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And now for something actually interesting

Experience tells me that it takes at least ten, and sometimes quite a lot more years for ideas of the sort that I am engaged in promoting to turn from a blog post to reality. Meanwhile, I am always told that I am wrong.

The old saying was first they ignore you. Then they mock you. Then they get very angry. Finally, they adopt your idea and claim it was theirs all along. It looks like that on tax reform we have jumped straight to stage three.

Well, yes.

So is freezing tax allowances during a period of inflation grossly unfair.

I started insisting that we should increase tax allowances – to make up for the way they’d been frozen against inflation – back in about 2004 or so. On this very blog. We won, too, with the Coalition, it took until about 2017 or so to fully get there with income tax, later for NI. It’s even possible to prove that point – my insistence was to raise the allowance to the full time, full year, minimum wage. £12,500 was that, in the year they announced that was their ambition.

And guess who insisted all those years that raising the personal allowance was not the right way to lighten the tax burden?

Can you guess?

Indeed, it is the man now insisting that not following my plan is unfair.

16 thoughts on “And now for something actually interesting”

  1. “my insistence was to raise the allowance to the full time, full year, minimum wage. £12,500”

    Not a good idea. Almost all voters should be visibly hurting paying tax out of whatever income they have.
    Focus the minds on who pays for all that ‘free stuff’

  2. “Almost all voters should be visibly hurting paying tax out of whatever income they have.”

    I think that PAYE and the fact that prices in shops aren’t displayed both with and without VAT mean that most people don’t pay enough attention to the amount of tax they pay. I think that it was Longrider who suggested that everyone should have to write a cheque made out to HMRC just like self employed people have to. I’d bet if filling stations displayed fuel prices both with and without fuel duty and VAT people would be outraged. As a related aside, I saw a sign above the beer shelf in Asda today warning of an impending increase in alcohol duty.

  3. Almost all voters should be visibly hurting paying tax out of whatever income they have.
    Focus the minds on who pays for all that ‘free stuff’

    I was just about to say “abolish PAYE, make everyone suffer writing a cheque to HMRC”, then saw Stonyground had beaten me to it.

    PAYE is pernicious because generally people don’t miss what they never had. If they have to physically hand over the cash, it will start to sting and more will realise that free stuff ain’t free when it’s us taxpayers paying for it all.

  4. “make everyone suffer writing a cheque to HMRC”

    Prior to PAYE being introduced anyone with a tax liability would have to submit a tax return. They would then send in their tax or the collector would chase them for it.

    It was to avoid this that PAYE was introduced (during WWII), neatly turning every employer into a tax collector that the government didn’t have to pay. WWII had of course resulted in a lot more tax being needed and so greatly increased the numbers of those paying it.

  5. Here in the States, I would ban withholding and require quarterly estimated payments like the rich have to do. Get the employers out of the tax business.

    Then move tax filing day from April 15th to October 31st. That date is about a week before federal election day. Could concentrate the mind of the voter quite handily.

  6. You’re talking about someone who wrote a book called ‘The joy of Tax’ (I have read it for my sins!) so I don’t think he’s under any illusion about what he perceives as the ‘need’ for higher taxes. Indeed his target level of taxation is a base rate of 99%. After all the state knows much better than you how to manage your money.

  7. TtC – “Almost all voters should be visibly hurting paying tax out of whatever income they have”

    Agreed, but I’d go further. We already know that democracy dies when 51% get to rob the 49%, so….

    My (easy!) solution is to split the tax gathering from the spending. Every adult citizen gets a vote on how to spend the money, exactly as now. However, only people who contribute at a certain minimum level are allowed – in a completely separate vote – to set the amount to be spent in a year. Maybe you get some additional benefits as a reward for your contribution, like fast track at the border, or a zil lane on the roads….

    Wouldn’t that be fun? In one campaign, watching the assorted parasites have to plead taxpayers to cough up more. Then in the other campaign, watching all the special interests fighting each other over their share of the now-fixed pie…

  8. @HC: would that fit in with my scheme to raise the voting age to 35? It might: you could limit one or both of your groups to 35 and over. Maybe there should also be an upper age limit at least for the second group: 65 or 70 I suggest.

