Bit of a problem for Ritchie here

A commitment to social justice that is reflected in a commitment to:

Reducing inequality;
Treating all equally with regard to tax;
Creating fair markets;
Funding fairly the services that the state needs to supply to the people of this country.

How can you have a progressive tax system if all must be treated equally?

45 thoughts on “Bit of a problem for Ritchie here”

  1. I think what he’s after is that we all have the same equal amount after the tax person has taken tax off us.

  2. So long as that amount for me and my wife is as much as him and his wife get then I cannot complain.

  3. So Much for Subtlety

    Treating all equally is just PC-speak for discriminating against White people. Especially White males. He don’t mean it. They never do.

  4. Because “equality” and “inequality” are largely empty, meaningless words. It could be DocBud’s vision of equal post-tax income for all, Tim’s vision of equal tax rates for all, or something completely different. Even SMFS getting all excited about the vast amounts of discrimination against white males, could be done in the name of equality.

    And anyone who has the first clue what “social justice” even begins to mean, please enlighten me.

  5. BiG, any phrase beginning with the word “social” means the opposite of what the other word means. Thus, “social science” is not a science, “social justice” is inherently unjust, and so on.

  6. It’s a problem when people adopt sound bites without actually thinking about what they mean.

    A few years back I went to a ludicrous albeit highly comical meeting in Nigeria where the so-called management of a residential housing complex were discussing how the voting for the next years’ management committee would be carried out. The chairman first told us that each lot (i.e. apartment) would be given a vote weighted to its area (as is normal) but then – presumably because he’d heard it somewhere before and thought it sounded good – put up a slide saying “One Man – One Vote”. When I pointed out that this contradicted his previous remark, the whole meeting descended into a chimpanzees’ tea party and I was told to be “more respectful” to the chairman and “speak more carefully” in future.

    I suspect Murphy has the same problem, i.e. his ambitions outweigh his intellectual abilities.

  7. “I suspect Murphy has the same problem, i.e. his ambitions outweigh his intellectual abilities.”

    I wouldn’t worry. His arguments will be given consistency and intellectual rigour by the Marxists who have recently populated his comments. He seems to have no problem with Ms Dutt-Pauker’s dialectical contribution to the Margaret Hodge piece.

  8. On CiF once, I asked Polly T that given absolute equality was impossible, how much inequality would be acceptable. Just so we could have a meaningful, realistic target to aim at and we would know when we could all relax about this and think about something else instead.

    I got a reply to the effect that my question was like asking how many angels you could get on the head of a pin and that the point was that there was too much inequality right now.

    For lefties, it’s the gift that will always keep giving. There will always be some perceived inequality, so there will always be something they can use to generate their synthetic indignation on a slow day.

  9. Jack C

    I think Murphy would be beyond even the imagination of Peter Simple – although I sense echoes of Dr. Spacely-Trellis and Deirdre Dutt Pauker in his utterances. In terms of rhetoric his aggressive style is similar to Keith Rodent, writer of the ‘In Yer Face’ column for the Sunday Defective

  10. “How can you have a progressive tax system if all must be treated equally?”

    With respect, a stupid question, not least because there is more to tax than the rate, such as what is included in the taxable base and how it is treated. Murphy’s point is presumably that all individuals are treated equally by the system, although in practice that is equally naive. Even in a well functioning tax system with fully compliant tax payers, any decision about how much to raise from each type of tax is a political decision with no attempt at fairness. Politicians decide how much should be raised from drinkers smokers and drivers compared with workers, shareholders and property owners, and little consideration is given to individual circumstances. The idea that any of this is “fair” is a figment of Murphy’s imagination, and I suspect that he thinks that what he decides is correct is also “fair”.

  11. How can you have a progressive tax system if all must be treated equally?
    You have your finest economists work out a utility function, and tax the same proportion of utility from everyone’s incomes.

  12. Everyone should be equal, everyone should get everything from the state.

    Not a word on trying to make everyone more wealthy, or letting people realise their potential or just be. He really is a communist.

  13. Andrew K

    If it’s the Hodge profile in the Grauniad – what’s your point? Did I choose the wrong Simple characters?

