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Taxes, Environment, etc

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5056200.stm

Reducing taxes for the poor and increasing them for the wealthy has got to be a good thing, surely? To be wealthy is a priveledge, you should expect that it won't come for free. The money to operate the state should come more from those who can afford it.

As for green taxes this a drastically needed.

"One dilemma they face here is that the more successful environmental taxes are in getting people to pollute less and getting people to drive less, obviously the less revenue you get in,"


which is surely the whole point? Taxes keep changing as the country changes. If you start getting less revenue in because the taxes are successful then you have to readdress the balance from elsewhere, but that means the taxes were successful which is the main thing!

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
coldclimate
8th Jun, 2006 09:27 (UTC)
>To be wealthy is a priveledge
No necesserily - you can have no family history of fun, work rediculously hard, and make your mjoney that way.

What about taxes all taking the form of consumer taxes like VAT, stop taxing income, and tax people on items and services. That way, the more you consume, the more you pay. Food shouldn't be taxed, nor education, but booze, fags, flights, cars, petrol and other "luxary" items should be. This would also tie in with green taxation, as the worst enviornmental offenses are more likely to be luxary items also.

Income tax just fosters resentment and working to get around it. In the bonkers days of supertax, there was no point working any harder because at 90%, you didn't see a damn bit of it - whats the point.
chess
8th Jun, 2006 10:37 (UTC)
The issue with consumer taxes is that people have weird definitions of luxury. (For instance, sanitary towels, basic adult clothing...) The other issue with consumer taxes is they always hit the poor hardest (this might be because the poor have 'bad habits' like drinking more, but isn't helpful in getting them out of the cycle that keeps them poor).

Income tax is the only fair way to tax people - everyone pays a percentage of what they earn, which keeps the country running, sick and dying people off their doorsteps, children off the streets and in schools, the military ready to defend them, etc etc.
coldclimate
8th Jun, 2006 10:50 (UTC)
I agree in some ways - that consumer taxes are more difficult to gauge and define, and also that they can hit the poor more (can, not definatly will). Income tax gives people no insentive to be more productive, if I knock my ass out working hard, I see less and less for my effort. Why bother? As a result I despiratly look for ways to pay less tax.

There is not easy solution, but I can't see how "punishing" high performers benefits anybody. I've consistently done 60 > 80 hour weeks over the last few month, and as a result, I now earn (per hour) less that I did 6months ago. Half my wages go towards things like health insurence, which in theory, i shouldn't need, bt sadly, I do.

If all taxes were proportional by consumption, you pay for what you use, not what you have the potencial to use. There will always need to be some form of "free" services (medical, educational, etc), and having spent some time in America, free services can suck. If I could be "paid" in non-taxable means (electronic kit, food, services) etc, I would be, not just because it would reduce my tax burdon, but also because the barter system is "fair" in it's inherent nature.
chess
8th Jun, 2006 11:17 (UTC)
but also because the barter system is "fair" in it's inherent nature

How does that work? Generally I find that the barter system favours people who are confident, charismatic, have a wide network of contacts and know the value of things, which makes it just as unfair as any other system.
coldclimate
8th Jun, 2006 11:44 (UTC)
I was using "fair" to mean "self-balancing", in that as, it does favour people who are good at bartering, but that it will always find it's own level (eg. you you consider an hour of my time to not be worth two chickens, you will walk away and I am more likely to lower my offer), where as regulated systems are always working within guidelijnes and boundaries, and thus are not as flexible, which can result in stupid situations.

I shuld point out that I have no background to argue this case, nor education to back this up, it's just that i saw more and "better" business being done over my market stall than I do in my office.
hmmm_tea
8th Jun, 2006 20:58 (UTC)
've consistently done 60 > 80 hour weeks over the last few month

There should be limitations to the maximum week a person is allowed to work for any given organisation though. People get much less productive when they do excessive amounts of work, there's no point to it and it sets company expectations higher towards other employees.
coldclimate
9th Jun, 2006 12:10 (UTC)
>People get much less productive when they do excessive amounts of work, there's no point to it

