way to stop. Typing a period and two spaces is a reflex. It isn’t going to go away.

    I believe that the Modern Language Association changes its style manual so it can sell new copies. If styles remained roughly the same, especially for things like footnotes where changing the position of a parenthesis is idiotic, people would simply make copies of the style manual, or buy used copies from each other. Thus the establishment makes slaves of us all. lol

  11. Jim Davidson

    The exceptional opportunity ahead of Americans is to have both an income tax and some sort of sales tax or value added tax. The giant sloth of government wants to feed.

  12. Mik Robertson

    R U folks nuts? the real issue is not the use of single or double spaces at the end of sentences, but the silly contraction of ‘you all’.

  13. Mik Robertson

    Oh, wait. There was something about VAT. It is hidden, much like income taxes. I barely saw it through the comments.

  14. Michael Seebeck

    Mik, it’s not “you all” at all.

    To paraphrase The Foxworthy:

    You = 1
    Y’all = 2+
    You’uns = Y’all + 3


  15. Jill Stone

    Well, I think the real issue is…how come everyone is suddenly pronouncing the ‘t’ in “often”?

  16. Jill Stone

    And what about “All y’all”? I was embarrassed to ask my new in-laws what that meant.

  17. Robert Capozzi

    this was a useful discussion, if somewhat trivial. Hardly “debate.” Rodney would be pleased. 😉

    And we MAY have unanimity…two spaces after a period that ends a sentence, one space after a period mid-sentence AND in HTML.

  18. Susan Hogarth Post author

    This pretty much is my take on the period-space thing:


    The bit the writer mentions about erratic spacing in double-spaced docs has been my experience as well. When I get a doc for editing, my first step (unless the author objects) is to strip all the extra spaces. It’s not worth trying to change writers’ composition habits, as apparently some people find change difficult, but that’s why we have editors – to impose some sort of consistency from document to document within a document, and between documents within a publication.

    At the LP site, it looks like they use an external document editor (such as Word) and paste in the docs. The spacing varies from doc to doc, and often spaces are used before paragraphs (which is wrong in three ways – they should use tabs, not spaces, and the number of them should be consistent, and generally tabbing paragraphs isn’t done in web authoring).

    No big deal, really, except that the obvious lack of editing (and not just for typographical issues; there are far more serious mistakes common on the site) makes the site look amateurish. Engaging one or more volunteer editors and creating (or following) a style guide seems like it would be simple enough, and it would greatly improve the look of the site. In. My. Opinion.

  19. Robert Capozzi

    sh, chopped liver? No way! Haven’t I told you how much I love you?

    I defer to CMOS (and sometimes AP). Notice, however, that the cite says no 2 spacing for PUBLISHED docs.

    Context, then, matters. Hmm, wonder if there’s a LARGER lesson here?

  20. Michael Seebeck

    Jill, probably the same reason people are pronouncing the “s” in Illinois, when it is supposed to be silent–pure ignorance.

  21. Michael Seebeck

    Style guide? They have no idea what that is (which is one of the reasons most national documents look like crap, including the Bylaws). They definitely could use it.

    Instead we get stuff that looks like it fell out of Rodney King’s coloring book…or George W. Bush’s…

  22. Mik Robertson

    @18 “You = 1
    Y’all = 2+
    You’uns = Y’all + 3”

    In Pittsburgh the last one is further contracted to ‘Y’uns’, sometimes spelled yunz, which one of my middle school English teachers referred to as ‘barfage’. Pittsburgh is a funny place though, so national style norms should not be taken from there. It is there where chopped liver is called braunschweiger.

  23. Susan Hogarth

    Haven’t I told you how much I love you?

    Obsession != love. But I’ll take what I can get.

    Anyway, perhaps you love (or ‘love’) chopped liver, so that really says nothing.

  24. Susan Hogarth

    Notice, however, that the cite says no 2 spacing for PUBLISHED docs.

    Well, yes, DUH. Isn’t that what we’re talking about?

  25. Robert Capozzi

    sh, nope, liver ain’t a food I eat.

    Check comments 2 or 3. No mention of PUBLISHED docs.

    But, thank you, I was unfamiliar with that style convention. I still tend to hit space space after a stop, but I WILL try, I promise.

  26. Michael Seebeck

    Yeah, but that’s Pittsburgh. You’uns forgot the other side of the helmets need logos, too!

  27. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 32 AGWH, that’s a good piece, but can you give us any idea as to how much traffic the website is getting?

  28. Mik Robertson

    @33 The lack of extra weight from the additional logo on the helmet results in players being quicker and more agile, hence six rings. Yunz guys need to keep up. Cleveland should be doing better with no logos, but the water is so bad there….

  29. Richard Bartholomew

    The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed. online has this, among other things, to say about double space after a period:

    “So, in our efficient, modern world, I think there is no room for two spaces after a period. In the opinion of this particular copyeditor, this is a good thing.”

