Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Grossly, Absurdly, Stupid Claim Of The Day

A Richard Murphy

Apparently we should tax the rich more because Jeff Bezos has gone into space on his own rocket. No, that really is the claim:

Third, it is apparent that in the light of such failings we need tax reform. We need to tax the rich because they are rich. We need to tax them so that they do not abuse the planet in the way that these people are. We need to do so to correct their undue influence on markets. We need to tax rents because they are exploitative and that needs to be curtailed. We need to tax not for revenue, but to correct the failings that the gross, vain and abusive actions of these people represent. And that is reason enough.

Gonna have to be a pretty high tax rate. Bezos’ stock is worth $185 billion. He sells some $1 billion a year – upon which he pays tax – to fund the rockets. So, what tax rate do we have to have on $185 billion to stop a $1 billion a year spend on rockets?

And how much would such a tax rate fuck up the rest of the economy?

But that’s not the worst of it here, there’s an even more absurdly stupid claim:

In my 60s I see almost no benefit to space travel. I see even less to claims by commercial organisations that our hopes lie in space, where we might escape the constraints that the planet imposes on us. The implausibility of ever moving people and products between space and earth without burning the planet we live on to the point of extinction makes such claims absurd.

Satellites aren’t worth it. All that work on temperature measurement, geoanalysis and so on. Just not worth it at all. GPS isn’t worth it. Knowing where we are has no value. Being able to plan efficient travel is of zero benefit.

Or Starlink, OneWeb (or whatever the hell the thing UK govt has just invested in is called) has no value because we really don’t want to get broadband internet to those rural rubes now, do we? They might start looking up the bus schedules and thereby come to town once a month.

This all before we even get to that necessity of getting at least some of us off the planet before that asteroid with our name on it arrives.

We’re right at the beginning of what access to space can do for us. At which point Richard Murphy decides it has no value therefore we should tax it all out of existence. This being why planned economies don’t work of course. It’s always the 60 year olds signing off on the plans and they never do grasp the value of the trivia the young folk are playing with, do they?

Bash, if Hornby OO wsa good enough for me to play with as a child then why do you need Candy Crush anyway?

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dodgy geezer
dodgy geezer
2 months ago

Bash, if Hornby OO was good enough for me to play with as a child then why do you need Candy Crush anyway?

..Because Hornby kit is now a collectors item, and no young person can afford to buy a real model train set any more?

Manicbeancounter
2 months ago
Reply to  dodgy geezer

Hornby00 was relatively expensive when Worstall and I were we things. It was treasured and the set built up over years. There would be little else for the avid collector. Now on average people are wealthier and toys more numerous and often of much shorter duration. How many parents will hand down to their children their copies of Lara Croft Tomb Raider from the 1990s? Many Hornby 00 will be on the 3rd generation. My Lego got played with many different children.

TD
TD
2 months ago

We need to tax not for revenue…..

For some years now the left has been arguing that a principle point of high tax rates is to reduce and limit wealth. It’s rather nice to see it stated so bluntly. Of course, it’s hard to effectively tax someone like Bezos and bring his wealth down to the level of, say, a successful plumber, but it’s not so hard to keep that plumber from becoming too successful.

Spike
Spike
2 months ago
Reply to  TD

Murphy hates high achievers, and proposes to CORRUPT an institution designed to raise funds for gov’t to instead ruin the people he hates.

And it won’t do either; it will raise less revenue and Bezos and the next guy will have fun in other ways than inventing new industries like space tourism. But Murphy will have his hatred for consolation.

TD
TD
2 months ago
Reply to  Spike

I’m skeptical that space tourism has much of a future. Who knows? Perhaps. But I can’t help but think of these private space ventures as being a bit like the old stagecoach companies on the frontier. You could never turn a profit maintaining teams of horses, drivers and guards, and way stations every dozen miles, all to carry half a dozen passengers. But there were the lucrative government mail contracts. That’s what made it pay. Passengers were a bit of gravy. (Mark Twain wrote about sitting on the mail bags when he went west in Roughing It.) Bezos, Musk, etc,… Read more »

Perry de Havilland
2 months ago
Reply to  TD

Musk et al are bringing down the cost of getting stuff into space to the point where government contracts will no longer be what drives the industry, with new applications able to emerge we do not yet imagine.

TD
TD
2 months ago

Yes, I agree, but it’s still kind of an air cargo business model – with perhaps many of the contracts from private industry. I’m certainly not opposed I think it’s all pretty cool, and we’ll see what comes of it. And whether it survives Murphy’s, Bernie Sanders’, or Elizabeth Warren’s efforts to stop it.

jgh
jgh
2 months ago
Reply to  TD

I’m skeptical that trans-Atlantic voyages have much of a future, what *ARE* Isobella and Ferdinand thinking, funding that Genoese idiot, all that state funding that could be better spent on something else.

TD
TD
2 months ago
Reply to  jgh

It took a few hundred years before trans-Atlantic tourism took off. Before that it was soldiers and settlers, and the treasure Galleons. I’m not sure what I said to elicit your weird response, but your reading comprehension seems a bit lacking.

Snarkus
Snarkus
2 months ago
Reply to  jgh

JGH, nice satire and to point. The experts of the day were sure no-one would survive the long voyage to China across the Western Sea. Knowledge of the Americas seems to have been gained and lost at least twice. Phoenicians and Norse for starters. As it is, I suspect the probe to the Jovian Trojan that appears to be a planetesimal core remnant may be more informing than anyone realises. Pity I probably wont be alive to read the reports

Spike
Spike
2 months ago
Reply to  TD

Whether space tourism is or could be a profitable industry (with or without gov’t) doesn’t affect my point. Bezos has done something pathbreaking, and the reaction of not just Murphy but Bezos’s fellow American Democrats is to ask whether they could better spend all the money he has.

TD
TD
2 months ago
Reply to  Spike

It is not inconsistent to believe that people should be allowed to spend their own or investors’ money to experiment AND to be a bit skeptical if asked to be one of those investors. Lots of experiments don’t work out, but those that do are the reason we should encourage it. I do think Musk, et al, will win contracts to carry satellites and perhaps other people into space, and perhaps do so efficiently and profitably, but the business model of ferrying freight and passengers goes back at least to the camel caravans of the Silk Road or to the… Read more »

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
2 months ago

Brilliant.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 months ago

Does Richard Murphy earn (or own) more than me? If so he should be taxed, not to raise revenue, but to limit his exploitation of the common people. No?

john77
john77
2 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Earn? not a sausage!
Own – I’ve no idea how much you own
To limit his exploitation he needs to be gagged and disconnected from the internet.

jgh
jgh
2 months ago
Reply to  john77

Lord Spudcup has a model train set. He keeps bashing on that people should not be allowed to satisfy wants, only needs. Nobody has a need for a model train set, it must, candidly, be taxed off him.

MrVeryAngry
MrVeryAngry
2 months ago

What an absolute f**wit.

Addolff
Addolff
2 months ago

I mentioned elsewhere that Owen Jones was on the Jeremy Vine show last week saying exactly the same thing about a box of ‘artisan’ crisps that cost 25 notes at Fortnum and Mason. “If they can afford to spend that much on crisps they should immediately be taxed 20% on top”. The green gun in my tele went into overload…..

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