Leading article

How to make the rich pay more tax

9 April 2016

9:00 AM

9 April 2016

9:00 AM

The 11 million documents leaked from Panama lawyers Mossack Fonseca tell us much that we know already. It’s hardly news that the Central American state is a popular destination for those who dislike paying tax. But to obsess about this aspect of the story, as so many did this week, would be to miss the most striking discovery, which is just how many politicians and government officials have been using Panama to disguise their extraordinary wealth.

Few were under any illusions about Vladimir Putin being a good and faithful public servant, yet it comes as a surprise that he appears to have a personal fortune that would have made the tsars look like paupers. According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which has analysed the 11 million leaked documents, friends and associates of the Russian leader have channelled $2 billion through Panama over the years.

At least 140 other politicians have been using banking facilities in Panama. Many of the names might be expected — from members of the Assad family to the king of Saudi Arabia, and Hosni Mubarak, the former president of Egypt. Others were more surprising, such as Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, the prime minister of Iceland (who has now resigned). David Cameron is also caught up in the revelations, albeit at a remove. The Downing Street aide who tried to dismiss revelations about an offshore trust run by the Prime Minister’s late father as a purely private matter should watch the television pictures of the protests in Reykjavik. Nothing fuels anger so much as politicians burdening their people with taxes while seeking cosy offshore arrangements for themselves.

You cannot blame a son for the opportunistic financial arrangements of his father, even if they did help pay his school fees. The Prime Minister heads a government that has outlawed some of the practices his father employed to avoid paying tax on a trust that he ran. But Cameron also heads a government that charges one of the highest top rates of tax in the world: 47 per cent, once National Insurance is included. It is a policy that could have been designed to help the accountants who come up with perfectly legal yet definitely shifty schemes involving places like Panama.


The answer lies not in Jeremy Corbyn’s extraordinary suggestion this week that the government should impose direct control on the British Virgin Islands and other overseas territories that are used as tax havens. It would be better for Britain to create a tax system that attracts business rather than sending it scurrying for cover. There is, after all, no point in extolling the benefits of globalisation if you are not prepared to accept that businesses are now highly mobile in their tax affairs: countries must compete. And a Britain that taxes people at a confiscatory rate of 47 per cent is not very competitive. The Chancellor knows that the Treasury is losing money as a result, but he has not found the courage to reduce it to the 40 per cent rate of the Labour years.

In opposition, George Osborne was an advocate of much flatter taxes — eliminating special treatment for the few in favour of lower rates for everyone. He recently pointed out that when he cut the top rate from 52 per cent, there was an increase in tax revenue of several billion pounds. He wanted to reduce the top rate to 40 per cent in the last parliament but was vetoed by Nick Clegg. Who is vetoing him now?

Closing loopholes will not solve the problem. The Chancellor had it right first time: a flatter, fairer, simpler tax system is the most effective way of drawing money back from the tax havens.

You read it here first

A year ago, The Spectator broke the story about Kids Company and the antics of its founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh. The charity was squandering donors’ money. Civil servants wanted to stop any more government resources being misspent but they had, outrageously, been overruled by the Prime Minister’s office.

Miles Goslett’s report revealed every major fact of the scandal. It took the newspapers and the BBC months to pick up his trail. This week, the London Press Club judged his article to be Scoop of the Year — one of the most coveted awards in British journalism.

It was a hotly contested category, which showed the enduring vitality of British newspapers. The Sunday Times was nominated for its agenda-setting exposé on athletics doping, the Sun on Sunday for revealing Lord Sewel’s cocaine habit, and the Daily Mirror for disclosing how the Hatton Garden diamond thieves pulled off their heist.

To win against such competition is testimony first and foremost to the courage and tenacity of Mr Goslett. It’s also a reminder that, while The Spectator has always brought its readers the finest reviews, opinions and analysis, our scoops can also rank among the very best.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • Rik

    Now one name i would really really love to pop up in the Panama Papers would be Russell Brand,you know the leftard anti-capitalist champagne socialist who “rents” his multi-million London house from an offshore trust,he does seem to go into meltdown if anybody asks about this trust,hope he is on the list,it would make my day.

    • Hear hear. I would froth at the mouth with glee.

    • Andrew Cole

      He might not directly but all those films and projects of his that the rich invested in to avoid tax might appear.

    • Tamerlane

      Charlotte Church anyone?

    • Leon Wolfeson

      And there’s your fantasies…

  • Teflon_Don

    “You cannot blame a son for the opportunistic financial arrangements of his father.” Did Cameron inherit any of his fortune from his father’s tax-avoidance?

    • DBF

      There is a difference between tax avoidance, which is legal, and tax evasion which is not.

    • MikePage

      That seems probable, doesn’t it? And so what??

  • Freddythreepwood

    ‘ The Downing Street aide who tried to dismiss revelations about an offshore trust run by the Prime Minister’s late father as a purely private matter should watch the television pictures of the protests in Reykjavik. Nothing fuels anger so much as politicians burdening their people with taxes while seeking cosy offshore arrangements for themselves.’

    Which the Prime Minister didn’t do. So what’s your point?

  • Tamerlane

    ‘…it comes as a surprise that he (Putin) appears to have a personal fortune that would have made the tsars look like paupers…’

    It doesn’t. He is the richest man in the world and has been for a long time, there are dozens of fearful exiled oligarchs scattered across London who have been singing this from every roof top that’ll support their boss leather Gucci’s for many years now. You lot just haven’t been listening that’s all.

  • Alex

    Ahh what a surprise. I wondered how long it would be before someone at the Speccie suggested we can make the rich pay more tax by introducing measures to tax them less.

  • DBF

    Those who are better off financially already pay more tax due to their purchasing power. And it can be argued that they use less services than those who are poorer (no public transit, healthier diet so less drain on the healthcare system, etc.). While I am not rich I did work hard to pay my way through university, earned undergraduate and graduate degrees, and set myself up for a decent career. Why should I be taxed more heavily than someone who barely finished high school, works at a lower paying job, and probably uses more government services than I do? I don’t know how a fair system could be set up, but I do know that it is unfair to punish those who worked hard to be successful.

    • Andrew Cole

      Its a misleading headline. the problem is those at the top not paying what they should be if they played by the same rules that those below them have no choice but to.

      Those in the middle like yourself are already paying more than you should be needing to because of those above you. Most of those below you realise that their lives are being subsidised by those above them even if they don’t know how to convey their gratitude for it.

    • AnnS

      Ummm…because the less educated (and probably less intellectually able) are the ones cleaning your office, waiting on your table at the restaurant, ringing up your purchases, stocking the shelves in the store…

      It takes a certain amount of money to keep a person fed, housed, clothed, transported to work, in good health and raising the next generation of clerks and waiters.

