Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Neil Harding: the gift that keeps on giving

Following on from my last Harding fisking, Neil has replied to some of his critics in the comments to his original post; and, do you know what? He continues to beggar belief!

Let's have a closer look shall we?
#1 The massive recent crime drop in the US has also happened across most of the developed world. There is one factor that links them all -legalised abortion. Places that legalised abortion earlier found their crime rates started to fall earlier.

In the short term prison does work, in the long term it doesn't. The problem is, what do you suggest doing with all the career criminals prison creates that are eventually released into the community?

Well, as has been pointed out before, the more unpleasant you make prison, the less willing people are to go back. Suppose that you have been in prison and it was so awful that you would rather sell your granny than go back; will that make you more or less likely to commit a crime?

Another effective deterrent would be if the little fuckers had to pay compensation to their victims, as the P-G so eloquently pointed out:
The role of the state should be simply to effect the swift and smooth transfer of compensation from the criminal to his victim.

If such criminals are not able to pay the compensation that ought to be extracted, tough: let that act as a deterrent.

Knowing that the state can confiscate any and all of your assets and then continue to hound you for the rest of your life until you have paid sufficient compensation to repair the damage you have caused ought to be an additional incentive to stay on the straight and narrow.

This would also offset a lot of the financial incentives for crime; let's adopt it now.

Number 2 is, as I think the phrase goes, a real doozy.
#2 Have you no compassion for the plight of those in other countries?

Well, yes, sort of. However, I do not think that "taking money from the poor in rich countries and giving it to the rich in poor countries", as such aid has been described, is the best way of doing it. I would far rather trade entirely freely with the poorer countries, which has the following advantages:
  1. The money goes to those who produce the goods and not their god-awful, corrupt politicians who are, in any case, the real reason that so many of the most resource-rich countries in the world are also the poorest (yes, Africa, I'm looking at you).

  2. It would help to build a stable, functioning economy with a long-term future, rather than creating a client state dependent on hand-outs. It doesn't work for individuals on benefits in this country; why the hell do you think that it would work on a country to country basis?

  3. A stable economy is much more likely to encourage a stable political system, and commensurate security of life and property, thus helping the economy further.

  4. We would become richer because we would have cheaper goods.

  5. We would have new markets to sell our services to.

This appraoch is infinitely preferable to the protectionist approach that the EU takes, which effectively kills millions of people a year with its trade quotas and tariffs. We must leave the EU and open our markets to free trade with the developing world: in you truly have "compassion for the plight of those in other countries" this is the only reasonable route to take. And to do that, we must leave the EU.
If you want hypothecated taxes, fine, the majority in this country would like less money spent on the military and more spent on health, transport, education etc.

I must have missed that survey...
The majority also vote for parties that advocate tax increases - Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, etc.

Yes; apart from in England at the last general election, of course, where 100,000 more voted Tory than Labour. Also, I seem to remember Labour coming to power on a promise not to increase income tax; was that not the case? No party has ever been elected in Britain on a platform of openly increasing taxes.
It is a disgrace that countries such as Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, France and Germany all spend more (as a proportion of GDP) on health than we do.

Yes, yes, yes, Neil; the key phrase is "as a proportion of GDP"; as you are well aware, all of these countries have a health system financed only partly by the government. The majority of the cash comes from private insurance companies, to which workers are compelled to pay a proportion of their wages. It's a bit like NICs, except that the money is actually spent on health rather than MPs' pensions.
#3 Let's not forget that the Tories made the poor poorer by cutting taxes.

This is an unbelievably stupid thing to say; it is so nonsensical that we will have to refer to a following comment from Neil to explain it.
Say I propose raising the tax allowance to 12k, this could take millions of the poorest paid out of the tax system but it is still a BIGGER tax cut for those earning over 12k than those under it. This cut would mean massive cuts in public spending. Public spending benefits those on under 12k the most by providing them with healthcare and education they couldn't otherwise afford. Hence the poor suffer the most from tax cuts! Taxation is a redistributer of wealth, hence tax cuts help the rich become wealthier and the poor become poorer.