    Jack C

    I had forgotten that quote, from Dr Heinz Kiosk ‘Ours will remain a guilty society, but it is not only society which is guilty…..WE ARE ALL GUILTY’

  14. Van Patten

    No, it’s the piece on the Tax Research UK website entitled “On Margaret Hodge”. It is attracting a great deal of comment. I won’t provide a link, but google “Tax Research UK”.

  15. If government tried to do an ‘equal’ tax or benefit then there’s be an uproar from those who do not want to be treated equal.
    Their special circumstances, requirements, needs etc must be taken into account. And you end up with a right mess thats full of problems and prone to errors.

    My fellow disabled tend to bleat about equality then in the same breath demand more disabled parking, better policing of disabled parking, better acces to jobs etc. Equality is one thing they DO NOT want.

  16. In his piece on Margaret Hodge he admits (comment at 9.14pm) that he was a governor of a primary school, knew of child abuse and (I assume from the context of the rest of the piece) did nothing.

    He brushes it aside saying that it was the 90s and we all turned a blind eye, or some such.

  17. Andrew K

    Genius and apologies – after Ironman was unmasked I stopped reading the thread! He is too stupid to understand satire – and for the record he has now defended Child abuse (to add to allowing Nazi beliefs to be justified and accepting money from an organization which funds ISIS sympathisers)

    The staggering thing is, in the eyes of people like Mark Crown, Ivan Horrocks or Andrew Dickie, this is ‘irrelevant’ because Trolls/ Neoliberalism/ Worstall/ UKIP/ Big Four/ Secrecy jurisdictions (Delete as applicable) – a sad indictment of the UK’s zeitgeist….

  18. Andrew Dickie is the Chair of RWUK.

    He is Service Manager at Coram Voice, a children’s rights charity working for children and young people in state care and campaigning for lasting change to improve their lives. Before joining Voice in 2010 Andrew worked for 6 years with the Refugee and Migrant Justice (formerly Refugee Legal Centre), where he led a team providing legal representation to asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants.

    In 2008 Andrew took a 12 month sabbatical from Refugee and Migrant Justice to work in Cambodia as a Special Advisor at the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) Cambodia’s oldest human rights organisation. His work with ADHOC focussed on supporting victims of the Khmer Rouge regime engage with the first trial at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

    Andrew decided to switch from a previous career in new media to work in the human rights sector as a consequence of his experiences as a human rights activist in the occupied Palestinian Territories in 2003 and 2004.

    His activism and rights work has given him a keen sense of the importance of ensuring that human rights are properly respected, that past violations are properly acknowledged and human rights lessons learned for the future.

  19. Van

    You make me sound like Kendo Nagasaki, unmasked after a crushing defeat at Richtie’s hands ( think Ritchie in a wrestling leotard).

    The funny thing about it is, once I’d told him I’d been using a pseudonym I became a neoliberal. Before that, however, he would address me “respectfully” and suggest we “agree to disagree”. I could say any d mad shit and he’d treat me seriously. I have a feeling I may not be the only one.

  20. Whatsherface the fashion woman who transferred her IP to Luxemburg (you can see I do my research) was forgiven by Murphy because everyone was doing it at that time and in any case she recently gave a load of money to the Greens.

    Hodge is forgiven by Murphy for turning a blind eye to child abuse and libelling a complainant because no-one really knew what was going on at the time (despite Hodge being told what was going on at the time) and in any case she now makes muddled screeching attacks on people Murphy thinks should never be forgivien for things they did in the past despite them being the things which everyone was doing at the time.

    Murphy might look physically like a cross between a potato and Toad of Toad Hall but by God he’s nimble and flexible when it comes to dancing around morality to suit his purpose.

    I’ve even invented a new word, just for Murphy (with a nod to Glen Doran). Whenever asked for an opinion about Murphy or anything he says, the one word reply “mansacunt” should suffice.

  21. Deirdre/Sue

    But you are clearly true, genuine followers of Ritchie. Otherwise how would your language echo his so accurately?

    You don’t fool me!

  22. Ironman

    Apologies – that wasn’t the intent – you ‘unmasked’ yourself of course, appalled (As anyone human would be) that anyone, especially a ‘respected campaigner’ could trivialise Child abuse for political reasons. I think he’ll struggle to recover from this – and it needs to be published widely all over Twitter – Apparently abuse of children is acceptable:

    A/ If the circumstances of the time were ‘less censorious’ of such a practice
    b/ If the person’s politics are otherwise deemed to be unimpeachable

    We failed to get traction on the links between Murphy and people who see ‘no issue’ with backing organizations with links to ISIS – now he is on the record as defending Hodge’s transgressions this needs to be widely publicised….