      You can pay for the services you use in one of two ways

      (1) Pay much much more for the goods and services so the workers can be paid more so they can pay for all that stuff themselves

      (2) Pay more in taxes so they can be given government assistance to take care of basic needs

      Hmmmm… there is a 3rd way. Tell the waiter he has to live under a bridge, hit trash cans for food and die from flu because he can’t afford medical care …and walk whatever to work so he can still wait on your table. Of course in this 3rd way there is a huge downside — the peasants get cranky and tend to revolt violently.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Excellent answer.

    • M P Jones

      It is called socialism, DBF. It is an ideology based on the theory that those who are too stupid, lazy and incompetent to pay their own way through life should with impunity be able to steal the lives of those who do produce, create and behave responsibly, one of the nastiest and most repulsive ideologies ever invented by man. I am not interested in benefiting from a welfare state, nor in paying for one, nor, however, in being forced to move abroad. So I use every legal means of tax reduction I can – nothing shifty about that. It is simple self-defence against an ever growing greedy state. We badly need an anti-tax party in this country, especially in view of a monetary policy aimed squarely at wiping out savers.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      “Those who are better off financially already pay more tax due to their purchasing power.”

      No, because they earn more. In fact, they spend a smaller proportion of their money than poorer people. As you complain about society, and want the poor to pay and pay… you think it’s “unfair” for the very concept of progressive… as you say tax is punishment, after taking advantage of the system and society which LET you succeed…the one in good part paid for with tax…

  • TrulyDisqusted

    Every article I’ve read about the Panama Papers has the throw in line about Putin – even though every article clearly states that is his friends and associates who are apparently named within, ie not the man himself.

    If we are all guilty by association then everyone at the BBC, Westminster, Royalty, Charities etc etc etc who was ever photographed smiling next to Jimmy Saville should embrace their newly acquired status as child molesters and rapists.

    Meanwhile, not a single American was named by the Panama Papers, perhaps they prefer Delaware?

    • Andrew Cole

      They haven’t released all the leaks yet. The American’s are yet to be released and the main journalist has already replied to questions on this by saying “you will not be disappointed”

      • TrulyDisqusted

        They’ve had the list for over a year.

        They’re picking off folks they don’t like or won’t play ball and using them as an example to blackmail the rest? Otherwise, they’d bust put it all a line and let the world and its tax authorities do what they wish with it, but they don’t want to do that because knowledge is Power.

        Did you know the consortium of journalists hand picked a year ago and given this prize is funded amongst others by George Soros?

        • Andrew Cole

          There is a lot of info and they aren’t releasing the actual info to protect innocent people’s details. They sifted through it and it is planned.

          I think you can see that the first installment has removed 1 PM from his seat and another is under severe pressure too.

          We will have to see who gets the bullet in the next instalment but you have to see that they are leaking each wave and giving it time to resonate. Once can only assume this is the small stuff and they are building to a crescendo.

          • TrulyDisqusted

            So why do you think they got rid of Icelands PM first?

            A: because he’s the world’s largest tax evader….
            B: they don’t own him, but his replacement is onside?

            No one else see a pattern here? Since Thatcher, we’ve seen leader after leader deposed as soon as they say no to Globalisation/NWO/the 1%, call it what you will.

            In Pocket politicians make it to the top and stay there, those who won’t play ball get 24/7 negative media coverage, removed or economic and financial sanctions and regime changed…

          • Andrew Cole

            Take out the small ones first, go for the big guns at the end. I don’t think anyone thought Cameron would be in so much trouble here.

            When the American ones come out I would be hugely surprised if a nonchalant thinks he’s teflon businessman isn’t in there somewhere alongside some links to foundation donors or even runners of foundations. I think Sanders may well get a free ride if this is timed how I suspect!!

          • TrulyDisqusted

            Yes, but for every one exposed, there will be thousand (probably even more guilty) whose names and financial affairs will never make headlines because they are still useful/in the club.

            My problem with this is who is the puppet master pulling strings? Who is deciding who is exposed next Who is it with the power to blackmail or bring down governments and on who’s behalf are they wielding that power?

          • Andrew Cole

            If you topple the big guns the house of cards will follow. There is obviously more interest in delving deeper into the big guns spiderwebs and where those webs link out to will be done over time afterwards.

    • Child_of_Thatcher

      FATCA makes tax avoidance very difficult for Americans.

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        What a shame they couldn’t think of a word beginning with ‘T’ to tag onto the end…

  • Andrew Cole

    Never mind “How to make the rich pay more tax?”

    Lets start at step 1 first:

    How to make the rich be honest about not paying tax?

    • MikePage

      I’m not paying your tax for you.

      What do you mean?

      • Andrew Cole

        You have passed step 1 being honest, now the headline question can be asked.

  • right1_left1

    Im afraid I just cant develop the rquired sense of outrage about people arranging affairs to minimise tax.

    UK tax is far too high and is often used to engender the sense of entitlement that obviously exists.
    I have posted before and I repeat because it is true: support provided by tax crosses social/class boundaries.
    It is not just largesse targetted to those at the bottom of the pile.

    The legal eagles , middle to upper middle class to the bone are a case in point !

    • davidofkent

      That’s absolutely fine. I wonder if you have thought about the real situation with tax havens. If everyone could use tax havens, that would be fine and dandy. Unfortunately, it is only those with very large sums of money who can avoid paying any of it into the tax system that provides most things in this country. UK tax is far too high, so firstly, let’s remove some government spending. Foreign Aid can go. Funding to the NHS can be cut by forcing people to take out some health insurance. Welfare can be cut by removing benefits for simply procreating. The light savers now avoid paying any tax on their savings income (pitiful as it is) through ISAs and the new savings allowance. Unfortunately, many more people are dragged into the 40% income tax band each year so that many others on lower pay need pay no tax. It’s a little more complicated than you suggest and I have only just got started!

      • right1_left1

        Im not clear why you have concluded I believe major reductions to tax and borrowing both having major social consequences would be easy.
        If effective it certainly couldn’t be done quickly and once the negative effects (which will occur before advantages ‘kick in’ )became apparent the ‘opposition’ party would take advantage and so the whole spiral would continue.

        I also think it is true that once the sequestered money is returned from the havens tax is due. Capital gains probably.
        Then when spent VAT will be added.

        Various allowances paid from high tax help maintain high prices.
        Housing benefits for one and tax credits for another.

        Dont jump to the conclusion that I am a total right wing free marketeer or that I am opposed to all collectivism.
        Both of these can be taken to extremes.

  • Pretty_Polly

    Hello,

    My name is David Cameron of Brussels and Panama and my aim is to destroy Britain as you know and love it.

    That is why I have admitted over 750,000 migrants and asylum seekers in the last 12 months alone, why I support eastern extension of the EU and why I have done virtually nothing to stop illegals entering the country and remaining forever. I will of course repeat these policies this year and every year during my premiership.