Fuck me, where to start, eh? I actually answered all of this in my original post but, in brief:
  1. Tax cuts do not automatically mean cuts in public services. It does mean that they need to use the resources more efficiently.

  2. Someone earning £12,000 a year would currently pay, I think, £1440 in tax (not including NICs). This is £120 a month. The most expensive health insurance quote that I was £58 a month. This is less than half the tax that has been paid therefore, even were health services to be cut and private health insurance necessary, the individual would still be £62 per month better off, quod erat demonstrandum.

  3. Inter alia, £58 per month is £696 per year. Therefore, only when you were earning below £6,960 per year would health insurance (at this rate) be a worse deal than paying tax. However, someone working full-time (40 hours a week), even on the minimum wage (£5.15) would earn £10,712. So, this really isn't an issue.

  4. This sentence—"Say I propose raising the tax allowance to 12k, this could take millions of the poorest paid out of the tax system but it is still a BIGGER tax cut for those earning over 12k than those under it."—is total bollocks: £1440 is 12% of the salary of someone earning £12,000, but 2.88% of the salary of someone earning £50,000. That's just common sense.

  5. Cutting out this tax would also mean far less bureaucracy required to collect it; hence savings could be made by sacking hundreds of wealth-consuming public sector workers.

  6. The idea that the state is the best provider of any kind of service has been carefully and comprehensively ripped apart here, for instance. In this case, the Welfare State has presided over a cut in services.

Let us also remember that Neil cannot argue without bringing party politics into it; every time he moans about what the Tories did, I want to slap him repeatedly around the face whilst screaming "the winter of discontent, you idiot" repeatedly. But I don't; this is because I am mature enough to realise that pointing out that y was worse simply does not make x any better.

Neil Harding: the gift that keeps on giving, even on a slow news day.

7 comments:

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

aha DK:

It's always nice when people recall stuff I wrote over a month ago.

Re-reading it, I am uncomfortable with my use of the term "compensation". This word is somewhat loaded/a little pejorative and smacks of ambulance chasers.

At the very least, my contention is that the criminal should, at the very least, reimburse the cost of putting right the damage he caused by his crime.

e.g. a burglar who forced entry to your house, makes a mess and nicks your telly should AT THE VERY LEAST refund:
- the cost of repairing the damage to your front door/broken window
- buy you an equivalent new telly, i.e. not refund the cash he got for it, which will be negligible in comparison to your cost of (legal) replacement
- your cleaning bill
- a lump sum against your increased home insurance premiums.

Any money beyond this is punitive or in retribution, which is then more difficult to defend.

The key points are:
1) The scrote should pay up and
2) the taxpayer should not.

Any further debt that the scrote needs to pay to society is another matter and ought to be separate to the debt he owes you. What is important here is that that that debt is not paid by the taxpayer.

PG

Wrong Un said...

You say 'Yes; apart from in England at the last general election, of course, where 100,000 more voted Tory than Labour.'

But Neil Harding's point is is that the combined share of the vote of the parties that favour higher taxation, Labour & Lib Dems, is (and has always been since Thatcher) more than the share of the vote won by the party that supports cutting tax. Surely that's not too hard to understand?

Vol-in-Law said...

"god-awful, corrupt politicians who are, in any case, the real reason that so many of the most resource-rich countries in the world are also the poorest."

Hm, I think that in reality countries tend to get the politicians they deserve, with the exception of occupied countries like Communist-occupied eastern Europe. Most politicians are a reflection of the society from which they come, for good or bad. I'm not sure Africa has a great reservoir of honest, competent, corruption-free politicians waiting in the wings.

Mr Eugenides said...

