Crumbs from the breakfast table of an unreconstructed Liberal
Sunday, January 09, 2011
Endless, useless discussion about how to control bankers' bonuses. Why does no politician suggest the bleeding obvious - higher rates of Income Tax on higher incomes ? What's wrong with that, except the Tories would never agree to it ?
On the Facebook copy of this item someone has suggested that higher incomes are due to ability and that it would not be liberal to "punish" higher earners. Does anyone really believe that the distribution of income reflects the ability of individuals ? Both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in government harp on about burden-sharing. That is what progressive taxation is about. Nothing illiberal there. Margaret Thatcher came to power promising to reduce taxation. When she left office a higher share of national income was taken in tax. All she did was to shift the burden from those more able to pay onto those less able to pay. New Labour continued the shift and the coalition is following suit. It's time to defend and indeed promote progressive taxation.
I would think very few people believe that distribution of income reflects ability.
In any case, I think the whole debate raises the wider question of values, of what kind of society we want to see.
Another point re : Mrs Thatcher is that she didn`t succeed in reducing public spending, because more and more had to be found for unemployment benefit.
I notice it`s often assumed that the levels of poverty and lack of opportunity that exist in certain areas, particularly in the Midlands and the North, are in some way pre-ordained. In fact, it seems to me that many of these areas were affluent at one time and only declined because government policy didn`t favour the types of industry practised there.
I would say all three of the dinosaurs - sorry, I meant to say
all three of the main political parties - are the architects of their own downfall. The fortunes of the Lib Dems have been widely discussed, I don`t think I need add anything there. The Tories hardly count as a national political party any more, and the few MPS they have north of the Trent can be found hurriedly signing up to oppose cuts that affect their own constituencies (What Price Justice, Friends of Bramwell etc). Under current circumstances, Labour can get their voters back (for now ?) but have lost their trust and that won`t change in a hurry.
Apologies if this posting is a bit hasty and fragmented, but hopefully it more or less makes sense.
A belated Happy New Year to disgruntled radicals everywhere !
Sorry for the delay in publishing your comment, Hoonaloon Books. I had not checked the blog for a few days.
Nil problemo, me old fruit - but I`ll forgive you all the more readily if you let me give a plug to Save our Libraries Day on 5 Feb !
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