What a pathetic little demand

But education is the long game; elites need to move now to show they are serious about fighting inequality and anti-immigration sentiment. And in a world increasingly divided into flys and fly-nots, what better way to do that than to tax those who fly the most and spend the most on airfares?

The proceeds of that tax could be invested in economic development, infrastructure projects and schools in the areas that are most economically fragile and which therefore have become most hostile to immigration.

Not practical, not realistic, not doable, you say? Actually, such a tax already exists. It has been levied on airline tickets in a number of countries including the UK, France and Brazil since 2002 and its recipient, the UN agency Unitaid, uses the money to finance the fight against Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

Instead of patronising leavers, Ukip and Trump voters, let’s levy an additional £5 on every business class ticket sold in the UK and use the proceeds to finance the economic development of the places most severely hit by the negative effects of globalisation.

250 million (around) passenger movements in the UK each year. 10% are business class? A guestimate, sure. But around and about right maybe?

We’re going to raise £125 million. That’s going to do a lot to ameliorate globalisation, isn’t it?

37 comments on “What a pathetic little demand

  1. Why not tax thirdworlders living in the first world? These people are coming to be doctors and lawyers and will pay all our pensions- shouldn’t they at least give a little back to their home countries?

  2. “Those who benefit from migration and globalisation should share the benefits with those bearing the brunt of its effects”

    The beneficiaries of migration are the migrants; the beneficiaries of globalisation are the poor, as globalisation lowers prices.

  3. Eh. Education will do the square root of fuck all. An FE college isn’t going to stop your son being beheaded or your daughters blown to bloody bits at a concert by “migrants”.

    Also, there’s the glib idea that unemployed 40-something former taxi drivers or whatever can just magically learn new skills quickly and well enough to support themselves.

    “JUST LEARN TO CODE!!!?!?”, says the noodly-armed hipster whose own job involves vague “consulting” and “coordinating” like he’s fresh from the B-Ark.

    But there’s a Bell Curve for intelligence and most of the population will never be able to make a living building iPhone apps or what-have-you.

    The suicide-by-immigration narrative requires us to believe several impossible things before breakfast:

    * Manual labour isn’t coming back, because globalisation and robots
    * But we need trillions of cheap labour migrants to do those jobs British people won’t do!
    * Illiterate goatherds from shithole countries will die if we don’t escort them across the Med and the English Channel and then give them free housing.
    * But they’ll pay our pensions, somehow!

    The solution to the crises caused by globalism is nationalism.

  4. I suspect this ‘investment’ is intended for “not for profits”, NGOs, State-funded wankers and the rest of the middle-class employment scheme.

  5. Rob has it right.
    100m might not do much vs the current aid budget, but as a new pot of money to pay for non jobs it is pretty meaningful.

  6. SS2 – Coding? Used to be a good job, now either the business goes to India or to Indians here on HSM visas.

    Have warned both my sons off considering it as a career.

  7. As Tim is fond of saying; you tax something to reduce it. In this case, reducing the number of business class passengers flying to developing countries to spend money in hotels, taxis, casinos, restaurants, etc. in turn reducing their ability to develop business and grow their own economies.

    The existing APD has already been decried by various African countries as damaging to their tourist revenue. This just makes it worse, no?

  8. I am very uneasy about hypothecating a tax into the pockets of an NGO.

    These groups get three bites at the cherry when it comes to wielding power. 1. Getting the ear of politicians. 2. Squeezing money out of the public. 3. Deciding where that money is spent.

  9. @Rickie,

    The 250 million is all movements, not just domestic (where obviously there is very little C-class travel). 10% is probably a bit on the low side for international, especially long-haul travel.

    Sure your average bod will take only 0.1% of their lifetime flights in C (the one upgrade they ever get) but most C travellers are frequent fliers. Lufthansa say that their average gold-tier member flies about 50% in C and 50% in economy, more than making up for the many infrequent fliers who only ever fly economy.

  10. What’s the average distribution of seats on aircraft? I’d assume that airlines try not to fly with empty seats, so the distribution of seats in aircraft should bear a fairly close resemblance to distribution of passengers (indeed, the distribution of the aircraft seats will be the critical bit, as the airline’s software will then be adjusting pricing to try and ensure said seats are full).

  11. @ Corvus Umbranox
    The pay ain’t wot it used to be but #1 son is much (and one can literally say “visibly” – his physical appearance is better as a result of deleting the workplace-related stress) happier now that he is working in an environment of geeks instead of office politicians.
    Depends what you want for a career for your sons. My Dad took early retirement and died relatively young, both as a side-effect of overwork.

  12. Air Passenger Duty is a big enough ripoff already thanks. From April 1st it’s going up to £156 per trip in business class for flights over 2000 miles.

  13. ‘elites need to move now to show they are serious about fighting inequality and anti-immigration sentiment’

    Elites don’t have to do shit. WhoTF are you to declare what elites have to do?

    ‘And in a world increasingly divided into flys and fly-nots, what better way to do that than to tax those who fly the most and spend the most on airfares?’

    Argumentum ad ignorantium.

    ‘The proceeds of that tax could be invested in economic development, infrastructure projects and schools in the areas that are most economically fragile’

    Appeal to pity.