    Up and down the country, I am told that my plans are working perfectly as people find they are becoming ‘Strangers Where They Live’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/9831912/I-feel-like-a-stranger-where-I-live.html and I am delighted my Defence Minister, Michael Fallon, has told me that our towns and cities are being enrichingly ‘swamped with immigrants’ http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/oct/26/british-towns-swamped-immigrants-michael-fallon-eu

    As the ‘Heir to Blair’ and Blairmore, I am proud to be continuing the pro immigration policies adopted by my close friends in the Labour Party and to be able to develop such ideas to extinguish ‘Britishness’ wherever it may be found. That is why I have abolished many of the planning rules in order to build huge anonymous new towns and cities in what was the unnecessary and socially divisive English countryside http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3463832/Couple-discovered-300-000-dream-cottage-soon-surrounded-700-home-estate-hearing-neighbour-walked-dogs.html

    I will soon be holding the long awaited confirmation of my views and opinions that Britain should remain an EU member forever and I will personally ensure that the Remain campaign is full of lies, threats and propaganda to obtain the highly desirable Remain outcome, thereby wiping the floor with a blonde haired mop. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Johnson

    As you will understand from the foregoing, I am extremely excited about the forthcoming abolition of Britain and ‘Britishness’ by my friends in the European Union who have assured me that a new name has already been decided for these very small inconsequential islands..

    Consequently, to further the re-writing of British history and the destruction of British traditions, they have chosen ‘EU Sector North West’ which must now be written below your postcode or your mail will no longer be delivered.

    God Save The President of the EU Commission. Rule Jean Claude Juncker.

    Yours sincerely

    David Cameron

    Governor General EU NW – Designate.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      If you want to meet the immigrants, take taxis.

  • JohnnyNorfolk

    Make the tax system far more simple. Get rid of tax on emissions and the like. Money earned in britan you pay tax in britain when we leave the EU we can do it.

    • Disqus Bolloqus

      The EU is not preventing us from simplifying the tax regime

      • JohnnyNorfolk

        Of course they are. They allow a company to base itself in any EU country and pay the tax there. We could insist that tax is paid on the income from our country. whilst in the EU we are not allowed to do that.

        • Disqus Bolloqus

          And you suppose a British government would legislate to change this if we leave EU? Do you enjoy living in cloud cuckoo land?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Tax aircraft fuel. Even at 0.5% it would raise a fortune, and cut the number of planes annoying people, and cut pollution (and thus the need for other ‘green taxes’. Win win.

      • JohnnyNorfolk

        The EU will not allow us to do that on our own..

  • justejudexultionis

    The Establishment is attempting to deflect attention away from David Cameron’s offshore activities. Hence, The DT is now running a non-story about Welby’s genetic father as its headlines. Pure cynical bull**** designed to deflect attention away from the widespread corruption and hypocrisy of the political class.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      DNA the Royals. Distraction guaranteed.

    • WilliamCuthbertson1

      Actually, the dignity and grace with which the Archbishop dealt with a potentially difficult situation shows up Cameron’s absolute stupidity rather brilliantly.

  • Lilliam.Nelson

    Aunty JULIE makes 74 dollars every hour on the internet . She has been unemployed for eight months but last month her check was 16383 bucks just working on the internet for a few hours. use this link,,,,,,,,,,http://ExcellentofferFreelance/ILgwvoR6LnsqtHM

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  • Jojje 3000

    Let’s be honest about it, I really don’t want to pay taxes at current rates. The public sector is wasting money and has become a cosy dwelling for leftist people.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Do you suggest the 150,000 Police, 350,000 members of the armed services and MoD, 40,000 firefighters and 50,000 GPs are all lefties in it for a cosy life?

      • Jojje 3000

        These areas are not where the tax money is spent. 480.000 personnel is a small fraction of the public sector.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          We spend £45 billion on the military, £20 billion on the police, £10 billion on GP practice’s.
          Perhaps the lefties you talk of are our surgeons or radiologists,maybe some nurses or our headteachers. Could it be our Communist binmen or the Stalinists at the Dept of Transport building new roads. It could be the Leninists who now run the Environmental Health or the Marxist run DEFRA.
          I’m sure you can explain it in more detail.

  • JohnnyNorfolk

    I do not blame people for avoiding tax. I just wish I could.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      The more tax the Revenue collects, the more the politicians have to squander on pointless projects, like overseas aid.
      And besides, isn’t donating funds to a terrorist organization an offence under the Prevention of Terrorism Act?

  • Tory boy

    The rich pay more than their fare share. They also spend more and utilise less public services. All this anti rich nonsense is part of the left wing cancer engulfing us. Cameron being a shallow idiot went all lefty so deserves what he gets. Even though technically there was nothing illegal and avoidance is not evasion. Except if you are a lefty and you view things differently as their brains are wired up in a bitter screwed up way.

    • Disqus Bolloqus

      Yes, but do they pay more than their fair share?

      • And who, precisely, is qualified to define “fair share”?
        Certainly not the jealous, spiteful ne’er do wells!
        Nor the class warriors of the Left!
        All taxation is theft.

        • red2black

          It must be easier to take the hit the more money you have, because you’re still left with the most.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Someone on £20,000 pays 16.2% of income as tax and NICs. Keeping £321 a week.
            Someone on £80,000 pays 26% and gets to keep £1134 per week.

          • Tamerlane

            Quite right too. Aspiration, ambition and achievement should all be rewarded. Delighted it is so.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          Taxation belongs to the state. They create money. Keeping it is theft. Do you not understand money?

          • hobspawn

            “Taxation belongs to the state.”

            …and to whom does the state belong? The state only owns the paper, not the value it represents.

          • Tamerlane

            A little too advanced for him that comment, he won’t get that.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            It’s based on the production of workers, not the bosses.

      • Father Todd Unctious

        You say the rich pay an unfair share. The rich pay VAT, Road tax and excise dutie at the same rate as the poor. They pay 2% NICs above £43,000 while the poor pay 12%. Someone on £ 1 million pa pays just 37% of this as income tax , while someone on £50,000 pays 18%. One twentieth of the income but the tax rate only halves.
        Now the rich pay much lower CT and Capital Gains too.

        • Colin

          Pretty much everything you’ve written here, is inaccurate. The last time I looked, I paid 47% of everything I earn to the treasury. Beyond ISA and pensions, I have no opportunity to avoid tax.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Like most of the well off you misunderstand marginal taxation. You are looking at headline rates. At £150,000 per year one pays 45% tax and 2% Nics, but only on the excess over £150,000. The first £32,000 is taxed at 20% plus 12% NICs, like everyone else. The next £118,000 is taxed at 40% plus 2%.
            The tax on an income of £500,000 a year ( which is 18 times average pay) totals £211,000 or 42% of the total.
            The NICs would be £13,000 or 2.6%…giving 44.6%. However that assumes you make no tax free contributions to a pension.
            I have not done the maths yet but in order to be handing over 47% of everything you earn you would need to make no pension contribution and earn close to £2.7 million a year. So I have serious doubts about you claim.
            Could you point out what is inaccurate . You say nearly everything. But the rich pay the same rate of VATand excises as everyone else.

