The Labour party have been taking a pounding since they left office in 2010, and rightly so. These are the people that sold half of our gold reserves at the bottom of the market, flung open the door to unmanaged immigration, tried to implement Orwellian ID cards, oh and of course destroyed the economy. In fairness, the Tories being at the helm hasn’t made much of a difference either; they’ve continued to spend at an alarming rate, are currently curtailing civil liberties and have and failed to provide their promised EU referendum, and most of their own targets for that matter.
One policy of Ed Miliband’s in particular has grabbed my attention; The Mansion Tax. This is proposed to be an extra charge of £3000 on homes that are valued of over £2million, on top of the already extortionate council tax that exists on all properties. I have no doubt that this will be a popular one especially in the current political climate. Despite every lesson from the 20th century, Miliband’s ideology has made a recent revival, epitomised by the Marxist rottweiler of the day, Russell Brand. If there were ever a time for Labour to pick up some votes from cheap class-warfare and bribes, it is now.
We live in a day and age where money can be shifted offshore in a matter of seconds online, what makes our politicians believe they can have the monopoly on the rich? There are plenty of countries whom would be grateful of our millionaires and rich investors money. This has never been more relevant with the developing world learning how to “play” capitalism for the first time in history. Of course this one tax alone might not be enough to deter investment and cause a plight of the rich, but it’s just one on top of hundreds that could break the proverbial camels’ back.
Considering that the top 1% of earners pay roughly 1/3 of the income tax in the U.K, you would think Labour would want them to stick around, keep the cash-cows milked, if you will. Furthermore if the rich aren’t yet paying their “fair share” then I’m baffled as to what the correct amount would be.
All this talk of upping the tax rates for the richest is simply a politics of envy and will not increase the tax-take of government. The Labour Party knows this, but is also aware of the popularity of these policies among typically working class and economically illiterate voters, and so are willing to sacrifice long-term prosperity for short-term popularity. The Laffer Curve, and table below will hopefully dispel some of the popular nonsense talked about our tax system.
Moreover what about the person whom inherited a property, perhaps one that has been in the family for generations? If you aren’t earning a fortune then the day-to-day running costs of a property alone, on top of council taxes are enough to bankrupt you. This proposed mansion tax is beyond regressive, in that, those people who happen to own a property yet are in a low income threshold or pension, can be effectively forced out of their homes. The result can only be that the rich areas become simply more exclusive, forcing out those who cant afford the extra (estimated) £3000 levy out of their already squeezed wage packets.
Ed Ball’s has stated that those earning less than £42,000 may have the right to defer payment of the tax until the sale of the property, how kind of him. This will ensure swift deportation of those who can’t afford to pay, selling their properties now in a hurry to avoid the £3000 a year tax building up year-on-year. On the bright-side this purge of the shirtsleeves-to-shirtsleeves will open up top pickings in property for Labour party officials in the centre of London.
What ever happened to the very British idea of property rights? An Englishman’s home is his castle? Magna Carta? Surely if you buy a house outright, with no strings or mortgages, paid for it all your life or inherited it, then it should be yours and yours alone. This goes for any tax on private property, once taxes are established we become nothing more than leaseholders of government property. If we are unable to pay the tax or simply fail to do so, our houses can be taken from us. In a free country you should be able to, for example, buy a farm and live self sufficiently with your family, off the land and without using money, without a £2000 demand in council taxes from government once a year. I’d like to see less talk of extra property taxes on the rich, and more talk of less property taxes on us all.
What I find most disturbing is the absolute moral bankruptcy of this policy. By using this old class-warfare trick Labour seeks to buy voters, in a literal sense, by exploiting the losers of the election. Just consider for a moment the wording of the policy in a slightly more straightforward and less Newspeak fashion…
“Voters. Vote for us on May 5th 2015 and we will give you all sorts of free shit that you did not earn or pay for. In order to pay for the goodies we will be forcing those who own property over £x amount to pay up or leave their homes. We repeat, do not worry, we will leave you alone for the time being, and will only screw the other guys”.
There is a world of a difference between voting for taxes imposed on yourself for the so-called public good, and straight-up looting a third party. This policy, of course, is typical of how the Left functions; looting and plundering everything it can get its slimy hands on without any regard to wealth creation and long-term prosperity whatsoever.
