Sunday, January 17, 2010

We’ve worked hard for our tax-free windfall gains!

Now Brown plans Council Tax Bomb

.. the Labour Party’s local government manifesto Putting Fairness First, which describes itself as a “blueprint or a red book” for a fourth term, calls for more council tax bands . It states: “The Labour Party remains committed to reforming council tax, and as we enter the second decade of the 21st century it becomes an even more pressing concern, as current tax brackets remain rooted in valuations set in 1991. We think that at the very least, the council tax needs rebanding. The addition of more bands at both the top and bottom of the scale will help to make it a more genuinely progressive tax.” I seldom agree with Labour, but I fail to see what is wrong with this.

Posted by mark wadsworth @ 06:07 PM (2239 views)
Please complete the required fields.



49 thoughts on “We’ve worked hard for our tax-free windfall gains!

  • tyrellcorporation says:

    I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it. It’ll be used to squeeze yet more tax out of people, plain and simple. Council Tax is a vicious tax as that money has already been taxed (when you earned it) at least once and often two or three times (if you had some of the money in a savings account prior to payment.

    To cap it all the Council here in Exeter were urging people to grit there own pavements a week or so ago. This is presumably so they can carry on with spending £400k a year on the Animated Exeter Festival and the Respect Week.

    DONT GET ME STARTED…Grrrrr…..

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • Maybe they plan to do this swiftly, before house prices plunge again!!

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • mark wadsworth says:

    TC, sure, taxes are far too high, but why do people always go on the barricades when Council Tax is mentioned (total receipts £20 billion odd, once you minus off CT benefit) but take it on the chin when VAT is hiked by 2.5% (giving additional receipts of £10 billion) or to increase national insurance by 1% (two times 0.5%) which will also raise another £9 billion or something?

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • Cashrichassetpoor says:

    I was hoping there might be some move towards a land value tax rather than just squeezing even more money out of the existing system.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • @MW, because people are trained to respond to trigger words and phrases to keep them from thinking clearly and acting in their own best interest….

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • “why do people always go on the barricades when Council Tax is mentioned?”

    it is easy to understand

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • It’s easy when your bin hasn’t been emptied, the roads are full of pot holes with the ones on the A50 opposite the Dogs Home being a 100m run of spectacular co-joined ruts / holes nearly 10cm deep and the A56 through Lymm being nearly as spectacular. Whilst the council is obsessed with painting it’s town centre roads in all shades of coloured chippings and exotic lining which wears off in less than 6 months the rest of their roads crumble to the point of being downright dangerous.

    An awful lot of councils need to go back to providing basic services and sound repairs to their urban infrastructure rather than allowing their councilors to financially pander to minority groups and certain local communities in an effort to buy votes.

    There – it is easy to understand!

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • the number cruncher says:

    The express journalists did their job well – incite rage and indignation in the sheeple – keeping their minds from thinking any deeper…

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • tyrellcorporation says:

    Hey Number Cruncher is there a bigger picture than my taxes being sp*nked on vanity projects and not on essential services and maintenance? If so I’d like to know about it so I can relax and hand over my money in a worry-free fashion.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • mark wadsworth says:

    I agree that most councils waste loads of money on all sorts of stuff.

    But let’s not forget that Council Tax only pays for a small fraction (£20 billion) of their budgets, most of it comes from Whitehall grants funded by your VAT, national insurance, income tax and so on. So most of the money they are wasting is in fact the VAT, national insurance and income tax you pay.

    The govt clearly plans to hike VAT and national insurance by £20 billion (and that’s just the increase! – the increase alone is as much again as Council Tax), most of that will be wasted – but why is nobody bothered too much about that?? Why do we hand over all this income tax and VAT and national insurance in a ‘worry free’ fashion but then get excited about Council Tax (which raises about 3% of total government revenues)?

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • cat and canary says:

    some anecdotal evidence on councils waste…

    a family friend is a carpet fitter, in my home town. He got a job in the Town Hall one day…. the town hall was having a new stained glass window fitted/restored, and so to protect the expensive carpet the council removed it and put it in storage.

    The disgusting thing was, that the mayor didn´t want to walk on concrete for 2 weeks, in case his precious shoes got cold, so they spent £5,000 on a “temporary” carpet, which they threw away two weeks later.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • MarkW,

    Council tax raises people’s ire because it’s a visible bill that you have to actively pay, unlike PAYE + NI which is deducted at source. Then there’s Business Rates, Employers NI, Corporation Tax, VAT — all of which are paid by companies, so most individuals never see them at all.

