The front page of today’s Telegraph loudly trumpets the idea that maintaining the 50p tax rate on people earning more than £150, 000 per year is likely, not to earn revenue for the government, but rather to cost about £1 billion a year. Not this year, obviously. Probably in a few years time, though. Like, really. Almost certainly. That’ll definitely happen.
“How?” We hear you cry. How can increasing taxes cost money? Oh, you poor fools. Do you know nothing of economics? It works like this. If we ordinary folk insist upon pressurising the benighted few, the wealth creators, the ‘entrepreneurs’, then … well, they’re only human, poor cherubs. At some stage, the hardships will simply become too much. They’ll be gone, fleeing the country in protest at our hard-hearted ways.
The Telegraph piece even suggests that a “psychological threshold” will be reached, as if to create the impression that a ‘crossing the Rubicon’ situation will ensue should we push our precious paragons beyond the limits of their endurance.
Sunny Hundal does a good job of debunking the ludicrous ‘evidence’ behind this perspective. He doesn’t, though, tackle the (in our eyes) frankly bizarre assumption that the rich are some kind of breed apart. That, should they depart these shores, all hope of a functioning economy would depart with them.
The possibility that they might have come about their wealth through any avenue other than hard work and innovation never enters the Telegraph‘s equation. The possibility that their aversion to paying tax may be harming the economy as a whole … that would be sheer heresy! The very fact of their wealth automatically qualifies them as highly valuable people that the UK simply cannot do without.
There are (thankfully!) other perspectives, though. Sunny Hundal, again, destroying the straw man that the 50p tax rate deters ‘talent’ from coming to the UK. Even more impressively, Peter Tatchell joins the dots between the responsibility of the super-rich to pay tax, the apparently-barren government coffers, and the long-term interests of us all.
It’s time we get very clear. There’s no hole in the UK economy that taxing the ridiclously-minted wouldn’t fill. Yes, they can afford it. No, it’s not an unfair imposition. That’s where all the money went. We’d like it back now, please.