Janic Turner wrote in The Times recently:
The disturbing thing about Alistair Darling’s Budget was not that it extracted a few extra thou from the few, the fortunate 350,000 or so who already enjoy six times the average British salary. It was the implication that taxation for the rich is a punishment, some vindictive redress for the misdeeds of the bankrupting bankers called for by a torches-and- pitchfork-wielding posse, rather than what it should be, what it is for the rest of us: an enduring social obligation, a mark of citizenship, a duty.
And a decade of wealth worship perpetuated the notion that money turns people into delicate super-beings who might take fright at mortal rules and financial regulation. The Â£30k flat tax imposed on non-doms last year – a sum Notting Hill bankers might spend unthinkingly on flying their family to Antigua for Christmas – was received with threats, as yet empty, of escape to Gstaad. And now we learn that if our wealthiest few pay 50 per cent tax on earnings over Â£150,000 it could kill their work ethic entirely. While most of us toil to pay the mortgage, to keep our jobs or – weird thought – to contribute to society, the rich… well, take away a tiny fragment more and they might just stop trying, or give up altogether. If people now revile the rich – and The Times poll yesterday suggests that 57 per cent regard the tax hike as fair – it is because so many have spent a decade being loathsome.
All spot on, of course. What I find interesting are the hypocritical arguments used by many about the economy.
1) Where is the actual evidence that raising taxes to 50% will lead to lower tax receipts? The Laffer curve is a theory – I’d like to see actual evidence.
2) Why is the thinking that lower pay will lead to a flight of talent not applied to public sector workers? That’s the first thing Tories want to cut – why not assume talent will also leave there, leaving us with less talented teachers, doctors and police constables?
3) How it is ‘class-war’ if it only affects less than half a million people out of a population of 60 million? The right-wing media really is insane.
4) Why should we have sympathy for ‘wealth creators’ who only destroyed all the wealth created over the last decade? Where is the evidence that courting these tax dodgers is good for the economy over the long term, instead of ordinary people who earn less than Â£100,000? We should be rewarding the hard-working middle-classes not the freeloading, tax evading super-rich.
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Filed in: Economics,Economy