There are times when you are the nly person who can do certain things, and they have to be done (such is the joy of working on government systems). Whilst the hours between 1am and 2am are not my most effiecient, they are very often my most productive. People get less efficient the more work they do, they don't necessarily become less productive.
ext_4934
8th Jun, 2006 23:24 (UTC)
I agree with consumer taxes being worse for the poor, they end up paying a higher *proportion* of their income than the rich, hence making the taxes regressive. This seems to me less fair than progressive income tax.
hmmm_tea
8th Jun, 2006 20:56 (UTC)
Yes, people may have to work hard to get it, but it's still a priveledge

It makes sense for those who can afford it to make a greater contribution to the running of the state. However, obviously there are limits and 90% is excessive, but a more moderate rates, although when you jump the tax boundaries you take home can go down, with work you can then get it up above what it was before.

VAT on luxuries is a good thing.

Food shouldn't be taxed

Food can be a luxury. Yes, we all need some, but most of us go beyond what we need in these terms. Restaurant meals are certainly a luxury for example and premium brands in the supermarket, etc, etc.

Certainly things damaging to the environment such as air travel should be (to a high extent) as should gas, electricity, etc. People need to be encourage to take a more responsible attitude to the amount they use and not just consume.
king_pellinor
9th Jun, 2006 09:26 (UTC)
"VAT on luxuries" is a horribly complicated thing, take it from me.

Two examples: food and clothes.

Bread's obviously a necessity, not a luxury.
Is a biscuit a luxury item? Probably not. Maybe if it's got chocolate on it, though.
How about a cake? Probably. Though of course a simple Madeira cake is a lot plainer than say an olive ciabatta bread with sundried tomatoes. Which is the luxury?
How about the dividing lines: is a Jaffa Cake a biscuit or a cake? How about malt loaf - bread or cake? Is a marshmallow teacake a biscuit, cake, or other sort of confectionery?

On clothes: UK VAT says clothes are VATable, except childrens clothes. Interesting definition of luxury, but we'll let that pass. Childrens clothes are zero-rated, which is nice. But childrens fur coats are obviously a luxury, so are VATable. But how do we define fur? Sheepskin's not really a luxury in the way mink is, so let's make sheepskin zero-rated again. But then you get some weird rare breeds of sheep that are definitely used for luxury items, so let's adjust for that again.

End result: under UK VAT law all hairy animals have fur except rabbits, sheep and goats, which do not have fur unless they're Mongolian or Tibetan, in which case they do. All in the interests of "VAT only on luxuries".

And this is where the uncertainties and arbitrary divides really start making life hard and unfair for people - consumers as well as retailers.
ext_4934
8th Jun, 2006 23:22 (UTC)
This issue really upsets the economist in me.... Higher taxes for the wealthy act as a disincentive to work and therefore lower efficiency, regardless of whether they are seen as 'fair'. Whether being wealthy is a privilege or an earned right is a different judgement, I'm not as sure where I stand on this, but some people have worked hard to get where they are, and the reason some people are poor is because they haven't. (note: I'm not generalising, I know lots of people work hard for very little money, and some people are born rich or paid excessive amounts for little work)

Green taxes are a slightly different issue though, it depends whether you are trying to use them to raise revenue or to save the environment, usually I suppose the answer is 'both'. Ultimately the government has a revenue requirement, the money has to come from somewhere, I don't think it is possible to finance everything through green taxes, they would have to be extortionate.
hmmm_tea
9th Jun, 2006 06:44 (UTC)
Higher taxes for the wealthy act as a disincentive to work and therefore lower efficiency, regardless of whether they are seen as 'fair'.

Yes there are arguement both ways, but I think they could be a bit higher without causing too many problems (although obviously I don't have any evidence to back that up).

I don't think it is possible to finance everything through green taxes

Well, no, it would never be a good idea for the government to be financed entirely on one form of tax. They still sound a really good idea though.
coldclimate
9th Jun, 2006 12:13 (UTC)
>Yes there are arguement both ways, but I think they could be a bit higher without causing too many problems (although obviously I don't have any evidence to back that up).

40% is fucking painful. It nearly makes me cry to see I pay more in taxes each month that I have earned in a whole month in other jobs.
(Anonymous)
9th Jun, 2006 15:09 (UTC)
It is a horrific thought but the only efficient government is dictatorship or absolute monarchy.
Discuss.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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