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Some decades ago there was a temporary alliance of economic writers from across the political spectrum in favour of what we fondly called expansionist economic policies. At the height of this campaign I invited for lunch the late Frank Blackaby, of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. To my surprise he spent the first part of the lunch sulking. My crime, it turned out, was to have conceded that Selwyn Lloyd was right to adjust some of the confiscatory upper marginal tax rates, inherited from the wartime period, which had become simply a penalty on those who did…

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