måndag 7 december 2009

Punishing the bankers

Canary Wharf

Punishing the bankers with a windfall tax is this week's political big idea. The trouble is that it is based on no principle. Worse, it is retrospective and therefore contrary to a fundamental principle of jurisprudence.

It is difficult to believe that no laws or contracts have been broken. Have none of those responsible obtained money by false pretences, or failed to exercise due diligence or, indeed, reasonable professional competence? This is what needs to be investigated and tested in open court. Those found guilty or responsible should be duly punished if any crimes have been committed, sued if contracts have been broken, or both.

Windfall taxes are a blunt instrument and set a bad precedent.

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