          • Colin

            There are no allowances for anyone paying the top rate. It’s a straight 47% on everything you earn. But, you knew that, didn’t you?

          • Father Todd Unctious

            You misunderstand tax. Or you have a useless accountant. People whose income exceeds £100,000 per year lose £1 of the personal allowance for each £2 earned over the threshold. So effectively lose the personal allowance at £122,000 per year. However the first tranche of £32,000 is still taxed at 20% and the next £118,000 at 40%.
            As for NICs the man on £1 million pays 2.3% of his income while the lady on £50,000 pays 8.7%.

        • Disqus Bolloqus

          So, do the rich pay their fair share?

          • Father Todd Unctious

            No.

        • hobspawn

          “Someone on £ 1 million pa pays just 43% of this as income tax , while someone on £50,000 pays 18%. One twentieth of the income but the tax rate only effectively halves.”

          One of the funniest comments I’ve read in years. Arithmetic is never the strong point of brainless lefties. You want the income tax rate to be proportional across incomes? Have you thought this through? Let’s say that someone on 50k pays 3% income tax. What rate should someone on 5 million pay? 300%?

          • Father Todd Unctious

            I am at a complete loss to understand your post. This discussion was initiated by someone’s inability to grasp numbers now you compound it. Nobody but nobody will ever pay 47% of their income as tax. That is just the maximum rate.
            Someone who earns £1 million per year and makes no pension contribution pays approximately £430,000 in tax. 43%.
            My point is the rich bleat too much. The poorer folk pay a lot too. I would increase the top rate to 48% and move the threshold to £200,000.

          • hobspawn

            You said this: “One twentieth of the income but the tax rate only effectively halves.” You are implying that the tax rate should be proportional to income. The reductio ad absurdum above shows that your silly suggestion will require high earners to pay more tax than they earn. Labour tried it in the ’70s and talent left never to return, along with jobs and national solvency. Progress is impossible while simple lessons like that are beyond the wit of inumerate lefties.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            I am implying that the rich should moan less. Even those earning £40,000 a week get to keep £22,000 of it.
            You make an incorrect inference in your keenness to defend the indefensible.

          • hobspawn

            “Even those earning £40,000 a week get to keep £22,000 of it.”

            How extraordinarily generous. I hope they get good value for money from the £18,000 compulsorily seized on threat of imprisonment by their superiors.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            £40,000 a week. £1,000 an hour or £2.1 million PA. Is more than most earn in a lifetime. 75 times average pay.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            No, they’re free to leave Britain.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you deny tax rates before the 70’s. And in other countries. As you talk about “progress” to your failed state, as you blame the existence of other views…

          • Tamerlane

            He hasn’t a clue. He’s brainless and driven by failure.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      The rich patently pay insufficient. The rich do not spend more. They remove demand from the economy. While they obviously use up far more public services. The rich use the courts more, they use roads more ,they use airports and railways more. They need employees and they need customers. The state educates them and keeps them healthy.
      The rich are not just greedy, they are ungrateful.

      • Tamerlane

        More opinion. No fact. You need a new tune.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          That is your flawed opinion. Not fact.

          • Tamerlane

            It is my opinion. Yes! You’re making progress. Well done YSBH, lollipop for you.

      • Colin

        The top 1% of UK tax payers contribute circa 28% of all income tax. Most of these people are happy to tolerate this. At what point do you think that tolerance will snap? Into the bargain, I’m assuming that you do realise that every single component of public services, including the ridiculous (by private sector standards) pension schemes, is funded by the people you demonise?

        • Father Todd Unctious

          The top 1% have close to 28% of all wealth and income. So that seems fair.
          Public sector pensions are funded 80% by the workers themselves in salary foregone.

          • hobspawn

            If you take away wealth as the reward for success, what reward will you offer? The honours system? Perhaps you prefer the Soviet system.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            In 1976 the 1% had 8% of wealth. If you carry on rewarding them at this rate they will have all the money by 2070.

          • hobspawn

            “In 1976 the 1% had 8% of wealth. If you carry on rewarding them at this rate they will have all the money by 2070.”

            “Relatively.”

            You would rather the poor were poorer, provided the rich were less rich.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w15kDYI8s8

          • Father Todd Unctious

            The Tories have made wealth and aspiration dirty words. Greed . Selfish base greed.

          • hobspawn

            “The Tories have made wealth and aspiration dirty words.”

            Perhaps to you and your cohorts of privileged Corbynist millenials, but the real culprit is the old enemy, envy. You will go on arguing about your right to the income of others till you die, but Thatcher was right: you would rather the poor were poorer, provided the rich were less rich.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            No I don’t. I just see the Tories as the enemy of initiative and ordinary folk. They are the torch carriers of nepotism and elitism. I am just so pleased they are being found out.
            Like I said when Corbyn was elected leader. Now for some proper opposition. Keep squirming Tory boy.

          • hobspawn

            I have never voted Tory. I don’t need to vote Tory to find daft your anachronistic left-wing drivel.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            No, the Tories are evidently far to leftist for you and your utter intolerance of other views.

          • hobspawn

            “I just see the Tories as the enemy of initiative and ordinary folk.”

            The century of Labour has been a century of dismal decline. Innovation died with the growth of union power. Unions hate innovation and will stop it at any cost, even if it means self-destruction. Labour supports them in this. Nineteenth century Britain showed plenty of innovation, even when the Tories were in power. I have never voted Tory btw.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            In the last century Britons invented ;TV, jet engines, cats eyes, LED lighting, the Bombe and Colossus computers, the atomic clock, carbon fibre, Concorde, laptops, the worldwide web, graphene and pioneered DNA and discovered the Higgs Boson.

          • hobspawn

            What’s really sad about your perfunctory list is how little Britain has profited from those innovations, which, with one or two exceptions, are manufactured overseas. I wonder if you can work out why.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            We are wealthy enough already and have moved on?

          • hobspawn
          • Father Todd Unctious

            You suggest we are rich enough to borrow more than most.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Workers magically stopped innovation, you say, as you sing fantasies…

            And yes, the Tories are far too leftist for you, clearly.

          • hobspawn

            No, they didn’t stop innovation magically, they stopped it by saying “if you acquire this equipment we will go out on strike, if you require us to change our working practices we’ll go out on strike, and if you adjust our pay or lay anyone off, we’ll go out on strike. In fact, if you change anything at all, we’ll go out on strike”. This is the ubiquitous refrain of the century of the ironically named Labour party, and the real reason British industry died.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you blame workers for cheap bosses. You blame workers for wanting compensation for doing more work… you blame workers for not wanting to be blamed for mismanagement.. always blaming the workers, as you fantasize about Labour.

