I’m at the other end of the political spectrum, but I’d really like to at least *respect* the few hundred motley socialists gathered in the City of London. The trouble is, they’re just so…. daft. Take this report in the Telegraph.
“The richest 10pc of the UK population have a combined personal wealth of £4 million, million. A one-off 20pc tax on those people would raise £800 billion. Those people can afford it, they’d feel no pain, they’re so fabulously wealthy. With that sum of money you could pay off the entire government deficit. No need for any public spending cuts.”
“Protester Peter Tatchell” aptly demonstrates the biggest problem with the Left: its complete inability to do basic maths.Let’s skip over the fuzzymouthed phrasing (£4 trillion would sound less preteen, buddy) and take a look at what this socialist’s “solution” would actually involve…
He wants £800bn. So let’s assume that “rich” ten percent, 5.8 million UK residents, is okay with paying an average £137,000 each. Whoops! First mistake right there!
In Britain today, people at the 90th percentile (those Tatchell calls “rich”) earn about £40k. Hmm. That’s the income of a hardworking plumber or electrician putting in overtime. Are these people “rich”? If that describes your household income, “beware” indeed: the lefties want five years’ aftertax salary from you. My word, this guy’s truly from the Gordon Brown School of Public Finance, where taxpayers’ money is something that rains from the sky in infinite quantity.
But what the hell, this is socialist arithmetic. So they could sell their houses to be part of this socialist utopia, right? Hmmmm again. The top 10% of the UK possess average wealth of about £60,000, mostly in the value of their homes. So at his suggested 20% level, the average tax per person will be about £12k, and most people will have to sell their homes to pay it.
And wait, wait… that’ll raise less than a tenth of the £800bn he feels entitled to! What a silly little socialist.
Next up for critiquing: the “Tobin Tax” on financial transactions. Which would, in socialist speak, “reduce speculation and be good for the economy, and raise at least £100 billion a year.”
Hmmmmm once more. What happens in a global economy, Mr Socialist? When business feels squeezed, business goes elsewhere. Sweden had a nice little financial sector before 1984; when it introduced a Tobin Tax, they expected it to raise a billion and a half kroner a year. Nope. The business fled, and the tax never raised more than a twentieth of that level. Today, let’s just say if you want a job in finance, Sweden’s not the best place to look for it.
So, in summary: what this socialist suggests would raise less than a tenth of what he wants and throw over 5m people out on the streets. Perhaps that’s what he wants: socialists love the downtrodden.
Definition of a Socialist: someone who really, really likes getting his hands on someone else’s money. As I said, I wish I could at least respect them, even if their views are different to mine. But I just can’t.