Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Voluntary tax rates

Via The Snob, I find this amusing piece of satire over at Newsbiscuit.
Cameron apes Radiohead with ‘pay as much tax as you want’

‘We’ve done the sums and they definitely add up’ said Conservative leader David Cameron. ‘We reckon that people will probably choose to voluntarily surrender around thirty per cent of their income, which should be enough to run all the schools and hospitals and everything.’

‘Obviously some people might opt to pay no tax at all,’ conceded George Osborn, ‘but we’re confident that lots of other people will decide to pay much, much more than they are paying at the moment. What’s so thrilling is that it really involves ordinary people in decisions about setting their own tax thresholds!’ added the excited shadow chancellor.

On the streets of Britain’s marginal constituencies, voters responded positively to so-called ‘Radiohead Economics’; ‘Let’s see now; I’ve got two kids at state schools, I use the local hospital, then there’s all the other stuff like my parents’ pension, the lads in Iraq, the arts and everything…’ said one taxpayer. ‘So I reckon I would probably hand over about, er, nothing. Yeah that sounds about right.’

Amusing indeed. Although, it is always worth pointing out that, almost by definition, those who will use the services most actually pay the least into the system, so nothing much is changing there.

But just think of the opportunities for Darling Polly! By my calculations—which may be wrong, I grant you, since I am no accountant—and assuming an income of £140,000 from The Grauniad, Polly pays just £48,130 in Income Tax and a miserly £4,800 in National Insurance: scandalously, that is just 37.8% of her income.

Under this new system, I have no doubt that Polly would be happy to take home no more than the median wage, of some £23,000. This would mean that she would pay some £117,000 in tax (83.6% of her earnings) and she would thus be donating a full £64,070 over and above what she currently pays.

In other words, she would be happily donating more than double what she currently does; further, I imagine that all of the Grauniad and Observer journos would happily follow her lead, as would every Labour and LibDem MP!

Or am I chasing rainbows here...?


Ed said...

I have wondered about this. How much would the small group of net contributors give to "charity" if there were no taxes? I can't be sure, but I am sure I would give less than I currently do, but more than I would cost the charities to run the services I need. People are generous, that is the thing which socialists don't understand.

Roger Thornhill said...

Some people like taxes, as they abdicate responsibility, yet leave the door open to cry for "more to be done to support [insert pet cause here]".

anthonynorth said...

Good short story. But the twist left a lot to be desired.

Trixy said...

I think you should ask dear Polly.