            Workers, your enemies, people!

          • hobspawn

            People who routinely refuse to work aren’t workers. Sure, nobody has to work. Nobody has to eat, either.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            No, your rich leeches are not workers. As you decry workers who lose their jobs, the next second they’re Teh Evil, blah blah…

            As you talk about the fact you’re happy to kill off the young, disabled, elderly… anyone who can’t pay your food tax, or sell themselves into slavery…

            Tell me, what would that tax be? 10k a year? 15?

          • hobspawn

            Although I normally avoid entering debate with you because your posts are invariably incoherent, tonight you are exceeding yourself. Try again in the morning, perhaps.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah yes, silence, as you blame your enemy, English, rich leech.
            Go back to Dubai and stop taking from your enemies, the workers here…

            (PS, YOU ARE BEING MOCKED)

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Yes, your envy of the 99%… as you whine on about how you don’t want to pay tax, and as you blame others for your goals against your competition… poverty for all others…

          • Tamerlane

            That’s your mantra. You’d tax the successful (or lets be honest more successful than you) to death if you could. Anything to put your bogeymen to rest.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Not at all. I advocate raising the £150,000 threshold for the 45% rate to £250,000. I just also advocate a rate of 70% on £2 million plus per year. If the aspirational are not happy with £2 million a year (or £100 million in their working lives) then they need to ask themselves some searching questions.

          • Tamerlane

            I’ve lived in a country with a 70% tax rate on the rich, didn’t work, they just shuffled their money and if need be themselves elsewhere leaving the government to stealth tax the middle class into poverty. Meantime the poor got poorer.

            Ever occur to you the poor want jobs not hand outs? But then you couldn’t bribe them for their vote. Evil, cynical left.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Really. Nobody believes you. The endless gibberish you post has worn people out. Apparently you have lived in about 100 different countries. Long enough to know their cultures inside out. Oddly this week you claim intimate knowledge if the actual population of Marseille within the strict Third Republic boundaries but equally have “no idea” what the population of London is. You are bad shill and a worse troll.
            Jog on Tammy.

          • Tamerlane

            Whether you personally believe me or not is neither here nor there. The poor want jobs, not your handouts.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Luckily for you. I dont believe anything you write. You are a liar.

          • Tamerlane

            You are a Respect Party activist. Such is life!

          • Father Todd Unctious

            No . That is just another of your lies. Caught you out yet again shill.

          • Tamerlane

            Tricked into exposing yourself as a Respect Party activist Yvonne Barry Stuart Hargreaves…but it’s still there on your Disqus page…you can’t get rid of it, it’s there for all to see.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            But I am not. Only you the troll has ever said this.You now repeat it like a nervous tick in the absence of anything of value to add.
            It must be so sad being you.

          • Tamerlane

            No, lots of others have made this point, it’s on your Disqus page, just scroll down and see all the others who have made the connection. Fortunately it’s now well know that you are a Galloway man.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            None have. My Disqus page makes no reference to the Respect party. Mainly because I have nothing to do with it.
            Unlike when you were exposed as a paid shill working for the Barclays. Oh ,sorry. Does point. Don’t run away for for a month like last time. You are pitiful……or worse. Yes worse.

          • Tamerlane

            Wriggle all you like Yvonne Barry Stuart-Hargreaves, you are a Respect Party activist.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Like your NF connections, of course.

          • hobspawn

            Oh God, it’s not herhim again is it? That explains the unrelenting stream of total ​bollocks.

          • Tamerlane

            It’s him.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            And your plans to cut both…. as you are…

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you lived in a corrupt country… and try and use that as an excuse, as you rejoice in higher poverty, and as you talk about your plans to cut jobs and blame the left for everything.

          • hobspawn

            Didn’t work. Next.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            No, I can’t see he has advocated your view for your competitors there.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            No, he hasn’t advocated your view there.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ohnoes, you only get to keep 6 million this year, not 7!

          • hobspawn

            Envy is not a great basis for a political philosophy.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            I agree, the envy of the poor having enough to eat…

          • rosebery

            Leaving the other 20% to be funded by the rest, out of already-taxed income. The old verities hold good about public sector jobs. I am a hypocrite. My public sector pension keeps me afloat while I struggle to earn a living in the ranks of the self employed.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          And what % of overall tax? And what % of wealth do they own?

          Moreover, the Nordics show that much higher rates don’t have much effect. It’s their businesses – which they don’t move – which fund the state, they themselves pay little direct tax. (And hence are not a major loss…)

          • Colin

            Most of the top 1% in the UK are on PAYE.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Where do you get that idea?

            Certainly HMRC’s figures for overall tax vs income tax don’t support that!

      • fundamentallyflawed

        The Green party is calling you I feel….

        • Tamerlane

          He’s Respect not Green.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Mebyon Kernow actually.

          • Tamerlane

            You’re a Galloway man 100%.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            You are the only person who says this. You say it like a parrot in the absence of any argument. You assume anyone even slightly left wing must support extremists.
            You can lie about me all you like, it won’t make me wrong and it will never make you right.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            No. Only you say this.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            So you wrongly assert.

    • rosebery

      There was on if them on the radio yesterday, pontificating. These are her actual words: “It’s only not illegal because our laws don’t make it illegal”. The whole of the left’s forbidden/compulsory continuum right there.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        No, yours, which you project…

    • Leon Wolfeson

      So you think paying less than their share of wealth is too much… they spend less of their money than poorer people, etc. as you spout off hate of the 99%.

      As you make up eugenics fantasies….

      • Tory boy

        lol

  • Dominic Stockford

    Friends and associates of Putin make him guilty.
    Cameron’s own behaviour is merely one of those things.

    Hmmm.

  • Chris Hobson

    Iceland should pay for its own air defence.

    • richard1949

      Iceland, isn’t that where i buy my pork pies ?

      • Father Todd Unctious

        Better when it was Bejams.

  • Patrick Hermon

    Just what level of tax do you suggest to “entice businesses back”? Russia has one of the lowest tax rates in the developed world (13%) yet its billionaires are some of Panamas most prominent. The only way to compete with Panama is to match their tax rates. Surely its much easier to close the loopholes than race to the bottom of the tax leagues???

    • richard1949

      Ireland has a corporate tax rate of 12.5%, the UK now down to what 19%

      • Patrick Hermon

        Shall we all just keep going untill we get to 0 and see what happens?

        • Giuseppe Cappa

          Yes indeed. Income tax is a violation of human rights and is detrimental to any development.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Governments and Banks create money. Tax and interest are used to stifle inflation. Tax is not a violation it is a braking mechanism on money creation.

          • rosebery

            They create fiat money. They do not create original wealth.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you don’t know the difference between CT and IT.