Every year since the Second World War, we have heard that the government just needs a little more money, from this or that group of people, to fund some desperate cause, and every year the demands have grown along with government. Who amongst us is naive enough to think that the mansion tax is the end of this process? Without addressing the underlying issue, out of control government spending, more taxes will inevitably be brought in year-on-year until we bury ourselves deep into a hole we cannot climb out of, running out of rich people to tax and debt to finance.
Whom then, will they come after?
I’m all for social liberties. The right to smoke a joint whilst eating two grease-laden double-BigMac’s and downing a 32oz full sugar soda is just as genuine as the right to free speech and expression. You don’t take away my rights over my body, I won’t take away yours.
I don’t see why there should be a distinction between unhealthy food, marijuana or tobacco in the eyes of the law, and I’ve looked at this every-which way there is. The progressives argue for marijuana legalisation whilst at the same time pursuing and vilifying other vices like tobacco and alcohol. It doesn’t stop there as they demand ever more regulation and taxation in order to deter the individual from indulgence, but what happened to the Leftist slogans of “my body, my choice” preached throughout the psychedelic 60’s? It doesn’t seem to apply to those whom wish to drink alcohol, smoke a cigarette, eat a BigMac. There is even talk of banning dangerous sports like MMA and boxing to protect the athletes from themselves.
The tolerance preached by the progressive nanny-stater’s, exemplified by the Labour party, rarely extends beyond their personal sphere. It’s the typical attitude of the anointed; a fascistic arrogance that whilst they are intelligent enough to make their own decisions, the decisions of the lesser intelligentsia must be constrained. This isn’t just about politicians either. Professionals such as doctors and general busybodies now believe its their place to shape law and taxation.
This mindset of controlling those who disagree with or refuse to follow the consensus mob inevitably extends beyond the issues of health and lifestyle and into the broader political sphere. Take the example of a smoker who derives so much pleasure from his habit that he refuses to quit smoking despite understanding the health risks. The logic that we can simply attempt to override his decision through taxing and regulating him to breaking point, or making tobacco illegal, doesn’t stop there. Why should he, being of irrational and unintelligent nature be allowed the right to vote on issues far more important? If he is unable to decide through sheer irresponsibility on the correct outcome for his own lifestyle, then why should he be permitted to vote for politicians that decide on what the correct view is, and rules are, with regard to more important issues like war and poverty? The roots of fascism lie in this mentality, one person or group of people believing they are superior to regular men and women, and thus are entitled to rule over them.
There are the know it all’s that will argue marijuana’s safety, not liberty and principle, as the reason for proposing legalisation. Is the level of danger really the issue here? What if I could scientifically prove that smoking marijuana caused lung cancer, would they accept those grounds for a law against it? What about the thousands of deadly chemicals and poisons all around us, from bleach to lawn fertiliser that we don’t prescribe to legislate over?
Even on a practical level, how can they argue that drug criminalisation causes crime and black markets on one hand, yet on the other legislate for higher taxes and regulation for legal drugs? Can’t they see that increasing taxation and government regulation recreates the problems of a war on drugs in the first place? By artificially pushing up the price of a product be it; drugs, alcohol, or even garden furniture, to a level that criminals can undercut will inherently create a black market.
Of course we can see where these limitations on liberty hail from, the true source of government power, socialistic institutions like the National Health Service. These institutions are able to turn regular peaceful people against each other and into agents of the state. We begin to despise those who dare to partake in risky behavior because of our socialised burden and cost. Whether it’s a debate on obesity, smoking, drinking, just notice how quickly regular people turn into spiteful control freaks.
All politicians have to do is mention what Person A’s behavior costs Person B through indirect medical bills and spiraling government budgets, sit back, and watch the show. The result is that most people won’t just agree with the standard government solution of curtailing the liberty of Person A, we demand it. We don’t see the politicians turning us against one another and instead crave more of our self-inflicted serfdom.There is an irony to this. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with socialised medicine or not as you will be extorted for the cost anyway. I could almost live with that. What I resent is being mugged by the state to pay for an NHS, to be told by government employed doctors that I have to stop smoking and clean up my diet because I’m clogging up a system I never signed up to in the first place.