    Most people pay more each month in PAYE+NI than they pay in council tax, but because it’s “hidden” they don’t complain about it, they only complain about council tax.

    If the government simply rolled Council Tax into PAYE then it would solve a lot of the problems.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • “More than £45million has been spent on the database of England’s 22million homes, which lists every feature of the home and its neighbourhood, down to scenic views and good transport links.”

    So that’s just £2 per house. Sounds like a government IT project that went well for once!

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • Drewster @ 11

    How the heck can they have gotten all that data for £2 per house and stuck it in a database. Something ain’t quite right…

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • Council tax is unlawful, do a search on google and read about one guy who hasn’t paid Wirral council. He even asked for them to write a letter confirming that he owed nothing, which they did and he has posted online for all to see.

    http://www.nocounciltax.com/?p=71

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • Awesome! How long before that guy sells out to the establishment?

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • I agree with mark w: this would be a progressive tax and is therefore to be welcomed. The majority of local expenditure is on essential services. Attitudes towards the relatively small proportion spent on the cultural schemes will depend on your point of view, or prejudice.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • ontheotherhand says:

    Why does council tax upset people? Perhaps it’s because this tax has to be physically paid, unlike VAT which is just inside the price and income tax for many where the company takes PAYE.
    It’s in a left wing party’s interest if this tax becomes progressive. If 20% of the people with higher earnings pay the majority of the tax then Labour has bought 80% of the population as captive voters if it hasn’t already bought their vote through benefits or non-jobs in the public sector.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • It’s in the country’s interest for tax to be progressive. Unless, that is, you think it right for the lower earners to pay a higher proportion of tax, as at present, than the higher.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • mark wadsworth says:

    I was asking a rhetorical question actually.

    I know perfectly well that people are more likely to insist on value for money if they can see a direct link between what they pay and what the state does for them. The politicians know this, which is why they promise to freeze council tax (and merrily hike other taxes by colossal amounts, which they can cheerfuly waste). The Home-Owner-Ists hate all property taxes and would rather see an extra 4% on income tax, to add an extra burden on young people who want to own a house as well.

    But I look at it the other way round. Imagine if council tax paid for ALL local services (schools, hospitals, police, street cleaning etc), we could get rid of national stealth taxes like Employer’s NIC (which are double taxation of income) and quadruple council tax to make it a really in-your-face tax (assuming that’s fiscally neutral give or take a bit). That would harness the energies of the local voters and taxpayers in constantly pushing for the tax to come down, without any of the deadweight costs on economic activity.

    What’s not to like?

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • what about renters? they have to pay council tax, but have as yet not recieved any windfall gains! Besides, it is astronomically high. I have to pay £700 per month to house my kids in a pokey house (we have zero chance of being able to afford to buy any time soon with our meager deposit we are trying to save), and then another £140 per month on top of that! And most of it goes to pay fat cat local council executives £50k salaries. Or even £100k for the man at the top. You know, the one who decided to only empty my bin every other week, instead of every week. Apart from if there is a bit of snow on the ground, in which case they don’t bother showing up at all. And you want to give them more of our money to spend on their inflation linked salaries and index linked pensions?! Do you secretly work for the government propaganda department?!

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • So long as books, children’s clothes and non-luxury food remains VAT free (I also believe the duty on fuel though not the fuel itself should be VAT free) I have no problem with it going up to 20%, 25% or even 30% as a preferable option to a hike on income tax. NI is just income tax by a different name as those of us forced to buy private healthcare know too well.

    I look at the picture from a different angle – not in terms of who can afford to pay more but who caused the mess in the first place. People like myself who spend very little money on VATable items are also the people who did not take on mountains of unaffordable debt to repay it.

    I am of a minority opinion but I don’t think council tax should be progressive. The poll tax was an okay idea but poorly implemented. The bands should be more homegenised. This comes down to a question of what you believe tax is for. My philosophical belief is that any attempt at forced wealth redistribution is unethical and illogical, given natural property rights. I also believe that tax should not be used as a method of regulating behaviour be that second home ownership, smoking or driving a polluting vehicle. If a behaviour can be proven to be morally wrong in terms of relations with others, then it should be regulated with law not with punitive taxation. So if tax shouldn’t be for redistribution or behavioural regulation, in my (very contraversial, I know) opinion, it is only ethical when it is to pay for services and infrastructure which have to provided collectively or makes sense to be provided collectively such as policing, roads and utilities.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • mark wadsworth says:

    Tenant: “People like myself who spend very little money on VATable items are also the people who did not take on mountains of unaffordable debt to repay it.”