            As you say allowing the poor services…

        • Father Todd Unctious

          Probably negative CT. We pay the companies to stay here .

    • Giuseppe Cappa

      Russian oligarchs didn’t put their saving in Panama to avoid taxes (which are rather reasonable in the Russian Federation) , but to keep their money safe from possible enemies.

      • Father Todd Unctious

        No. To keep money safe they buy houses in the UK. Panama is used to avoid taxes. There is nothing safe about Panama.

        • Tamerlane

          Actually they mainly put their money in Cyprus and they buy most of their houses in Switzerland. At least try. Try. Sloppy bad YSBH. Sloppy bad.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Wow. You are so lost for words you have taken to stating the obvious. We all know there are 100,000 plus if your dishonest Russian friends in their Orthodox tax haven. Why draw attention to it though?

          • Tamerlane

            Sloppy bad YBSH. Sloppy bad.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Still doing the gibberish shill?

          • Tamerlane

            Jobs. Not hand outs.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah, so workfare, not jobs. Same old.

        • Giuseppe Cappa

          Nothing safe in Panama? I have been doing some business there and it looks rather reasonable.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        And that sort of internal enemy is what you get with that sort of tax rate!

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Ty
    You don’t make the poor richer by making the rich poorer.
    Honest Abe said that.

    • red2black

      Can you make the rich richer by making the poor poorer?

  • Ingmar Blessing

    Lower direct taxes have the advantage that you need a higher tax relevant income to make it worth paying an expensive expert on saving taxes. Always consider: A _real_ professional costs you >20.000 Euro per optimally streamlined tax declaration.

    Assuming the maximum tax rate is 50% and charged from 80.000 Euro upwards, then it makes sense to go for tax avoidance at an income of about 110.000 Euro. On the other hand, when the maximum rate is 30% you have to earn about 170.000 Euro to accomplish the same. I guess, about 5% earn 110.000 Euro, but only about 1% crack the 170.000 Euro. That’s the simple maths behind it.

    If you really want the rich to pay more then:
    – Go for a flat tax of ~15%
    – increase the sales tax to 30% and make zero exceptions for things everyone needs: food, books/magazines and baby products
    – introduce a helicopter tax of 100 Euro per flight hour (= like a second pilot)
    – introduce a tax for services which have a first and second class. Tax the first class. (railway)
    – charge the car taxes along the product of length x width x horse power x 1/(maximum weight – minimum weight)
    – charge land property taxes relative to their size and the access to public and public-like services and make the first 100 m² free of charge
    – legalize cocaine and monopolize the sale at 100 Euro per gram (they’re gonna love it – just ask Taki;-)

    • fundamentallyflawed

      Suddenly UKIPs “wealth tax” isn’t such a daft idea apparently…
      The problem is that the idea’s the politicians actually like are more to do with virtue signalling hence the “mansion tax” (hint: not all large value properties are actually mansions).

    • richard1949

      Think you would be surprised my eldest son and his wife between them earn 250k sterling and they actually only hold senior positions in middle ranking companies.

      However your main point is still valid, I was earning that much on my own in the early 90’s in my opinion wages are still chasing prices

      • Ingmar Blessing

        250k is much, but not out of the box: Considering half the population is part of the workforce then the top 5% have an average 9 earners below them and the top 1% have 49 earners below. Including external personal like cleaning and janitorial services, as senior even in a relatively small company you can reach that easily.

        Most of those in such positions who don’t earn on that level are simply poor negotiators. Among them: Lots of technicians and almost all women (my experience).

    • Father Todd Unctious

      To get the same return for the Government flat tax would have to be 24% to cover tax and NICs. So you propose massively taxing people who earn relatively small sums.

      • Ingmar Blessing

        The answer lies in the tax exemption. If it’s zero, they’d pay more, if it’s at 1000 per month they should come out at zero additional taxes.

        Where did you get the 24%? Did you take the national income and divided it through the current income tax revenue?

        Since the goal is to make the big earners to pay more taxes by making it less profitable to avoid them, you might end up with a higher number of tax relevant income on the high end of income. Which means: The flat tax rate could be lower.

        Alternatively it would be possible to add a level: 0%, 5% and 15%. The important part is to make the top number as low as possible.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          Then you proposal is unworkable. Unless you propose retaining Nics. IT and NICs bring in £260 billion a year on less than £1 trillion of earned income. So we need 26% flat tax to stand still. If you retain Nics you retain the incentives to game the system.
          This is why our cynical leaders fight shy of tackling if. As it looks like an increase in tax from 20% to 26% for most.

          • Ingmar Blessing

            I’m sorry, the UK tax system is not my strong suit. My expertise is more based on the German one;-)

            I tried to generalize the idea of the lose-lose situation when it comes to high IT for wealthy earners.

            Concerning the NHS, the German counterpart is considered a “service” not a tax. The payment gets subtracted from the IT relevant income and if it drops below a certain level the government pays for it. On first glance, this might be the better suit for a flat tax system.

            At the end it all depends on the unknown of how much IT gets legally avoided at the moment by earners of ~70-170k Pounds a year. If it’s enough, the base for the IT would grow enough to compensate the lower rate.

            Transferring the German estimation of 160bn Euro in legal IT losses per year to the UK, the pot that you could tap might be as big as 100bn Pound. A flat rate of about 16-18% would be possible in that case to reach the 260bn in revenue.

          • rosebery

            The national Insurance scam in the UK is simply another tax, disguised by its name. It ceased being solely applied to health and pensions provision a long time ago. No UK government is now capable of fixing it.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Lost, certainly.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          You didn’t note any exemption…and the accountant fees when you’ve got millions in profit means it’s easy to *financially* justify not paying tax anyway for a company.

          The point for you is to minimize the tax take, right. Just keeping what serves you…Vulgar Libertarianism!

          • Ingmar Blessing

            At least no Nazi-tourette from your side. Thanks for that. With vulgar I can live..

    • rosebery

      Forget the rest and legalise the drugs. Regulate and tax them and watch the money roll in.

      • Giuseppe Cappa

        The state already has too much money. Whatever point of the Laffer curve we are in, the goal is to not to restrain those who produce wealth. The more money the state has, the more it oppresses its citizens; the state should fear the citizens, not vice-versa.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          We’re well below the Laughter curve, as you criticise the basic services..as you spout the myths that the idle rich “produce wealth”, as you want the poor, starving citizens who’d be laughed at by your rich as in times many centuries ago, no fear involved.

    • Giuseppe Cappa

      You are proposing a state which would punish certain activities or ownerships with taxation. This would be a good step ahead towards collectivism. Do you also advocate tax-free Mao suit and 300% sales tax on other clothes?

      • Ingmar Blessing

        I don’t see where specific taxation leads to Maoism when you approach it with the objective to maximize the tax revenue with the side condition of low tax avoidance but not to create a prohibitive price.

