Saturday 26 February 2011

Tax-payers (work in progress)

Tax-payer’ is one of the many nonsensical terms currently bandied about by the media. A hateful term also highlighted by that reactionary organisation trading under the name of The Taxpayers’ Alliance. An organisation that no doubt draws sizeable support from Daily Mail readers. When the term ‘Tax-payer’ is used it is done so in a way to imply exclusivity. In reality though virtually all of the adult population are tax payers, along with many children. The largest source for revenue collection is derived from what people spend. Consumers are the only real tax-payers. Certainly 'for profit' organisations don't pay tax and neither does anyone assessed under the standard rate of tax.

Now before you accuse me of peddling some kind of Stalinist philosophy I urge you to remove those blinkers and consider the economy of this country from a different perspective than the one you normally adopt. If you are one of those "I don't work hard and pay my taxes to subsidise the feckless and the [enter persecuted minority of your choice]" Johnnies then I feel sorry for you. Please stop taking things at face value. That is the mark of an imbecile. Nothing is ever black and white, so please don't pretend that it is. Society’s make up is complex and multi-faceted, slogan-solutions are never the answer to a problem, if indeed there is a problem, which is often just a matter of opinion.

'For profit' organisations don't pay tax
Now this will fit nicely into the prejudiced view of many a hardened left-winger. But please just hold on a minute and let me explain. Now I’m not talking about tax avoidance or evasion here, although I have no doubt that many a corporation practises these dark arts. No matter how large or small the tax bill of any company is when the bill is paid it is not really paid by that company. I know that it is they that hand over the cash, but ultimately it is their customers that pay their tax bill. This is repeated all the way down the supply chain until it reaches the end. The end being the consumer. Companies don't really pay tax; they build it in to their pricing and effectively pass it on.

Standard rate tax payers working for profit orientated companies don't really pay tax either
I guess, with your pay-slip in hand, you might challenge me on this. Especially if you pay a sizeable wad to HM Revenue and Customs on a regular basis. But given we live in a market driven economy. Yes I know we don't like it. Wages are determined by the market and ultimately it is take home pay that drives wage levels so tax levels are immaterial.

What about the public sector?
I won’t even begin to try and explain the role of the public sector in all of this as this whole blog-post would end up being much more tedious than it actually is. Plus we could easily end up disappearing up some financial bum-hole in the process. That’s not putting the public sector down. The public sector plays a vital role and doesn’t deserve all the criticism it receives. The unjustified cuts that they are subject to are a result of charlatan economics.

There seems to be a misjudged paranoia amongst certain sections of the community that they are the only ones paying, whilst everyone else is taking. If true Tory intentions come into being, with all public services being privatised, I think people would be in for a big shock. If we were each billed for the services we use I suspect a large proportion of “hard working tax-payers” would find that they would pay out much more than they do now. Be careful what you wish for.

The average person on the Clapham Omnibus needs to stop accepting what they are fed about the economy. They need to scratch beneath the surface. To use a hateful business slogan they need to “think outside of the box”. Individual economic events don’t happen in isolation. Economic issues aren’t addressed by snappy on-liners.

The idea that you can measure a person’s worth is obnoxious, and to try and measure it in financial terms is immoral as well as laughable. We all make a contribution to society in our own individual ways. Don’t knock people because they are different or because the way they cope with life isn’t your way. Think before you cast the first stone, you might not realise that you are living in a glasshouse.

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