Sunday, 7 April 2013

Are the rich paying more under Lib Dems than Labour?

Short answer: Probably not.

Longer answer: No-one knows yet, so it's incredibly deceitful to claim one way or the other with any certainty.

While taxes on high-value properties being sold has gone up, we would need to know if the frequency of sales is higher or lower than it was under Labour. While the tax rate is reduced from 50p to 45p for the super-rich, we have no evidence...and won't do for a couple of years now...that this move will generate more than the £1bn that was generated through Labour's last minute changes to the tax system.

Couple this with tax cuts for those who own businesses, cuts in the amount that those who speculate on the stock market have to pay, cuts in the level of taxes levied on bankers bonuses...and we have a very incomplete picture of just how much the really rich are "worse off" now than they were under the tax system in 2010.

Personally, I'm skeptical that those who play with the most amount of money in this country, having the amount of tax they pay on that money cut, are now paying more than they were on balance.

Will we truly know if this is the case or not? For all of the rhetoric from Lib Dem mouths it's telling that there are no figures to back it up. The coalition is quick to claim the 50p rate was a "failure" (despite raising more money than the 40p rate did) on shonky figures, but they can't even produce shonky figures for these claims?

And then there is context, it's easy to arbitrarily define the period of time you wish to compare against. I'd say that the rich are heartily screwed over compared to how they were before income tax was introduced, so I guess we should all just leave them be, right?

The fact of the matter is that Labour left the government with a choice, it's all well and good referencing what Labour "said" in the past about what they would do, but Labour are not in power...the coalition is. The coalition are the ones acting and so defending their tax cuts for the rich and their benefit cuts for the poor as "something Labour would have done" is entirely disingenuous.

While Labour's silence is entirely frustrating, it's also the shrewdest political move they can make. The coalition is more than happy to hang themselves in Labour's periods of silence and, you know what, Labour aren't in power so they don't need to explain what they would do.

If a company wins a tender to do work for the government, and they fail in their job, do they request the government lets them off the hook because they heard that the companies they were competing against would have done the same sort of thing?

Of course not, and it's ridiculous to attempt to obfuscate your own scandalous actions by pointing to those with no power or authority and out-dated opinions and views stated from a different time and context.

The way that Lib Dems talk right now is essentially to excuse that they were given a brand new house and they have proceeded to demolish the back garden, but that it's all ok because 5 years ago the house needed renovating, and garden withstanding they've kept the rest of the place tidy. This is not a strong ethical position.

And then we move on to other things the Lib Dems like to crow about. Their income tax threshold rise. I've long stated that it's a good thing, it removes the issue of getting in to work and the problems with marginal tax rates. At least it would have, if the coalition hadn't decided that they'd screw those same people over with benefit changes.

For a start, there was always the sensitivity that raising an income tax threshold does nothing for those not in work other than to remove marginal tax rates, so crowing about giving the working person an extra £600 compared to Labour is more than slightly insulting to those who find themselves worse off and through no fault of their own (because they are incapacitated, or because THERE ARE NO JOBS).

Then there is the fact that people aren't necessarily £600 better off at all. If they are on benefits then they will soon have that money eaten away by lower than inflation benefit rises, and others through the reduction of their housing benefit that is technically impossible to make up no matter how much extra they can be reasonably expected to work. Those in the lower-middle of the income scales will, of course, be reaping the benefits, those on the lower incomes or not earning at all? Not so much.

And then there is the coalitions continued assault on the unemployed, deciding that a culture of worklessness (that is hard to prove exists) must be replaced by a culture of paylessness, with companies essentially salivating and cheering that they can get low-skill job vacancies filled by those they don't have to pay.

We'll see, unfortunately only after the next election (You see, the coalition will claim the 45p tax rate was a resounding success using the exact opposite terms they did for 50p....where the rich forestalled their tax payments to avoid 50p taxation, they will do the opposite for the 45p and cause an uncharacteristic and false surge in tax receipts in the 2013-2014 tax year), just how true these vague opinions being stated as fact are, but anyone should be able to see the sum of all the changes above and not quite be able to make the changes add up to the rich paying more now the coalition are in power.

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