        Otherwise, the current state of some products costing more than others (Rolex=30k Euro VS Casio=5 Euro) would lead into that direction as well.

        • Giuseppe Cappa

          First, high taxation on luxury goods is highly detrimental to workers in the luxury business, who are mostly non-rich. You seem to confirm that you would like to have tax-free Mao suit and 300% sales tax on other clothes (and similar policies for all goods). This would force buyers to buy goods overseas, or to move to more civilised countries altogether, with a consequential revenue loss (as it happened with the income tax increase during the last Labour government). Moreover, the revenue should not be maximised; instead, the tax rate should be minimised once the expected revenue is established (the smallest possible). If the state has too much money it squanders most of it and ends up oppressing its citizens with bloated bureaucracy, restriction of liberties, spying on its own citizens and unnecessary military operations overseas.

          • Ingmar Blessing

            I think you didn’t get my initial point. My intention was not to promote etatism, but to show the pitfalls that high IT rates have: At one point it becomes cheaper for people and corporations not to pay taxes than doing so. This has not much to do with government spending. I was exclusively talking about the revenue side.

            When it come to taxes three rules must be applied:
            1. Their influence on prices should be minimal
            2. The cost of charging the tax is very relevant, there are cheap and there are expensive taxes
            3. (which is no1) When it comes to taxes everyone is an opportunist and for corporations it is the objective number one to avoid taxes on their profits, because corporations only exist to make profits. So, taxes undermine their reason of existence. That is why taxes should be charged in a way which makes opportunism expensive to a prohibitive level.

            I am happy to discuss those three rules, but not the part with the Mao suits. That’s just ridiculous.

          • Giuseppe Cappa

            I now understand better what you mean, but your proposal seems to me not to be well related to the three principles you state. Your high tax on certain goods would, for instance, make their prices raise significantly, which would go against Rule 1. I also do not see how your proposal would support Rule 2. Excessive taxation is menacing and taxation on luxury good (which you seem in part to support) has always proved detrimental, hence my hyperbole on the Mao suit (don’t be offended by it, it was just a hyperbole to stress the argument).

          • Ingmar Blessing

            The effect on the prices depends on the price elasticity, which would need research to get to the bottom. You write it’s detrimental, do you have any further results on that? I can imagine that in some instances the Giffen paradox could be playing in.

            I am confident that there are areas possible, in which the consumers are so wealthy and needy of the product or service, that they won’t stop paying for it, if it is more. The helicopter flight market e.g. should be one. (apart from emergency and police flights) that is only used by maybe 1 person in 10.000 with an income so high, they don’t care much about it. I’m confident there is other stuff that can be taxed without crashing the market.

            The second rule would be easy with helicopters, since they are already observed during the flight causing no additional costs for the taxation. The same goes for a progressive tax on land ownership or cars tax like I proposed in the first comment.

            The by far most expensive taxes the inheritance and the wealth tax, which cost a staggering 25% of their revenue. The rule on that is: The less suppliers/owners there are and the more obvious the item and its visibility, the cheaper it is to charge. Therefore I don’t see fundamental problems on that end for the taxation of specific goods.

          • Giuseppe Cappa

            I agree with you on the fact that the cost of collecting taxes should be minimised. The inheritance and wealth tax should be abolished immediately.
            Coming to luxury goods, I can report that in my home country the taxation of luxury cars and, more recently, of luxury boats caused a decrease in the revenue due to the fact that high-income people simply started renting boats from overseas chartering firms, registering luxury cars abroad, or simply buying cheaper cars — I do not have the figures at hand at the moment, but this was clear at the time and those taxes were later repealed. The wealthy, however wealthy they are, do not like to spend more than they should; tax Rolex watches with a 100% VAT and they will buy watches in Dubai. Moreover, the high-income individuals are those who are the most mobile and who can easily transfer their assets — or themselves — abroad to avoid excessive taxation. My take is that the Giffen effect occurs very rarely. This said, I am open to discussion and I will try to check the literature on the topic — if you have any reference, I’ll be glad to check it out.

          • Ingmar Blessing

            It’s quite a misery, that most taxes come with ways of avoiding them. Surely not all luxury goods are practical for a special tax.

            I cannot offer specific literature, but an entire database, here: https://ideas.repec.org/ There is plenty of stuff about the topic to browse. If he has English language papers, or your German is up to it I recommend Lars Feld. Quite a buff on taxes and their sense.

            Overall, I believe it would need a case to case study of the effects. Maybe a list could help with conditions that need to be met for this kind of tax (like revenue, costs, price elasticity, substitution etc) to identify which products and services could fit the pattern. For example my feeling tells me, a tax on the use of air- and sea-space works better than a tax on helicopters and yachts.

            But on luxury cars, I don’t really believe in a substantial effect on the market. People drive Mercedes or Porsche because they want to show off. It’s a classic Giffen good. If the price had anything to do with it they wouldn’t buy those cars in the first place.

            Anyway, a lot of taxes have been tested in a lot of countries. I would take a closer look at all those seemingly “strange” taxes that are still there. Usually they are negative, but there are surely a few which turned out to be neutral in their effect. (that’s the evolutionary approach)

            An example from a German regional tax that I just found: The “horse tax”. It’s like the tax on dogs, who crap on sidewalks, just for horses. Since horse owners usually are rich dentists who bought it for their daughter, there should be not much of a problem to pay an extra 1.000 Euro per year.

            Although, I wonder a bit how they find out that someone is riding an illegal horse. Do they take a look into the horses mouth?;-)

          • Father Todd Unctious

            People drive Porsche to show off. Mercedes for efficiency and comfort. BMW to advertise themselves as plonkers. Audi to let everyone know they are having an affair.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            The oppression of pensions, NHS, education, etc.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      So massive tax breaks on the rich. High, regressive sales tax. Minor sin taxes on the rich… charge the poor for living in large, high-density accommodation…

      Oh and of course after there’s no NHS or pensions, and probably no universal education to pay for tax that low…

  • richard1949

    Totalyl unrelated to this topic but as a refugee forn the DT no more comments I have resorted to sending in a letter, in response to Christopher Booker’s claim the EU Exiters have blown their opportunity…..

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2016/04/09/brexiteers-are-spurning-their-only-chance-of-victory/

    to quote ……

    In Christophers Bookers excellent article in the Sunday
    (9/4/16) Daily Telegraph he berated the “Brexiters” because of their
    lack of exit strategy from the EU and therein lies the rub, they can’t.

    “They
    cannot propose proper and sensible exit strategies because it is not
    within their gift, the “Exiters” cannot dictate how the UK will exit.

    It is ironically the responsibility of the Cameron Government, who have no exit strategy as they are commited to remain.

    What should be demanded from the Cameron Government, is what is their exit strategy in the event of a leave vote.

