Should the wealthy be taxed at a much higher level than others? New Labour’s proposal of taxing earnings over 150k at 50% is being cautiously implemented by the Conservative government. Of course, this is a devisive strategy – many on the right claim it will slow the economy and encourage the rich to leave the UK, whilst many on the left argue it is a justified measure…even Warren Buffett supports higher taxes in the U.S!
Yet, perhaps the biggest focus should be given to the amount of tax which dodged by the elite, this amounts to billions of pounds and would go along way in adding extra revenue. The use of offshore banks is being more closely monitored, and a recent deal with the Swiss banks to return billions from previously anonymous account. Yet, the loopholes of the deal are said to be huge – there is no requirement to end the secrecy of the accounts, so no real break on illegal tax evasion. Nicholas Shaxon, author of ‘Treasure Islands’ argues that it is a “disgraceful deal” which “rewards criminality”, he questions why people who acted criminally are not prosecuted and further still he points out they are even going to enjoy a lower rate of tax. Thus, it is an excellent example of one rule for criminalised elites and one set of rules for everyone else. Cleverly, he points out that at a time when lots of the media are soul searching following the recent riots, and that the general public are suffering from moral decay, yet, it seems that it is actually some of the elites are the real criminals. It really isn’t hard to apply a Marxist argument to these findings!
Moreover, Faiza Shaheem from the New Economics Foundation thinktank argues that the disparity between the rich and poor in the UK is large and this fostered a lack of understanding as highlighted by the reaction to the riots with many denouncing “feral youths” rather than having any understanding of the socio-economic context. She argues that there is so much evidence that more equality brings more happiness – after a certain point, money does not breed contentment.