Monday, 29 April 2013

Winter Fuel Payments

Do you think that better-off pensioners should pay for their own winter fuel, and their own bus-passes? Of course they should! And of course they do, don't they? Not only their own, but they pay for the winter fuel and the bus-passes of the less well off as well. Because they pay their taxes.

I hope that Iain Duncan Smith never said anything about the "better off pensioners" voluntarily paying for their own fuel and transport. Voluntary taxes are a bad idea. It is, of course, true that the better-off can voluntarily do whatever they want with the money that remains to them after taxation, but how that is spent must be left to them. There must be no suggestion whatever that they 'should' do this or that with their remaining money; just to pacify the silly hue-and-cry of the media and of the people who do not understand where the money comes from that funds all public services in this country.

However, it would be good if we could evolve and annunciate a rationale for a progressive tax system slightly more sophisticated than the old "squeeze them till the pips squeak". For example, wealth that accumulates suggests excessive income. The "poor are always with us", and we have always had the rich as well; so maybe that is as it should be. But the rich should not get richer and the poor (relatively) poorer. That seems to indicate an inadequately progressive tax policy.

The bad thing about voluntary taxes is that the willing, the sensitive, and the vulnerable will pay while the busy, the thoughtless, and the selfish will not pay. We should tax wealth, not conscience and good citizenship.

L. Cawstein

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