    That’s a classic history re-write. 90% of “unaffordable debt” taken out in the last decade was to buy houses, which are very much VAT-exempt (or zero-rated if newbuild).

    “natural property rights”

    There are no “natural property rights”. The only thing supporting land ownership in the modern sense is who has the bigger army, or within any particular country, whose side the courts and tax system etc are on.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • the number cruncher says:

    tyrellcorporation at 7

    Its easy to relax because the vanity projects and council waste you talk about would be such a small percentage of your council tax, it would only be pennies per week to you. And yes you righteousness and anger do make you blind to the big picture. Think about for some time and from many perspectives.

    Council projects that people winge about have their roots in the whims of powerful people, in attempts a social engineering or encouragement of tourism. The people who make these decisions have different views than yourselves and you should understand that there is diversity of opinion and poor outcomes to group decision making.

    You are a pawn to the agenda of the Express which so skilfully directs your anger and righteousness towards a society that would eventually lead to a militaristic right wing dictatorship. And those sorts of societies excel at wasting money on vanity projects (and brutal oppression).

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • It may be true that 90% of unaffordable debt was to buy property but isn’t stamp duty just VAT with a different name? And the same people who bought overpriced property are the kind of people who filled them with Jimmy Choo shoes or withdrew equity to pay for marble worktops.

    When I talk about property rights I don’t mean land necessarily. I mean a labour theory of property rights. Actually Locke’s theory partially breaks down when it is transfered from a renewable resource to land because of the conflict between the autonomy of individuals when there isn’t enough to go around. Therefore if there is a case to limit second homes on the basis that it is injust to the young (which in fact it wouldn’t be if planning laws were liberalised and we kept the poulation in check) it should be enshrined by law as that is what the law exists to do (to regulate relations between people) not by tax.The problem is of course Mr and Mrs could own one house each, but problematic consequences or implementation doesn’t legitimise a bad solution such as punitive tax.

    But I do find the labour theory of property rights holds in this simple way – if I own the product of my labour and my labour is more valuable than my neighbour’s even though we use the same amount of public services, my neighbour and the state has no justifiable demand on my property (the product of my labour which has been monetised) by charging me more council tax.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • mark wadsworth says:

    Tenant, but the value of your land is not a product of your labour, is it? That land would be worth just as much if you packed in working or even left the house vacant.

    The only thing that is a product of your labour, is in fact the product of your labour – and it is entrepreneurship, work, investment etc that should be taxed more lightly.

    In any event, you contradict yourself – if you are a high earner and your neighbour is a low earner and you live in identical houses, under the current system of high taxation of incomes, you are paying a lot more than he is. With no taxation of incomes and higher taxation of land values, you’d both be paying the same amount. What’s not to like?

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • As I said, the theory breaks down when applied to land ownership.

    “In any event, you contradict yourself – if you are a high earner and your neighbour is a low earner and you live in identical houses, under the current system of high taxation of incomes, you are paying a lot more than he is. With no taxation of incomes and higher taxation of land values, you’d both be paying the same amount. What’s not to like?

    I absolutely agree that I pay a lot more than my neighbour if I earn more. What I object to is further injustice in an already injust system by charging me more because I can afford an extra bedroom or, live in a nicer street ( I was refering to my neighbour whose house is worth less than mine even though he uses the same amount of services).