    Then at least all of us will have clarity.”

    phew got that of my chest, but honestly at times so frustrated with reading totally unsubstantiatud claims designed to produce fear in exiting, can’t help myself.

    f

    • hobspawn

      Precisely. Cameron promised the referendum, like Faust, for the sake of votes in the general election. He got his votes, and is PM. Now it is his responsibility to put together a sensible exit plan in preparation for the potential Brexit outcome which HIS policy made possible.

      Remains rot, Leaves grow. GTFOEU

      • Leon Wolfeson

        Ah yes, the rot of trade, the growing of destruction of rights… sigh.

        • hobspawn

          If EU trade deals are the life-blood of trade, how is it that Eurozone toy-shops are packed to the ceiling with Chinese toys?

          Our trade will grow when we leave, not rot. The EU stifles our free access to burgeoning global markets.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah yes, less trade is more, you say, as you blame the EU for it’s treaties which lower tariffs..gotta raise those barriers against those nasty markets, right.

            As you try and use toys, a luxury, as an excuse…

          • hobspawn

            OK, car tyres. No Chinese tyres here in the EU. No trade deal, you see. Or are tyres a luxury too.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            They’d certainly be in your plan.

  • Aberrant_Apostrophe

    The basic problem, Mr Spectator, is that George Osborne doesn’t believe in the Laffer Curve, especially while he and his ilk can enjoy tax avoidance schemes and let the hoi polloi on PAYE pick up the slack.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      That curve sets in at 75-80%

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        That figure is bandied about by quite a few people. The real issue is, at what point does tax avoidance start? I would be surprised if any wealthy person with sense waited until they were paying tax at that level before they started investigating tax avoidance mechanisms.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Where does it start? When any tax is paid.

  • Terence Hale

    “How to make the rich pay more tax”. It’s not more tax but an honest tax. Many countries negotiate a tax deal with the rich in place of the set rate.

  • The Panama Papers raises interesting psychological questions.

    In the past the English elites wore their wealth with pride – stately homes, handmade suits, gentleman’s clubs etc. But there has undoubtedly been a shift in public pressure over the last 50 years or so to reduce “elitism” – witness the removal of many minor Royals from the public payroll.

    Overt ostentation and elitism (even though many deny it) has become persona non grata, except amongst the less educated or “celebrity” crowd. Hence the need to hide it. (This view has, incidentally, long been held by the French.) The result is that Cameron et al now live in modest Victorian terraces, drink beer down the pub, wear high street clothes and watch football. And even if one accuses him of fakery, it has exposed the pointlessness of excess wealth. They can’t spend it.

    Ergo if those with clout in society already realise this why can’t they devise schemes whereby this “excess” could be donated back to make it “useful” once again?

    Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson wrote about just such a society. The premise was that there would a narrower range of salaries available and a cap on the higher end. Anything the 100%ers (as they were known) earned above the cap was donated back to society through a charity of their choice.

    • Tom M

      I disagree with your pointlessness of excess wealth claim. What you say about Cameron is true. Peple like him would be commiting political suicide if they flaunted wealth too much but they are politicians.
      There are many many more extremely wealthy people who just don’t appear on the day to day radar and these people are the ones with the private jets, Ferraris, yachts, helicopters and the large houses with swimming pools and cinemas in the basement. Their wealth is very visible but only if you orbit in their circles.

      • Father Todd Unctious

        These people of whom you speak are Russian , Greek, Arab and Chinese.

    • WilliamCuthbertson1

      Your last paragraph is a no brainer. Tax something at 100% and your tax take will be zero.

    • hobspawn

      “O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars
      Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
      Allow not nature more than nature needs,
      Man’s life is cheap as beast’s. Thou art a lady:
      If only to go warm were gorgeous,
      Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear’st
      Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need-
      You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!”

      Seriously, this Utopian balls that you’re spouting has been tried over and over again, and every time it produces failure, misery and slaughter. Our real problem is that the gap between rich and poor isn’t big enough. The deliberately idle are too well-off.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        No, nothing like that has been tried, as you hate on the poor for existing…

        • hobspawn

          “Hate on”? If you mean ‘hate the poor’, you could not be more wrong, or more hypocritical. The poor are better off with paid jobs than with alms.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            I understand you love starving poor people begging you for food, they’ll do any “work” for it… same as any third world broken-down… slavery is the word for that sort of condition, where “quitting” is death.

            As you go on about how you oppose both jobs (rather than slave labor) in that capitalist ideology and “alms” which means young children, the badly disabled, elderly all working… or dead.

            And there is no magic jobs tree.

          • TartanTerrier

            Hate the poor…whine jew poor phhrrrt etc etc

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Because all would happen is complex tax avoidance schemes.

      Why not try something like a basic income (eliminating virtually all poverty), and then a flat tax (probably in the 30-35% region) above that, on all other income?

  • Giuseppe Cappa

    Osborne and the soi-disant conservative government are just a bunch of socialists: 47% maximum marginal (personal) income tax and 40% marginal inheritance tax are simply an instrument of oppression. The state has simply too much money and ends up turning against its own citizens. This said, contrary to Osborne, I believe in the Laffer Curve as the author of the article; however I recognise that income tax is a violation of human rights and is menacing to any productive activity undertaken by residents in the UK; no wonder there was virtually no income tax in the US until the 16th amendment in 1913.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Then you misunderstand the purpose of taxation and the ownership of money. Typical greedy Tory.

      • Giuseppe Cappa

        I know the purpose of taxation, thank you. But I do not accept to be called a Tory — throw any insult at me, but if you do not take the “Tory” back I will have to challenge you to a duel (choose between sword and pistol, in case).

        • Father Todd Unctious

          The state creates money . It uses tax to restrain inflation. It is not your hard work or unique skill that makes money.

          • Giuseppe Cappa

            Well the state uses taxation to control inflation but that is not the only purpose, evidently. I think Mises’ sound money is ideal.

          • rosebery

            Fiat money ensures inflation, as no goverment can resist creating just that bit more. Tax is theft from top to bottom; it’s merely about setting the rate as Colbert described – the most feathers for the least hissing.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So why didn’t Britain have inflation for a good period?

            As you object to society, etc.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Ah, those very very low historical tax rates. The “turning against” of pensions, the NHS, education.. .as you believe in something which kicks in at 75-809%+ .. as you espouse conspiracy theories about income tax, etc.

  • Nick_Shaxson

    oh please. flat taxes have been discredited long ago as a gmmick to cut the tax bills of the seriously wealthy, which do nothing to simplify the tax system. even the IMF has given up on them, and those eastern european countries that once lauded them are all rowing back on them

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Actually, there *is* a scenario where they work – where there’s a basic income, and ALL income above it is taxed (at the same or very similar rates).

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Well said Nick. Your book Treasure Islands is a must read. Excellent research.

  • Leon Wolfeson

    You mean like a Basic Income with a flat tax above it?

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