Here’s a solution. Allow individuals to opt out of the National Insurance Contributions, and Nanny State, to organise their own healthcare and pursue whatever lifestyle they wish. If not, who knows, perhaps we will be holding up banners reading “LEGALISE CHEESEBURGERS!” in twenty years time.
It’s important to remember how the structure of our public sector and democracy is, supposed, to work. The voters are effectively the shareholders of the public sector industry racket, just as the investors are the shareholders of companies in the private sector.
Under a democratic system the public sector worker must accept the government of a majority, even if they make the severe “cuts” we hear about but never see. This is because the voter is the person stuck with the bill for any increase in public sector expenditure, be it pay rises or paid holidays. We accept that a worker at McDonald’s has to accept the decision of shareholders as to whether to increase wages on a given year, so why do we have this blurry-eyed doublethink when it comes to government bureaucrats and train drivers. Contrary to popular opinion the government has no money that it didn’t first take from somebody else, and the public sector produces no wealth. This means that the public sector, through government, acts as a parasite towards the businesses and employees in the private sector. The public sector strikes exist because of an outright abhorrent behaviour from both the public sector workers and their unions, in blackmailing the rest of us. Forgetting the fact that government workers receive substantially better pay, pensions and working conditions than their equivalent-skilled counterparts in the private sector, there is another side to this. If the private sector is the only source of income to meet the striking demands of public sector workers, then who pays this cost? Like myself those in the private sector have faced recent, considerable pension restructuring and lack of pay rises in response to the dreary economy and recession. These aren’t just the wealthy, why should a McDonald’s worker on the minimum wage and terrible pension be forced through taxation and debt to fund striking government workers who are far better off than they are. This is beyond regressive, it’s immoral.
Why is it that the McDonald’s workers can’t simply throw up a picket line and demand higher wages? The answer is threefold. If they demand too much then the private business goes broke, it folds and the workers lose their jobs. Contrast this to the public sector that can simply give in and stick the cost on the tab, by which I mean crippling taxes and an intergenerational debt. Secondly the CEO’s of McDonald’s cannot be outvoted unless you have a stake in the business, shareholder or similar. This prevents passers by and busybodies dictating the employment law of McDonald’s without having to cough up a buck. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly is the issue of government monopoly. If the firefighters go on strike, your house burns down, if McDonald’s goes on strike, hey, there is BurgerKing across the street. It is in this sense that those workers of government monopolies are able to exploit us, Joe Public. The right to strike! One of the biggest myths of our time is that people have a right to strike. There is a stark difference between the right to withhold your labour and the modernised right to strike. The former is intended to prevent employers using coercion against the employee, rightly preventing situations like slavery from arising. It gives you the right to down tools and find better paid work elsewhere. This basic right requires nobody give you anything, just that nobody infringes upon your rights. The right to strike is completely different to this, and whether conflated with the right to withhold labour, purposely and disingenuously or simply ignorantly, it’s wrong. This different “right” manufactured by modern anti-democratic unions uses force to prevent employers hiring replacements for striking workers. It guarantees that workers can do as much harm as they wish to a business through strikes, yet cannot be sacked. A right that guarantees somebody provide you with money, goods or services, is not a right at all. We have an unemployment figure in the millions, all perfectly skilled to complete most of the jobs in the striking public sector. Sack the lot of greedy, self-serving strikers and hire some new and perhaps more grateful talent. Better yet, don’t rehire anybody and allow the free-market to take over with its innovation and results based performance. If what they say is true.. “We are worth more!” then it should be quite easy to find an employer that thinks so too. Once the line is crossed into allowing public sector workers to strike, whether it’s a justified cause or not, we open the floodgates for minority rule. If we show that striking against the majority works, we give in to tyranny and what’s to stop them demanding extra duvet days, a 50% increase in pay, or a Porsche each next year?