    ‘and which therefore have become most hostile to immigration’

    False characterization. Hostility to invasion is NOT hostility to immigration.

    ‘migration, the act of going from point A to point B in search of a better life.’

    Governments are instituted amongst Men for the purpose of mutual protection. Including barriers to people who are not under said government, i.e., non-citizens. The benefits of citizenry extend to no one else. It is government’s prime directive to PREVENT migration, or to control it to the point of near prevention. For the UK, the USA, etc., the ONLY criteria for migration is “How will it help us?” The consideration of a ‘search of a better life’ is invalid. Grossly invalid. How it will help the migrant is of ABSOLUTELY no relevance.

    “When are you fuckers going to acquire a conscience?”

    We are implored to destroy our governments and cultures due to circumstances OUTSIDE our governments and cultures. It is a mental illness. “Things suck in Shitholestan. We must bring people in from there to turn our country into a shithole.”

  14. True elites don’t bother with business class anyway. Just look at the Gulfstreams parked wingtip to wingtip at the Zurich airport.

  15. Rob said:
    “I suspect this ‘investment’ is intended for “not for profits”, NGOs, State-funded wankers and the rest of the middle-class employment scheme.”

    Yup. £125 million won’t go very far, but it will provide well-paid (by his standards) employment for the writer and 2,500 of his friends.

  16. @Bloke in Germany, Tim was basing his £125 million on 10% of 250 million being business class which is clearly wrong.

    My last long haul flight had the odd situation of all the first class and premium economy being called to the gate to board early which left very few economy passengers.

    100 empty economy seats meant there was a lot of lying down sleeping going on.

  17. Education is the long game? Considering that half of young people think socialism is a good idea, that game has been played for a long time already.

  18. Last time I flew to the UK the sticker price was $800. The actual price was $1750 with tax. So I am already paying enough fucking tax, you grasping tranzi cunt.

  19. I suspect this ‘investment’ is intended for “not for profits”, NGOs, State-funded wankers and the rest of the middle-class employment scheme.

    And think tanks like the one Felix works for. Don’t forget them.

  20. “And in a world increasingly divided into flys and fly-nots,”

    Maybe I’m missing something – but isn’t airfare so cheap that its basically a bus service now? People hop on a plane to travel a thousand miles to puke on the streets of a completely different country just for a three-day weekend?

    In my experience (here in the the US) you don’t fly only if you’re in the very small class of people for whom it makes sense to trade multiple hours on a bus to save 20-30 dollars over the airfare.

  21. “use the proceeds to finance the economic development of the places most severely hit by the negative effects of globalisation.”

    If they’re ‘hurt’ by globalization (and that presupposes *areas* can be hurt instead of people – who could move) than doesn’t that mean they disproportionately benefited from the previous status quo? And shouldn’t that mean those areas owe *us* for the benefits they accumulated before easy long-range travel existed?

  22. Ignore anyone who calls themselves a “coder” they are a programmer for f**ks sake. In addition there are programmers and there are programmers. Probably 80% of the programmers out there can just about enough Ruby to process a web form or enough Python to add two numbers together. Unis and “coding” boot camps produce these by the thousand. The other 20% can still make a decent living though as long as they keep away from games programming (long story).

  23. Air travel in the UK at least is the most democratic form of travel. There is data out there showing that rich adults are more likely than non-rich adults to take flights, drives, bicycle rides, and train journeys. That’s no surprise but the proportions enjoyed by the rich is lowest for air travel.
    You’d think adult cyclists who report actually using their bikes would have lower incomes than the adult average, but it’s not so.

  24. You could look at their example in two ways. They know it’s piddly but it opens the door to both increases in the tax and to tax more things on that basis. Or, that they imagined it would be a huge number and didn’t bother to check it.

  25. SS2,

    I was thinking this with the launch of the Amazon shop without checkout staff and the chicken littles complaining about unemployed checkout worries: there’s a few less migrants we need.

  26. Corvus,

    Its still going, but it’s really different today. Its more like a combined programmer/project manager/analyst role. I rarely work in development teams bigger than half a dozen. When you get bigger than that, the advantages of putting the work offshore start to kick in.

  27. Air travel in the UK at least is the most democratic form of travel.

    Once they get rid of the rich bastards who sit in first class, the middle class will turn their fire on the working class who also insist on clogging up their aeroplanes travelling to God knows where.

  28. @Rickie, you give an anecdote where half the passengers are in some form of premium as evidence for 0.1% being more accurate than 10%?

  29. UK already charges about GBP 120 each way for biz class tickets over 650 nautical miles originating or terminating London. So BA rountrip NYC to Bologna connecting BA at Heathrow doesnt pay the tax since flight terminates and return originates Bologna. Roundtrip BA to Heathrow and connecting roundtrip Alitalia to Bologna pays the tax EACH WAY, ’cause BA flight terminates and originates at Heathrow.

    Which is why, when i fly to London I always fly to Paris 2 days early, to overcome jetlag ( and 240 GBP pays for a Parisian meal or two), and take train into London the morning of my meeting; and AF heathrow to paris to nyc when heading home

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