There are times when arguing with the British left is like handling a truculent teenager = which most of them are of course even if not necessarily in years. You try logic, facts, reality, end up with just a huff, a stamped foot and a cry of “But it isn’t fair!”
Still, we can try a little bit of logic on this particular complaint from Aditya Chakrabortty. Now, do remember, this bloke writes The Guardian’s economic leaders. This is the guy who gives the ex-cathedra announcements to the nation from the Cathedral of St CP. Taste the logic in this:
Four decades after she took power, 38% of working-age households now take more from the state in benefits, health and education than they pay back in taxes.
This, apparently, is an existential crisis, a proof that Thatcherism didn’t work – no, a proof perfect – and the explanation for why 52% of the country aren’t federasts.
So, how would we like to organise the state? Adam Smith certainly thought that the richer should be asked to pay more into the costs pot than in proportion to their incomes. The standard lefty will insist that the taxation system must be progressive, which is the same statement. That tax system also is, even of only slightly. So, we seem to be where we should be, richer people paying more in than poorer, not just more cash but a higher portion of their market incomes.
Note that qualifier there, “market”. You can only say the poor pay the same tax rate as the rich overall if you include in their income the benefits they get. A useful way of exploding that idea being to treat benefits as what they are, negative taxes.
We also have a strict insistence that access to state services should not be based upon what is paid in. Thus the poor should have – and do, for the state systems – the same access to health care and education as the rich.
Now put those two insistences together. A progressive payment system with equal access – there will be some people paying much more in tax than they gain out. And therefore some other group of people paying in less than they take out. That is, in lefty world, there *should* be people taking more from the state in benefits, health and education than they pay in taxes. Yet this is now a proof that Thatcherism has failed?
Think on a little more. The median household income for the UK is some £25,000 a year. Close enough anyway. The education budget for a child is some £5,000* a year. NHS spending per head is £1,800* a year – might be an old number that but useful enough. So, median household, 2.2 kids, 2 adults. £7,200 in health care, £10k to educate the snotdribblers. Umm, £17,200 in government services before benefits are even thought about. And Chakrabortty says that if they’re not paying that much in tax in that same year then that explains anti-federastism? His target is that a £25 k income should be paying £17,200 in tax?
What the hell is Chakrabortty smoking? And no, I don’t want any – if I wanted to be an unthinking comatose I’d go get some spice. Or become Welsh, whatever.
Yes, yes, mere abuse is fun and not all that productive. But why is it that these people never do actually think about what they’re saying?
Oh, and don’t forget this. If every household was indeed paying in tax what it cost to provide government to that household then why would we need to be doing it all through government? Peeps could just pay for it themselves, directly, couldn’t they? It’s the very fact that people do get more out than they put in – the redistribution – which is the original argument for having the damn government services in the first place.
*These numbers could well be wrong, plucked from failing memory. But the logic stands – what the hell is he smoking?