Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Morally Wrong

So a comedian works hard, is successful, earns a fair bit of money from it, and then puts that money in a vehicle that significantly and legally reduces their tax bill. You'd expect the usual lefty UK Uncut outrage and envy of someone who has done far better in life than they have, but you wouldn't expect the fucking Prime Minister to stick his oar in would you? This is the guy who is meant to run the country - we've got a recession on at home and the Euro is imploding abroad and yet Cameron, who is currently at the G20 in Mexico, not only has the time to comment and make judgement on someone's tax affairs, but bases that judgement on something that he's read in the Times. You utter fuckwit Cameron. And don't try and lecture me on the morality of taxation when the little I can legally get away with paying over to HMRC gets spunked up the wall on EU membership, swathes of useless public sector workers and their fucking final salary pensions, and foreign aid to countries with nuclear weapons, space programmes, and/or hate us so much that they would quite happily see us wiped off the map.

Rant over.

A more reasoned view is that this is a legal issue and not a moral one. Please tell me how much tax someone who earns £1M in a year should morally pay. The answer is that it's impossible as morality is subjective, so if you asked a hundred people how much of this should be paid in tax, expect a hundred different answers anywhere between zero and £1M. This is why we have tax law which will dictate how much someone should pay depending on their circumstances, and in this example could legally be zero. This is one reason why Cameron should have kept his gob shut, another being that given that he has personally lit the torches and sharpened the pitchforks, Carr has no chance against HMRC and justice will be seen to be done rather actually be done.

4 comments:

  1. "The answer is that it's impossible as morality is subjective"

    Well of course it is - and I daresay you would accept that Carr paying 1% of his income in tax was acceptable - but equally i suspect the vast majority of people in this country wouldn't. And I'm afraid that is the point - in any democratic or civic society there are accepted levels of morality. I could also point out that states where legality and the accepted level of morality diverge widely don't have too good a history, but that is probably beyond you and your desire to live in a little atomised bubble.

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    1. There's an interesting, but by no means scientific poll over at MoneySavingExpert.com which asks the following:

      Comedian Jimmy Carr has been lambasted by the Prime Minister for avoiding tax. Where do you draw the line?

      As it stands at the time of writing, 55% of the 5,000 or so respondents selected the following option:

      Tax loopholes: I'd push as far as possible, Jimmy Carr-style, as long as it's legal.

      I am in that 55% figure and although I do not have the income to justify entering into a similar scheme to Carr's, I do my damnedest to keep my tax bill as low as legally possible.

      As for your point on accepted levels of morality, again this is subjective and we clearly differ what these might be.

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  2. As you say a by no means scientific poll or question for that matter. I'd like to see a poll asking the question it is right that someone earning £3m pays 1% in tax. I think I can guess what the result might be - and I think Cameron and Alexander have reached the same conclusion - and I suspect you would agree with me that their politics are more of the weathervane rather than the conviction type.

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    1. From what I'm aware, MoneySavingExpert.com attracts quite a wide readership from those doing OK but wanting to make life a bit more comfortable for themselves financially, to those who are piss-poor and in debt and want to know how to stretch the pounds further. That's why I found the poll and results interesting.

      I suspect you would agree with me that their politics are more of the weathervane rather than the conviction type.

      Absolutely.

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