There is a move afoot over here in the UK that is very similar to the discussions in the US. It is not a secret that the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom is considered far more socialist than the US with a vast array of government provided services (like health care via the NHS) and is a much older welfare state than America.
Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, has just called for a “special tax” on the richest Brits:
Britain’s wealthiest people should face an emergency tax to avoid a breakdown in social cohesion as the country fights an “economic war” caused by a longer than expected recession, Nick Clegg has said.
In the first interview by a senior member of the cabinet to mark the new political season, the deputy prime minister told the Guardian he is embarking on a battle to persuade his Tory coalition partners of the need to ensure the rich shoulder a greater burden of the economic pain.
“If we are going to ask people for more sacrifices over a longer period of time, a longer period of belt tightening as a country, then we just have to make sure that people see it is being done as fairly and as progressively as possible,” Clegg said.
Apparently in a welfare state as old as the UK, they still can’t plan or manage within their means, so like the Democrats and Obama, they are looking to “the rich” to pay for it.
So, once again, the people who have money are being attacked simply because they have money. Clegg’s assertion that it needs to be “done as fairly and as progressively as possible” is a contradiction – there is no possible way that assessing extra tax on “the rich” can be both progressive and fair at the same time.
The idea that it can harkens back to Marx’s idea that capital is a vampire, sucking the lifeblood of the labourer and that income should be distributed from those who have the ability to those who have the need. Understood in the context of these two statements, the definition of “fairness” is that the output of every citizen should be valued exactly the same and the purpose of a “progressive” tax system is to “correct” the inequality of value of those outputs via the redistribution of income from top value creators to those who create lesser or no value.
That’s not a value judgement of people, it is a simple fact. It is an immutable fact of life that people are born with different skills and abilities, different intellectual capacities and develop different motivations as they mature and as a result, each person is able to generate a different outcome. Some turn out to be lawyers, business people, vessel captains, skilled craftsmen, engineers, care workers, medical professionals, builders or actors – many of which are careers exhibited by the co-bloggers on this site. The point being that I do not have the skills required to be a vessel captain and I’m sure that there are skills I have that others lack. We all offer a different value to society and to the economy and as a result, we all draw from the economy a different amount of compensation.
That’s the free enterprise system. The “fairness” is determined by an impartial arbiter, an independent market that sets a price on what we have to offer. Price is reset and adjusted with every individual transaction. What could be more moral than having a totally independent methodology to set that price where we are judged not on who we are but by what we produce?
The struggle with “progressive” taxation and its basis in Marxism is exactly this – no two people are the same. If you don’t have the skills, the ability or the same desire that I do, you cannot achieve what I have achieved (nor can I what you have). If you can’t achieve the same level as me, I simply do not have enough money or assets to give to you to sustain you. At that point, what you “earn” is more dependent on my ability to generate income than your ability.
Where is the fairness in that? Where is the morality in having my income confiscated to be given to another, not because they create value, but to satisfy some false sense of “equality”? By doing this we subsidise non-production and guarantee a continuance of it. We equalise nothing but the outcome – and that is simply not sustainable because as we have demonstrated, to discourage the consumption of something, you make it more expensive to acquire – and taxes raise the cost of achievement.
In my mind this is why every socialist/Marxist/communist policy, program or state will ultimately fail. The human spirit values achievement and achievement should not be punished with “special” taxes unless we want less of it.