In today's column, Polly Toynbee writes:
With City bonuses this year at over £21bn, earnings themselves could and should be fairer
We've done the lie about City bonuses and the £21bn before, of course, so forgive me for not repeating myself.
She also writes that:
Is the tax system too complicated? The CBI and other rightwing critics protest at a "rococo" bureaucracy where each year the budget now fills not just one but two hefty tomes. Tax accountants, they say, are enjoying a bonanza, as starting salaries for the newly qualified jumped from £37,000 to £47,000 in 18 months. Oh for simplicity! they cry. But many of those voices are deeply disingenuous, to put it very politely indeed. Down-right bogus is nearer the mark.
I think she may have read yesterday's column by Jonathan Guthrie in the Financial Times -- the headline is"Why Brown's rococo work on tax will endure", it has the £37,000 to £47,000 figures, and the quote: "We have double volume finance acts year after year. Ten years ago they were a rarity." She goes on to say that the people who say this sort of thing are tax evaders. It is worth reading all of Guthrie's article, as this is not at all his point. Consider this quote from his article:
At a headline level, the "rising corporate tax burden" business bodies complain of reflects higher profits. John Whiting of PwC forecasts corporation tax payments will hit almost £50bn this financial year, compared with £28bn in 2003-2004. You cannot kvetch about that, since percentage rates have stayed broadly the same since 2002.
Oh? It's almost as if his point may not be about the overall tax burden, but maybe something else. Maybe the complexity created by poorly thought out schemes which turn out to have unintended consequences?
Oh, but never mind the subtleties, there's broad ideological attacking to be done!
Much complexity has been created by Mr Brown's attempts to use tax breaks for the business equivalent of social engineering. The fiddly research and development tax credit, whose main beneficiaries have been big drug companies, was intended to stimulate innovation in businesses both large and small. A zero rate corporation tax band was meant to spur high-growth start-ups. Instead, it triggered incorporations from the self-employed and a U-turn from the Treasury.
On which note, she says:
The rich command every outlet of opinion that says tax is always a "burden", low taxes good and high taxes bad.
What she's doing here is claiming that the rich are taking reality and having it grotesquely distorted in the media.They have control of the media, and are often eager to abuse it for their own biased ideological purposes.
Oh, no, wait a moment. That stuff about "grotesquely distorted" and "abuse it for their own ideological purposes" is actually Polly talking about what she used to do when she used to work for the BBC, an institution which, unlike the newspapers, is supposed to be ideologically neutral.
We're also treated to a re-run of this garbage:
Few politicians dare remind people that what they value most - their health, their children's education, their safety, the pleasantness of streets or the beauty of public spaces - are all bought by taxes: the pound in their pocket only buys life's lesser things.
Ah, yes, life's lesser things. Like food.
The column says that:
Taxes are a moral good, and avoiding your fair share is a moral disgrace
and goes on to say that:
Taxes do three traditional things: raise cash for public services, redistribute from richer to poorer, or induce people to change their behaviour - less drinking, smoking and driving cars.
She neglects to mention that taxes are also a way to allow elected politicians to give £7,000 to newspaper columnists who praise them in a non-competitive procurement process in order to cut and paste some old newspaper columns together.
Ken Livingstone did this to Polly Toynbee, of course. To do this, he used some of the money which I paid in tax. I think that is a moral disgrace, and Polly Toynbee's accepting the fee was a moral disgrace.