We’ll Miss The Rich When They’re Gone – Or Their Tax Payments At Least

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One of the things that the usual progressive whines about inequality miss is that the more unequal the incomes in our society the more tax revenue there is to pay for progressive goals. For we do indeed have a progressive taxation system with respect to incomes. So, if the better off among us start earning less money then there will be less tax revenue. Or, if they leave the country for somewhere more amenable, there will be less revenue to pay for all those diversity advisers, five a day consultants and whatever else it is that Jocasta and Tristram do to be paid a crust these days.

That is, more equality will also mean tax rises for the poorer among us. For we’re most certainly not going to see any calls for a reduction in the size of the State, are we? Nor a lessening of the hunger to stuff its maw with our money. That the rich pay lots of tax means we’d miss the rich if they’re not there:

There are 31,000 people in the top 0.1% income bracket in Britain, with pay levels running into seven figures or more. This group accounted for 8% of all PAYE income tax and national insurance receipts in 2017-18, according to documents prepared by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the government’s independent economic forecaster. OBR data shows just over £286bn was collected in PAYE and national insurance contributions in 2017-18. This means £22.6bn came from just 31,000 people, the equivalent of £730,000 each.

So a question or two for those campaigning for more equality. If we had it then where would you make up that lost revenue? No, that same income redistributed, the top getting less, the middle and bottom more, does not produce the same tax revenue. Which of the poorer people would you tax and how?

Or, alternatively, which current incidences of government spending would you cut in the absence of there being those rich people and their tax payments? An interesting corollary being well, if we can and should cut this expenditure why aren’t you arguing that we do so now?