Say I propose raising the tax allowance to 12k, this could take millions of the poorest paid out of the tax system but it is still a BIGGER tax cut for those earning over 12k than those under it.

Absolutely loving that logic.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Wrong Un,

Yes, I did wonder if someone would spot that. However, I let it lie since no party has ever won by making tax-rises a manifesto pledge.

It also seemed a slightly petty thing for anyone to pounce on, when compared to the rest of the stuff.

DK

Neil Harding said...

"Yes, I did wonder if someone would spot that."

How stupid do you think your readers are?

I used to naively think you were just mistaken but this confirms it, you don't believe what you write, it's just to win support for your selfish views.

"no party has ever won by making tax-rises a manifesto pledge."

Considering the Tories are trying to deny they are a tax cutting party this is rich.

"It also seemed a slightly petty thing for anyone to pounce on"

I would say that tax levels is THE argument not a petty point.

Most people vote for parties they know will increase tax (There was a survey before 2005 that suggested that the vast majority expected Labour to raise taxes). The Lib Dems constantly mentioned their tax raising manifesto commitments (50p top rate) and the SNP likewise. The 'other' parties that made up a further 10% of the vote were mostly tax raising parties as well.

The Tories got 32% of the vote in 2005, that is the support for tax cuts! If we had a proper electoral system, no way would a tax cutting ideology liked Thatcherism have formed the government throughout the eighties and early nineties with just 43% of the vote.

I have no time to comment on your other points at present, But I'll be back!

Devil's Kitchen said...

How stupid do you think your readers are?

I like to keep them on their toes...

I used to naively think you were just mistaken but this confirms it, you don't believe what you write, it's just to win support for your selfish views.

Neil, with all due respect, mate, go fuck yourself. All that I ask is that I don't get money stolen off me to pay for facilities that I do not and will not use. This is the system which you advocate: how fucking selfish is that?

And I do, entirely, believe what I write, otherwise why bother?

Considering the Tories are trying to deny they are a tax cutting party this is rich.

In the name of fuck, will you PISS OFF WITH YOUR FUCKING PARTY POLITICS! I have said a number of times on this site that I am not a mindless Tory voter and that, in fact, I don't trust Cameron AND that, unless he starts talking turkey sharpish, I will not vote for them. I write about what I believe in, and no party has my views in their manifesto at present.

Whereas you... you fully admit that you don't support many of NuLabour's policies and are, in fact, actively opposed to many of them and yet you not only vote for them but urge everyone else to too.

You are a raging hypocrite, and a fool of the very worst kind. The only reasons that I bother pulling you apart is a) because it is so easy, and b) you are a self-confessed hypocrite who should be exposed as such.

I would say that tax levels is THE argument not a petty point.

I wasn't saying that taxes were a petty point, only the proportion voting in one particular direction. That is a petty point because people are swayed not just by the level of tax, but also how it is spent; they masses expect not to get taxed, but they do expect to get a cut of the spoils. Woo! Free money!

Most people vote for parties they know will increase tax (There was a survey before 2005 that suggested that the vast majority expected Labour to raise taxes). The Lib Dems constantly mentioned their tax raising manifesto commitments (50p top rate) and the SNP likewise. The 'other' parties that made up a further 10% of the vote were mostly tax raising parties as well.

Of course, because all of these people advocate taxing "the rich" and the green-eyed poor do love to wrest treasures away from those who have earned them. Which is why socialism is such a fundamentally evil creed: it is based on jealousy, greed and the acquisition of property that one has not earned. As I have said before, socialism is about stealing property from those who have earned it and giving it to those who have not. Evil, evil, evil.

The Tories got 32% of the vote in 2005, that is the support for tax cuts!

This is still a petty point.

If we had a proper electoral system, no way would a tax cutting ideology liked Thatcherism have formed the government throughout the eighties and early nineties with just 43% of the vote.

Well, no way would NuLabour have formed a majority government with just 36% of the vote either.

DK

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