In an otherwise reasonable article arguing that paying cash for plumbing / building services is perfectly fine no matter what the Government may think, the Torygraph's Cristina Odone has a corker of an argument:
A buoyant black economy kept Italians prosperous for decades even when their Treasury was bankrupt.OK, Cristina, so why do you think the Italian (and indeed the Greek) Treasury is bankrupt. Shortage of income, perhaps? Tax, perchance? Gah.
I am not suggesting that Britons adopt the illegal Italian way, where paying taxes is seen as a task for stupid people.Thank goodness. I'm no more fond of paying tax than the next person, but a government has certain vital social and national tasks that can't be done without money. A situation where most citizens take more from the government in benefits than they receive is simply poisonous.
There is a more nuanced argument to be made, and I'm surprised Cristina doesn't advance it (perhaps she hit the word limit for her column?). If the natural tendency of governments is to spend all their income plus X%, and the behaviour of governments to date gives us no reason to disbelieve this proposition, then minimising the government's income will bring forward the point (when N years times X% forms nearly 100% of GDP) when the government is forced by the markets to realise that things can't go on like this.