    I agree that property tax would be a better system if you eliminated income tax (such as the system you have for non-doms in Switzerland) but it should not be calculated on value but on square metres, since the occupiers of a similar sized propery on different sides of town use the same amount of services. I still disagree with it but it would be an improvement. I also see VAT as fair because it is the same for everybody per unit of consumption which is much better than charging per unit of production (i.e. income) . IMO the only correct taxation is a poll tax calculated according to services used. That is never going to be acceptable because decades of rhetoric about redistribution have led people to accept it unquestioningly.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • This has nothing to do with paying for normal council responsibilities such as refuse collection, road gritting etc. but a lot to do with trying to sha*ft the council tax payer into subsidising underfunded council pension schemes.

    http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/45-billion-The-public-sector.5587735.jp

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • mark wadsworth says:

    Tenant “I also see VAT as fair because it is the same for everybody per unit of consumption which is much better than charging per unit of production (i.e. income)”

    That’s what the politicians want you to think – actually Value Added Tax is a tax on gross profits (the clue is in the name) so some businesses have to pay it and some don’t. In that respect it is far less fair than income tax.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • I think it depends what angle you’re looking at it from. From a business point of view it is less fair because some pay and some don’t but wouldn’t that make it less fair than corporation tax rather than personal income tax or am I missing something (which I may well be as I am not a business woman!)?

    From a personal viewpoint, to use an illustration. ..you walk into a supermarket and notice that all the items have three different prices (green, yellow and red) for the same item with green being cheap and yellow being 50% higher than green and red being 100% higher. You are told that the yellow price is what people of average means in an average house pay and if you were lucky, diligent, clever, nasty (delete as appropriate) enough to have more money or a house in a better part of town, you pay the red price to subsidise the poor, luckless, disadvantaged, slothful (delete as appropriate) who pay the green price. Imagine how outraged you would be, but that is effectively exactly what income tax or council tax does … you pay more (tax) for the same stuff (public services) and try as I might over the years, I have never been able to grasp how that can be justified (I am very open to being convinced otherwise and I often wonder whether I have missed something).

    Now imagine walking into the supermarket and seeing that there are three different versions of each item assigned to the green, amber and red prices. You can buy your fake chocolate for the green price, a standard chocolate for the yellow price or a posh chocolate made from Jersey milk or a standard chocolate but double the size for the red price. You don’t mind paying the high price now because a) it is a matter of choice, you can always opt for the cheaper product, or if it is a non-essential, you can forgo it, and b) if you do pay more it is because you are getting something bigger or better (you even wouldn’t mind if a small part of the higher price subsidised the cheap product). That’s why I think VAT is a better way of charging for public services.

    People object to VAT as a regressive tax but to use my shop illustration again, you go into Boots and ask how much the pills you need are. Would it really be just if the answer was expressed as a percentage of your earnings? Would you be happy with that if you pay £5 and the chap behind you pays £3.50 for the same thing? When there is a discernible point of sale, the injustice is apparent. Yet because the point of sale for healthcare, schools, road maintenance etc. is removed from their consumption and generalised in the form of income tax, it’s accepted.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • People will come up with all sorts of specious arguments to hold on to their advantage. Land is a favourite – all sorts of nonsense about birthright and so on. That the immensely uneven distribution of land in this country stems from the whim of William the Conqueror is mostly ignored. Now we get all kinds of stuff about hard work, higher value for a person’s labour, etc. Do the bankers with their big bonuses merit their extra wealth, even if you ignore the fact that without taxpayers they’d be out of a job?

    The tax system is inherently unfair: low earners pay a greater proportion than high earners. Anything to redress that must be a good thing. Whether that is achieved through higher council tax, income tax, land tax or whatever is less important than it being redistributive – according to ability to pay. Inequalties in wealth do not reflect inequalities in intrinsic worth. The poll tax was iniquitous, hence the response to it.

    Meanwhile the wealthy use their positions of power to do everything they can to hold tight to their advantage, and the immense privileges of the few go largely unchallenged, while many are sidetracked with petty complaints about council officials and all the other stuff that fills the headlines of the tabloids.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • tenant super
    Perhaps you should ask yourself whether you would be happy being paid a green salary to do your job when someone else is getting the red to do something of equal worth.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • mark wadsworth says:

    As I said, VAT is not some sort of benevolent voluntary “consumption tax”, it is a tax on gross profits. Too many people follow the politician’s line that VAT is somehow innoccuous. Now, corporation tax or income tax are taxes on everybody’s profits, but VAT is only a tax on the gross profits of about half of all UK businesses. Banks, property developers, farmers are exempt or zero-rated.

    Land Value Tax is, as a matter of fact and logic, a tax on entirely voluntary “consumption” or “enjoyment” (or “the right to exclude somebody else from that enjoyment”) but without taxing anybody else’s production and therefore without any economic deadweight costs. If you want to pay less tax and are happy with a not-so-nice view or being further from the train station or whatever, then move somewhere cheaper.