  23. @ PaulB
    Utility is neither a simple function of income nor is it invariant over time, even such a sort period as a fiscal year. So you proposal is utterly impracticable since all the economists in the country could not keep up with recalculating utility functions for every individual and we should need ever-increasing armies of economists until the whole nation comprised economnists, reminiscent of Douglas Adams’ shoe shops leading to the collapse of the economy on Frogstar B.

  24. john77: that’s nonsense, and you surely know it is. All we need is to put a proportionate amount of effort into coming up with an average utility function. As in almost any other field of human endeavour, absolute perfection is not required.

  25. @PaulB
    An average function is *quite* different from the *actual* utility function for each person’s income. You should have said what you meant, which was quite reasonable.
    We used to have an attempt at an average utility function with the married man’s allowance and an allowance for each child then progressively increasing tax rates as income increased. It was intended to be reasonably fair and there was a lot less public moaning about tax rates (except for the iniquitous Schedule A tax on imaginary income). Gordon Brown scrapped the married man’s allowance.

  26. Utility is an abstraction which can neither be measured nor calculated; you can invent equations that pretend to do so, but it is intrinsically impossible.

  27. The point is that it’s not equal treatment to take 30% of a poor man’s and a rich man’s income both. If we want to treat people equally, we have to take utility into account. OK, we can’t do it perfectly, but so what? The only fair tax system is progressive.

    As Tim in fact recognizes in his enthusiasm for increasing the personal allowance.

  28. So Much for Subtlety

    PaulB – “The point is that it’s not equal treatment to take 30% of a poor man’s and a rich man’s income both. If we want to treat people equally, we have to take utility into account. OK, we can’t do it perfectly, but so what? The only fair tax system is progressive.”

    Of course it is equal. You may not think it is fair, but it is equal. The law in its majesty prohibits the rich and poor equally from sleeping under bridges.

    It does not follow that a progressive tax is fair. You just think so. Actually a progressive tax is easy because the rich can be shamed into paying. That is the only reason we have them – convenience. As can be seen by the delight with which the Left fell on the highly regressive VAT – what is Denmark’s rate now? I fail to see why it is fair to soak the rich. Suppose we had a tax specifically designed to make Jews pay. They are richer on average, so why not? That would not be fair. They do not consume any more public goods than anyone else.

    If you want the state to spend 50 pence in every pound you have no choice but to have a progressive system. Not because it is fair but because that is where the money is and the rich tend to be law abiding. No more.

  29. PaulB

    I do get the idea that yaxing equal utility equates with equal treatment.
    Now, if you were talking about taxing consumption, then yes, consumption equates as much as anything with utility. A property tax could equate to a degree with utility. But to try to equate income with utility by progressively increasing tax rates on it? That sounds a little like measuring apples by pears.

  30. “PaulB
    The point is that it’s not equal treatment to take 30% of a poor man’s and a rich man’s income both.”

    Provided the poor man has enough for a decent lifestyle, why not? If he is fed, clothed, housed and has access to free healthcare and free education I feel we as a society have done our bit. Beyond that I have no desire to fund another person’s lifestyle at the expense of my own. If YOU do, there are charities that cater for such worthy beliefs.

    Personally I don’t think an ever increasing personal tax allowance is a good thing. For sure, start income tax rates very low but I think everyone should contribute something to the costs of society as if they don’t they will have no cost to themselves in demanding ever more.

    How many adults do we now have in the UK who pay nothing at all toward the services the state provides? How many adults do we have who contribute less in tax/NI than they get in value from those services?

    And all these people who are being subsidised seem to do is demand more and bitch about ‘rich’ people not paying enough tax.

  31. BinG

    Which bit do you agree with? The bit where he thinks the law treats us all equally or the bit where he thinks it discriminates against white men?

  32. Sorry, a bit facetious

    Actually though I do think PaulB has a good point here. With a higher propensity to consume, tax effects the poor an more than it does the rich.
    And hasn’t Tim often and loud said the only wealth worth worrying about is the consumption value of wealth?

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