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Flann O'Brien

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About Flann O'Brien

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  1. Most millionaires do not pay tax by PAYE, and employ accountants who themselves buy into the mantra that you should pay as little tax as possible. Many millionaires also harbour the usually mistaken belief that they are worth the money they are paid, even if they hardly have to lift a finger because their money (capital) is doing the work for them. The only thing a fair society can do is try to construct a system that closes loopholes, and taxes in a fair and progressive manner to redress the inbuilt disadvantages of the lower paid. A flat tax would of course be the worst possible option as it would undermine any notion of redistribution which at the moment is the only counterbalance to exploitative rent-seeking.
  2. It's not the 320 Bn Greek debt versus the trillion QE that's the relevant comparison IMO. Firstly, whatever this forum thinks, they are buying debt with the QE, not just dropping it from helicopters, so in theory the money is not just given away, even though the Euro will inevitably be devalued (that cost is spread around). Secondly, if the 320 Bn or a serious proportion of the debt were allowed to be written off, the Italians, Spanish and Portugese would be turning round and saying "where's our free debt relief then?" It seems likely that the Germans would agree to the QE ONLY if the Greeks were not to be allowed to default. I suspect if the Greeks somehow got the Troika to agree on a Greek write-off, the Budesbank would refuse to participate in the QE, or if push came to shove possibly exit the EZ themselves rather than face a Southern Europe debt bail-out that would be unpayable... Only an hour or so to go till we know the Greek election result anyway and then it all kicks off !
  3. On the basis Oxfam stated the figures, I don't find them misleading, just awkward to interpret. Britain is a wealthy country relative to the rest of the world (at least our housing is costly) so would expect to have a notably higher proportion in the 1%. But even then £300K is far more than most individuals wealth in the UK (houses usually have at least two residents, and non-private pension entitlement doesn't count). I suspect the figures would be more telling if Oxfam also gave the % of total wealth held by the top 0.1%, 0.01%, and 0.001%.
  4. The index-linked pension would cost £200K if it were provided by the financial industry parasites that run those shockingly-poor-value products. But it isn't, it costs basically what the cost is to the taxpayer, which is the actual aggregated value (the eighty-odd thousand mentioned by another poster), plus the cost of administering the scheme. Nothing even approaching £200K, which is why any unbiased analysis always shows what poor value private pensions - that pay huge middle-man payments to the provider - are compared to a state pension.
  5. "Why not just invest what is taxed" Fair enough point, ideally that should be the case. However, Govts may find that investment is needed at the exact point that tax receipts fall and (past) debt repayments remain high. No easy answer to that one, esp. if you don't want to increase taxes because it is perceived that it's a vote-loser for any party that advocates it. I suspect whichever coalition wins in May will eventually be forced to cross the rubicon and increase taxes, and perhaps get wealthy pensioners to pay their share as well.
  6. There's no way milk should be sold below the cost of production, it's just being used as a tool for supermarket wars while dairy farmers lose their livelihoods. That abuse of purchasing power has nothing to do with the free market, and I certainly avoid buying milk at cheap exploitative - and ultimately unsustainable - prices. If the dairy industry collapses, we know where prices will be in 5 years, and we'll all be saying "how did we let that happen"
  7. Hi everyone, back posting here after ~4 years away from the forum. Maybe someone can help - the 'Quote' function is not working for me so I can post to a topic, but not reply to a specific post. No idea what I'm doing wrong or is the Quote function disabled until I am at some point upgraded from a Newbie? Any tips welcome! Thanks, FOB
  8. Any infrastructure spending requires the present generation to 'speculate' on what the future generation will need or want. Of course we should not plunge the future generation into unmanageable debt or saddle them with PFI, but no more should we think we can save for all our future needs in a metaphorical biscuit-tin under the bed.
  9. If the borrowing is appropriately invested (e.g. infrastructure, education) then it's borrowing for the future, not from the future. Many countries have demonstrated that in the past.
  10. I'm not sure the luxury items are disconnected from the basics being priced out for normal workers. Although I wouldn't naively claim the economy to be a zero-sum game, the money the rich parasites are wasting on luxuries is largely stolen (or borrowed or redistributed if you prefer) from the poor. Paying for that string of polo ponies has indirectly really impoverished others. From buying up land when others have nowhere to live, to speculating on world food futures at the expense of local producers, the super-rich should be aware they are nothing but modern-day slavers.
  11. Cycle method? It's just number of days into year divided by 365 and plonked in as a decimal isn't it? But a fairly lazy and reader-unfriendly convention, like June 2015 takes too many keystrokes to bother with. Perhaps for people doing chronological archiving in a spreadsheet form etc it's useful...
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