Sunday, 22 August 2010

Never Trust The State...

...whether it's telling fibs about WMDs, pushing back the date that you can get hold of your pension, or changing the rules on pretty much anything you choose to mention, the state, certainty and the truth have a slippery relationship. As behavioural economics points out, it's always hard to make the right decisions, but when levels of uncertainty are raised even higher by government behaviour, doing the right thing becomes even more difficult. So whatever you think of government subsidies for the purchase of new bikes, one thing is clear from recent events - you shouldn't assume that what you think the government is going to do is what the government will actually do. So a recent Guardian article pointed out that HM Revenue and Customs is taking a more hard-line interpretation of the final values of those carefully selected new bikes under the Cycle to Work scheme. And a subsequent article pointed out, maybe the rules won't be changed. Bringing even more confusion to the picture. Wouldn't it be nice if the state could play by the rules of certainty, consistency and predictability - so that we could all make better decisions (and no, I'm not one of those who are potentially losing out - I didn't sign up to the scheme because the crucial piece of information - the treatment of final values of those nice new bikes - was just so unclear).


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