    The opinion appears in a Chicago Style Q+A article entitled “One space or two?”. The editor recognizes that some people legitimately insert two spaces. She, however, clearly prefers one space.

  30. not


    If the U.S. switched to a consumption-based VAT while winding down the corporate/personal income taxes and the capital gains tax, I’d be for it. In theory, anyway, a consumption-based VAT generates zero excess burden. Frankly, the most offensive tax on the books is the “corporate income tax,” which is supported by the “left,” yet the burden of the tax falls entirely on the workers in the form of lower wages (assuming capital can move across borders–which it can).


    Your Ph.D English prof was wrong (if she were speaking with respect to computers). With the rise of word processing software, double-spacing after a period is not necessary because the document is electronically formatted. The double-space rule was for typewriters, which obviously relied on manual formatting.

  31. Susan Hogarth

    Check comments 2 or 3. No mention of PUBLISHED docs.

    In 2, I was clearly referring to the LP’s website. That is a t of published documents.

  32. Susan Hogarth

    @32 and 34 This is going to sound super-snarky, but I don’t really think the LP’s website is the best place for showcasing exercises in high-school of college-freshmen level writing and analysis.

    Perhaps they could have an ‘intern corner’, but *even then*, these kids are having a disservice done in having their unedited (or poorly edited) writings published.

    Matt’s piece is a just a rant disguised as analysis. It needed a lot more work before it should have seen publication. In. My. opinion.

  33. A Girl Who Knows

    Susan’s just mad because she recently found out what a bitch she was.

  34. Mik Robertson

    @39 The original article appeared to me to be an opinion piece. The post on IPR indicated it was an analysis of the VAT, which it is not. Maybe that is part of the problem.

    That said, I agree that when it comes to writing analysis or policy papers it should be done by someone at a little higher pay grade than intern. Opinion pieces by interns are fine, and I don’t see any problem with one in question, including the spacing after the end of a sentence.

  35. Michael H. Wilson

    @ # 39. Susan who is Matt whom you refer to in the last paragraph? This piece was written by Daniel.

    Secondly this piece has problems no doubt, but it is better than much that has been produced lately. I’ve seen worse in the news papers from national columnists. Let’s give Daniel credit for his work and if we make comments then make positive comments.

    Sometimes knowing how to give positive criticism is the hardest part.

  36. Susan Hogarth

    Mik and Michael,

    I considered the VAT piece to be more analytical than opinion, although it did come to a conclusion.

    My reference to Matt was regarding the piece mentioned in comment 32, not Daniel’s piece.

    I did praise Daniel’s piece; the other (Matt’s) I simply said I did not consider ready for publication. I don’t think the LP’s website should be used as an exercise book by government students.

    I once rec’d a rejection note from Lew Rockwell that read simply “Susan, sorry”. I wasn’t sure if that was his commentary on the piece or just sympathy 😉 But it *was* a sorry piece, and I’m grateful it was never published. On the other hand, I’ve had stuff published that was middling quality to begin with (and NOT copyedited by the publisher), and then *reposted* a year or two later. When I saw it the first time, I could stomach it (though I pity the poor readers), but the second time it was positively painful.

  37. Michael Seebeck

    Actually, I heard they only put the logo on one side so Bradshaw would be able to put his helmet on forwards.

  38. Michael Seebeck


    My English prof was correct, whether you think so or not. Single-space in word-processing is a function of simple laziness and an inability to program file formats under the hood correctly. The advance in technology is no excuse for not doing it correctly.

    And if you can’t use a typewriter, you have no appreciation for the print history that has led to using a computer

  39. Susan Hogarth

    My English prof was correct, whether you think so or not.

    Well, no. The style guide of the publication in question is *correct*. In the absence of a style guide, we get to have these lovely discussions.

    And if you can’t use a typewriter, you have no appreciation for the print history that has led to using a computer

    If you can’t knap flint, you have no appreciation for the knife industry that has led to chain-saws.

    If you can’t make a clay pot, you have no appreciation for the vessel industry that has led to using porcelain.

    If you can’t harness a horse, you have no appreciation for the auto industry that has led to using cars.


  40. Donald Raymond Lake

    Thank you Sue [and you know that I am not a fan] some of the most logical, best written stuff I have seen from you.

    Just one person’s opinion……

    and Seebeck, just being Michael!

  41. Michael H. Wilson

    I don’t know if anyone cares at this point, but according to the AP Style Book one space is used after a period at the end of a sentence.

  42. Michael Seebeck

    Sorry Don and Susan, but I defer to my professors. Style guides are just that, guides, and they didn’t grade or proofread my term papers in college.

    And Don, when you graduate from the CP, let us know, OK?

  43. Erik Geib

    For what it’s worth, I tend to stray from having anything I write published on the site, and I’m older than all the other interns. :p

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