Leaving aside that whole paradox-of-thrift thing (and that’s a big “leaving aside” at the moment), I don’t think that there can be much doubt that this is a country that needs to reinvent a savings culture — and fairly quickly. In an entertaining piece over at the Business Insider, John Carney and Joe Wiesenthal list some of the ways that government is discouraging people from doing just that. Some of the items are debatable, but all are worth pondering. That said, I’d add the failure to adjust taxable capital gains for inflation (and — thinking aloud — maybe taxable interest income, too) and, more generally, the need to weight any future tax increases more towards consumption (differential rates for different items could offset at least some of the regressive effect) than income. And could that latter comment imply that the answer lies in some sort of VAT? For all that unlovely tax’s undoubted drawbacks, perhaps.