Ritchie on tax

We live in an incredibly wealthy world. That wealth could be taxed. And those with that wealth have captured the political system to make sure that their wealth is not being taxed.

Is he actually arguing for a wealth tax?

Or is the man who would write the world\’s taxation system ignorant of the difference between wealth and income?

17 thoughts on “Ritchie on tax”

  1. RM hasn’t got passed the stage of shouting ‘You’ve got more stuff than me, its not fair!!’ while jumping up and down and screaming, so to expect him to understand the concepts of stocks of wealth vs flows of income, and the consequences of taxing either, is expecting a bit much.

  2. Ritchie is a prime example of the sort of neo-Marxist that would much prefer the state to have all of peoples money (income flows and wealth stocks) and then dole out pocket money according to need.

    We saw how well that worked out in the Soviet Union of Socialist Republics.

    “I have lived in your future ….and it doesn’t work” (Russian dissident Vladimir Bukovsky on the EU)

    P.S. Ritchie – Go Fuck Yourself!

  3. I’m amused at the idea of Ritchie getting wealth and income confused. Shall we wait to see if he starts paying tax on his own wealth first?

  4. I don’t think he cares about the difference between stocks and flows. He just wants to tax everything.

  5. I don’t think that Ritchie is being precise in his use of the word “wealth”. I think he is using it as a general term meaning “money available to spend”, without necessarily defining whether the money is in the form of income or assets. Perhaps the word “moneyed” would be better, as in “moneyed” people have (more) money to spend.

    His point, that moneyed people have captured the political system, and use this fact to minimise the tax they have to pay, is, I think a valid one.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Mark in Mayenne – “His point, that moneyed people have captured the political system, and use this fact to minimise the tax they have to pay, is, I think a valid one.”

    Really? In what sense of the word “valid”? We pay over 40% of GDP in tax. How can you reconcile that with the idea the rich control the country?

    Where do we spend that money? In the main, on civil servants. Who form the backbone of the modern Trade Union movement. Which controls one of the main political parties in this country. What we actually have is a political process captured by the metropolitan elites with liberal arts degrees who dominate the civil service. We would be better off if the rich controlled by the country.

  7. SMFS: the rich control the country. The increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of the few isn’t a natural and inevitable consequence of free markets, it’s a result of government actions. If the very rich did pay 40%+ of their income in return for these favours, it would be very good value for them.

    Consider: intellectual property rights, banking subsidies, agricultural subsidies…

  8. PaulB, the increasing concentration of wealth may well be a result of government policy, but I don’t think it is (mainly) an intended result.

    It’s rather a side-effect of other political aims – the desire to regulate, employment protection, the disincentives of the benefits system, the green agenda, etc. etc.

    Side effects largely predicted by free market supporters such as Tim, but not intended by those making our laws.

  9. Richard – how the blazes do you reckon any of those transfer wealth from the middle class to the super-rich? Because that’s the major shift that’s actually occurred over the last 30 years.

  10. the super rich in this country have not got their wealth from th emiddle classes of this country…they have almost all got it from emerging markets and the former soviet union. We have attratced the super rich from other countries while successive governmnets have robbed the middle classes to build a client state where a family that has never worked in their lives have an ‘income’ in excess of £70k a year and pay no tax on it. The middle classes need to wake up and realise that they are not being robbed by the rich, they are (in effect) being mugged by the ‘poor’ with the help of the governments they voted in…

  11. Subtlety: “Really? In what sense of the word “valid”? We pay over 40% of GDP in tax. How can you reconcile that with the idea the rich control the country? ”

    I’m not sure I understand your point. Are you saying that if the rich controlled the country that the total tax paid would be less that 40% of GDP? You might well be right.

    But I don’t see how that has any bearing on the claim that the rich use their money to influence (not “control”) government to reduce their individual tax burdens.

  12. @ PaulB
    Under every Conservative government in my lifetime the share of the country’s wealth held by the rich has declined (even though income disparity increased under Thatcher – by far less than taxable income disparity increased as a lot of tax advisers were sacked after Howe reduced the top tax rate to 60% – wealth disparity reduced). Only under New Labour did the wealth of the bottom half of the wealth distribution decrease (by two-thirds before Brown’s team stopped HMRC publishing the data and more later).
    So when those with inherited wealth had a say in government decisions wealth became less concentrated: your whole thesis is based on blaming Conservatives for New Labour’s stupid policies.

  13. john77: I neither said nor implied that this is a party-political issue. You must be talking about someone else’s whole thesis.

  14. @ PaulB #15
    WTF – this *is* a one-party-political issue. It has *only* been New Labour that made the rich richer while making the poor poorer. I AM talking about YOUR thesis.
    You ignorantly claimed that the rich control the country and that concentrates wealth in the hands of the few. Balderdash: while IHT during WWII and under Attlee may have reduced wealth disparity, all Conservative governments have reduced wealth disparity.

  15. john77: how can I put this politely? Bollocks.

    First, the Gini coefficient rose almost monotonically for 30 years from 1979, but most of the increase was during Thatcher’s premiership. Second, if you prefer a measure of wealth disparity, the proportion of assets held by the wealthiest 1% of the population fell throughout the 20th century until 1988, and rose from 1991.

    The explanation is not hard to find, and is not party political. The relative value of hereditary wealth declined as incomes generally rose and death duties took their toll on succeeding generations. But for the last thirty years at least the relative incomes of the wealthiest have increased, and this has become the dominating factor.

    Neither party has shown any interest in reforming the laws and political practices that support such wealth inequality. Both are dependent on the very rich for much of their funding.

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