    Or would your condition “only people who contribute at a certain minimum level” make those age limits largely redundant?

  9. That’s why there’s always cries of pain about Council Tax and bearly a whisper about Income Tax. You have to physically send the council a cheque for the local tax, the national tax disappears before you ever see it so it “doesn’t exist”. People see their post-IncomeTax money what is “their” money, not the pre-IncomeTax money. And then get annoyed that they have to pay the council out of “their” money.

    Of course, the governments of all colours know this, and use it to heap all the hate on local government for national government funding and spending decisions.

  10. @dearieme, simple is best – you stop paying the tax, you stop voting for the tax. No allowance for previous contribution. At the other end of the scale, if you are old enough to get taxed, you are old enough to vote on the rate.

    I like the age limit to stop elected children telling me what to do, but I want a tax receipt from Spud and Owen Jones before they are allowed to tell me to pay more.

  11. I like HexC’s suggestion:
    Perhaps a House of Lords (renamed 5-year Net Contributors who get the vote) with some real power to set the total budget.
    and a House of Commons elected by everyone with the power to allocate it.

    The Commons can introduce laws that affect everyone – policing, crimes, communicable diseases, common defence, as well as dividing the pie.
    The Lords also gets to decide how the tax is collected – if they tax the rich more they narrow the base of Net Contributors, if taxing the poor more they broaden it, either way it changes the number of voters for their chamber.

  12. The vast, mainly superfluous ‘civil’ service must be slimmed down. Sack at least 75% of these unproductive parasites. That’ll save some tax extortion already.
    Then, destroy the IR, by having one Income tax rate for everyone, with NO exceptions or benefits. Another massive saving by ridding us of pointless bureaucrats.
    Now that we’ve got rid of most of the overhead, reduce expenditure to the basics – protection of the realm and fiscal stability. And King Jug-ears is rich enough to not need any more state support. Everyone now pays a fee for medical care (after all, we were anyway, it was just hidden in the excessive taxation robbery). Close the borders (properly) and enjoy a prosperous and enlightened country without the bloody parasites.

  13. “if you are old enough to get taxed, you are old enough to vote on the rate.”

    So, one-day-old babbies. Income tax is levied according to your *income*, not according to your age. If a one-day-old babbie has an income of £20,000 that one-day-old babbie pays income tax. Daniel Radcliffe was paying income tax at the age of 12. What? You think he was paid less than £5000 for that work?

  14. I quite like the idea of “The Snapture” for the civil service. Randomly terminate 50% of all posts. Do it again the next year. And then again…. Could even offer “insurance”. Relinquish your pension rights and you get removed from the lottery. 🙂

  15. TtC @ 11.27, +100. If you ain’t got skin in the game you don’t give a fuck….

    James Hannams’ ‘Three Golden Rules of Tax’, should be mandatory reading for everyone at age 16.
    1.Lots of little taxes add up to big tax bills.
    2.No matter the name on the bill, it will be humans who pay it.
    3.Make taxes as invisible as possible.

    I have a couple of friends (don’t make that face…) both early sixties, both female, both married, one of whom has not worked for 30+ years and the other who has never worked a day in her life.
    The former has a hubby who has also not worked for 30+ years (still managed to buy their own house amazingly), the latter a bloke who works 25 hours a day as a heating engineer (what we used to call a gas fitter/plumber), with a couple or three houses here in the UK and a villa in Spain to show for it.
    The non-contributors still get ‘free’ NHS, does* / will get their ‘i’m entitled to it’ state pension, the former couple drives around in a brand new Mokka thanks to the ‘Motability’ scheme (could’ve been electric, but running the wire from their 3 bed, end of terrace across the pavement may have caused a few issues….).
    And very quick to moan about all the ‘freeloaders taking advantage of the system’, without a hint of irony…..

    *Hubby No.1 is 68.

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