Despite the falling of the Berlin wall near-on twenty six years ago, in which capitalism was universally hailed victorious over the inefficient and inherent slaughterhouses of socialism, our comrades on the Left are gaining ground. Attribute this to what you will; our terrible education system, perhaps the history curriculum in teaching all about the Nazi’s of the Second World War, yet not of the equally monstrous socialist USSR, at least in my school. I wont digress. The fact is that the calls for revolution are becoming more frequent, that’s if Tweets count as calls and the number of Russell Brand’s followers is a barometer of socialism’s popularity.
Rounding up mobs of disenchanted useful-idiot voters is easy, especially when you tell them how bad they have it. Don’t forget to tell them how the game is rigged in favor of those rich capitalistic swine, that they can never get ahead and shouldn’t even try.
Forget the fact that anybody with a household income of £22,000 or higher, effectively two working adults working for less than minimum wage in Britain, are in the top 1% of world income. The regular arguments from rational people that we need to turbocharge the system that has provided us with this exceptional global status, by lifting the restraints of government, too often fall upon deaf ears. To come at this from a slightly different angle I have devised a very un-exhaustive list of freebies that we enjoy as the richest generation in history.
“Free”, you say? “Capitalism is all about making profits!”
Websites like Google offer us unlimited searching potential from trivia answers like finding the capital of Taiwan in two seconds flat, to its use as a massively understated educational tool. These websites have the ability of giving us, arguably, and especially those in the developing world, far better education than that of public sector teachers and old-fashioned libraries. A person with access to an internet connection can attain billions of articles, studies and journals without having to pay a penny. Simply put, we can access what we want when we want it, and gone are the days of paying a fortune for Bill Gates’ Encarta 95 with it’s shabby graphics and fonts.
Just a decade ago it would be unthinkable to have access to a free service like Spotify. An app that takes a few moments to install yet provides us with thousands upon thousands of the best artists both old and new. All that we have to do for this evil capitalist company to exploit serve us is listen to the occasional advert between tracks, effectively trading a few seconds of our time for more access to music than CD’s could fit in a thousand record stores. No 9-5 opening times, no catching a bus into town to find out the album you wanted is out of stock, no queuing up in line waiting for incompetent employees, just utter convenience.
Remember the old days? By which I mean less than ten years ago when making calls to, or from, abroad cost a fortune. Not so long ago going on holiday and or keeping in contact with relatives in countries like Australia was an expensive affair, phone companies routinely charged anywhere up to £3 a minute. With free apps like Skype, or even now Facebook Messenger joining the party, we can video call to the other side of the planet, providing we have an internet connection, for no cost whatsoever. No biggie? Just imagine the thousands of highly skilled web technicians, researchers and even general admin staff working shifts right now to provide you with that service, for no tangible cost.
Apps like YouTube offer us millions of hours worth of free entertainment; from the funniest cat videos, to TV shows and movies. YouTube has even made it easier than ever for somebody with a little entrepreneurial spirit to go at it alone. Some genuinely well to do teachers are even offering free lessons to students through this medium. The free website and apps allow any individual with some entertainment or knowledgeable value to make money without any start up cost whatsoever. Contrast this to trying to get “out there” twenty years ago, having to beg middle-men like Simon Cowell for a shot at the music game. Fair enough, YouTube make some money from each advertisement, but whats wrong with a little synergy.
Modern banking provides us with instant access to our accounts online. Not so long ago people had to physically walk into a bank to find our their balance, transfer money or apply for an overdraft, nowadays we can do all this from a laptop or smart phone. I can send money to somebody in New Zealand at 4am on a Sunday. What about the convenience of free 24 hour cash machines? I have no idea how much it costs to make one, probably thousands, or to pay the employees stocking it with money. Banks such as Halifax are even offering free cash withdrawals abroad with certain credit cards. The best part of modern banking for the consumer is that we can find current accounts that actually pay us for these services, some offering £5 a month at the moment. I can’t remember the last time I had to make a trip to the bank, having to pay town centre parking charges and queue up in line.
All of these services save us time and money on a daily basis, leaving us remaining with more of our pay-check each month. Time that we can better spend with family, friends or even working extra hours. Money that we can instead now spend on mortgage payments, food or even the extravagant things in life. These real cash savings, driven by the power of the free-market, are too often forgotten in our daily analysis as to whether our lives are improving or becoming richer.
It’s not just the pay-check we get every month; it’s what it can buy, and what it doesn’t have to.