This morning I was flicking through the BBC News RSS Feed when I saw an article based on quotes by world-class sycophant Nick Clegg. The article was about Clegg’s recent interview with the Guardian in which he allegedly (I say allegedly because I don’t care enough to follow sources) claimed the rich should pay more tax.
In the BBC article, they then published some quotes from a “Senior Tory backbencher” — which sounds like an overly wordy way of calling someone a corrupt crook, if you ask me — in which he said:
I think most rich people are contributing far more in tax than other people.
I know this is not a fashionable view, but if you go on raising tax on rich people – and that’s why, in agreement with Nick Clegg we have had to cut the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p – you drive wealth abroad.”
No argument with me on the former. It’s common sense that it should happen (if you generate more wealth you should also be redistributing said greater wealth) and does. Good.
On the latter, particulaly the final four words, I’m a bit surprised. Let me break this down.
This man is saying that rich people are so attached to their wealth that they would rather avoid tax by registering overseas or simply physically moving abroad to avoid parting with it. Again, fair enough.
I also understand that there is an outlying group who are wealthy and would go to relatively large lengths to protect their wealth. This all makes sense to me.
So why, then, do we fail to appreciate that similar effects take place at the lower end of the scale? Teenagers who steal are villified, as they should be, but there’s a reason for their actions. I understand the literal differences between the two but I don’t understand how one group of people can threaten it while the other are crooks. Moving wealth to avoid sharing it for no reason other than selfishness is comparable, at least in my eyes, to stealing wealth because you don’t have enough.
They’re both superficial acts based on thinking you’re owed something:
“I worked hard to earn this money, I shouldn’t have to share it” is every bit as stupid and nonsensical as “That man’s got loads of money, I’m gonna grab me some”.
At the end of the day, both are extreme ends of the same scale. I’m just sick of people being so accepting of one and abhorred by the other. It’s not ok for someone to move assets abroad to avoid sharing, just as it’s not ok to take something that hasn’t been shared with you. Same argument, different perspectives. Let’s treat it as such.
I’m fed up of seeing “financial nous” being treated as an unfortunate but respectable trait while “fighting for perceived survival” is treated as an act of Satan himself. Just because something is high-brow doesn’t make it right. It’s not an excuse any more world, it’s the 21st century. We’re not idiots any more.