I am happy to say that I have never seen Jimmy Carr do his comedian act but, I understand, it is the usual "let's bash the bankers and rich people and anyone who is not part of the trendy left" variety. Indeed, a number of people I know have expressed some surprise that he is described as a comedian at all. But I digress.
The problem with Carr is two-fold: he has avoided taxes (a completely legal and, indeed, legitimate) action and he has done so after making all sorts of nasty sneering attacks on bankers and their like who avoid taxes. In this, Mr Carr is no different from Comrade Livingstone who was caught out during the Mayoral election campaign. That sort of hypocrisy, not exactly unknown among the Left, makes one laugh helplessly.
On the other hand, the idea of a Conservative Prime Minister calling the actual tax avoidance not the hypocrisy immoral is only funny to those of us who never believed in the Boy-King's credentials as a true conservative. He is a big-statist and a man who believes in high taxes because he believes that people should have their lives run by the state and not have the choice to do what they want with their money. His Chancellor, a disaster if ever there was one, is endlessly thinking of schemes that might get rid of legitimate tax avoidance or allows people to decide to give their money to charity, as it were, or to spend it on their children's education. Then Georgy-Porgy has to retract or do a U-turn.
The truth is that we all avoid taxes if we can. Every time we buy ISAs or look for a savings account that pays less tax we are doing just that and, indeed, we should be. There is nothing immoral in it. It is highly moral not to give more money than is absolutely necessary to the state to squander on huge pharaonic projects as well as regulatory disasters (just to name two things the state does). Let us not even consider how many of us pay cash for work rendered because that is the only way to avoid huge amounts of bureaucracy as well as evade VAT.
Here is a highly entertaining article by Mark Littlewood, Director of the IEA, on how he avoids tax, though he does admit sheepishly that he is not as good at it as Jimmy Carr. Though, I suspect Mr Littlewood is not about to cave in publicly on the subject. I also suspect that when the hue and cry dies down, Mr Carr will go back to using whatever scheme saves him more money.
And the solution: well how about a less complicated system of lower taxes? Could that be achieved? The Taxpayers' Alliance has produced a report, which suggests that it is possible to do so. Of course, we do need a government that believes in low taxation and small state. Not sure how we are going to achieve that.