Thursday, June 28, 2007

Debauched Rich Kids Upset Known Loon.

In all the excitement yesterday about the Tony Blair buggering off at long last to the Middle East (where frankly they deserve him) I missed the demented ramblings of Polly Toynbee earlier this week:
Brown can't talk like he does and ignore this debauchery
Says the headline, before Polly herself continues:
all candidates talked for the first time of "inequality", not just poverty. Harriet Harman's protest at handbags costing £10,000 hit the headlines because it resonated with public distaste. The question now is whether Gordon Brown can seize this moment to find the language and policies to reflect growing disgust. Or will fear of City flight get the better of him?
Yes I imagine that a little thing like Billions of pounds draining from the lucrative financial sector to finance Countess Longford's niece's jihad against inequality might just get the better of him if he is sane.
Brown's acceptance speech in Manchester went straight to the core of his values, with a good, sonorous Old Testament ring that seemed to resound from somewhere deep in Labour's moral roots: ....Frankly, a man can't talk like that for long and ignore the debauchery of riches at the top.
Does this resentful paranoia about the 'debauched' rich seem disturbing familiar? Why yes it does, all she needs is a rant against 'deceitful charlatans'.
. London is booming with jobs created by billionaires' wants. Chase away the zero-tax payers with tax demands and no one gains. What if London looks like the last days of Rome, complete with imported slaves? The nation thrives, and there's more money collected in taxesthings.
Yes imported slaves would indeed be a worry and if it happens I will be the first to oppose it, but there are laws against this kind of thing. Anyway she drones on for a bit longer before coming out with her policy proposals for Brown which no doubt he will take very seriously indeed and so shall I:
· Set a tax band starting at £100,000 - and maybe another for the supersonic. Earmark the revenue for new opportunities for left-behind children.
There is nothing intrinsically insane about a higher tax rate except for the fact that the ultra rich can generally minimise their taxes quite efficiently. Of course if she means a return to 1970s style 90% rates then she is indeed insane.
· Bring in a wealth tax for more expensive properties: in America owners of expensive property pay 0.88% every year. Allocate it to helping others own property.
House prices are rising faster than incomes, therefore a lot of people who have lived in a house for years do not have high Toynbee sized salaries, if Brown wants to tax pensioners out of their homes then that wouldn't surprise me given his record but it would not be popular.
· Make all tax returns public documents like wills, as some countries do, to help catch tax loopholes. To stop inheritance tax avoidance, make all gifts taxable.
Privacy isn't a big thing with her is it? Well not other people's privacy because she refuses to publicise her own tax returns.
· The minimum wage must rise faster than inflation, with an end to the undervaluing of women's jobs.
Yes lets price the low skilled out of entry level work, that will solve inequality. Seeing as she will no doubt insist that raising the minimum wage doesn't increase unemployment why not raise it to £1000 an hour and solve poverty in a week? Given that she thinks that wage rates are entirely arbitary, except hers of course, it is unsurprising that she also believes that "women's jobs" are undervalued. In the real world employers don't set wage rates on a whim to fit their own predjudices, if they did they would be put out of business by more efficient competitors who didn't pay men extra for the same value of work. Of course the sort of people who enjoy Polly Toynbee columns for reasons other than sport largely work in the public sector or the quasi-public sector where they can indulge their whims safe in the knowledge that they will be insulated from any consequences.
None of this is difficult or economically risky if there is the public will.
The Triumph of the Will that Polly Rie..Toynbee seeks, involves changing the behaviour of millions of people but it is apparantly not difficult! So why doesn't she explain how to go about ending the 'undervaluing' of women's jobs for example or what the exact consequences of different tax levels would be?

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