    Further, LVT is the one tax you cannot avoid – it is all a question of whether it should be collected by The State or collected by private interests. LVT would depress house prices, so instead of paying £10,000 a year in mortgage in terest to the bank, you would pay £5,000 mortgage interest and £5,000 to the bank. If the state doesn’t collect it, the bank will. Conversely, if you scrapped VAT or income tax, then the gains would be shared between people actually involved in the free exchange of goods and services.

    Finally, for the purposes of this argument, I could not care less whether VAT or LVT are “regressive” or “progressive” that is a side issue.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • Hardly a side issue, mark w, unless you believe some are more equal than others.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • I made it very clear that the wealthy people might be more wealthy because they are jammy g*ts. Whether wealth is due to ingenuity, station of birth and schooling or a lottery win doesn’t really change things for me. I wouldn’t mind being paid a green salary to do my job when someone else is getting the red to do something of equal worth so long as the means are there for me to get to the red salary (though it may require some degree of luck as well if red salary jobs are in short supply) if I have the innate ability.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • ‘Land Value Tax is, as a matter of fact and logic’. I agree and I have always been impressed with your reasoning but your rasoning is purely consequentialist. As a moral absolutist, I always evaluate whether something is right or wrong as independently from consequences as far as is possible (though some respect of consequence is unavaoidable).

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • “always evaluate whether something is right or wrong as independently from consequences as far as is possible”

    ?? Now there’s an interesting (scary?) philosophy.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • Now there’s an interesting (scary?) philosophy.

    It is is a centuries old debate of deontological ethics (moral absolutism) versus utilitarian ethics (consequentialism)

    I’ll admit it is very academic and moral absolutists like me can argue in the classroom about whether it’s wrong to switch a trolley-car onto a siding if it kills one person (and killing is always wrong) when to leave it on its existing course would kill five people but in reality would we really do this?

    As Kant said “Better the whole people should perish” than that injustice be done.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • mark wadsworth says:

    Of course it’s morally right to kill one person rather than five. And it’s also morally right to raise taxes in such a way as not to minimise the cost to society. Next. And Kant can p*ss off.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • mark wadsworth says:

    OOOPS.

    That should read: ” And it’s also morally right to raise taxes in such a way as to minimise the cost to society”

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • Jacob Bronowski had something to say about the effects of people who saw things in absolute terms. Some of them started off in fringe organisations.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • Mark, you say “of course” but actually, only a small amount of analysis reveals this is not straightforward. Logic and reason are not always so immediately apparent. Take the ‘Monty Hall’ problem. ‘Of course the odds are the same if you do not switch doors’ said leading academics and enraged readers of vos Savant’s column. A classic case of an overwhelming majority thinking something is right because that is what first instincts tell us. But now computer simulations have proven that it was the singular academic who was right because in this case it was an elusive truth.

    I will always admire your posts and insights but unfortunately, nobody has ever presented me with a cogent and convincing argument for WHY “it’s also morally right to raise taxes in such a way as to minimise the cost to society”. That is a sentimental vision of society.

    I think I developed this thinking at my secondary school sports day when I was in the 3rd year (year 9 now I think). Each year would compete according to forms and sadly, though we had some decent male competitors in our form, the girls of 3JJ were totally useless at sport. Some were fat, some were idle, some were fat because they were idle but most, through no fault of their own were just not physically gifted at sport… except me who was good though not outstanding. There were about 15 girls in the class and about 10 track and field events so theoretically, there should have been one event each and 5 kids in reserve. But I ended up being put forward for all 5 track events plus long jump as this as the only chance we had of not coming last overall. This sowed in me the injustice of the quasi-collective. People are not equal. When Thatcher said there is no such thing as society, she wasn’t being anti-human, she was being a reductionist which is a way of thinking atypical of a scientist trained in the 20th century. The ‘society’ that called itself 3JJ when it came to the crunch that sports day was nothing more than an arbitrary construct comprising twenty parasites on the back of ten hosts.
    At first the odious ego might enjoy the praise until you realise you’re being taken for a mug.

    I do wonder whether my moral absolutist stance is the genuine product of my reasoning or have I adopted the arguments which support my world view. As I said I am open to being convinced that I am wrong and in fact recently, I’ve been edging towards threshold deontology, where moral absoolutes only hold up until a certain threshold and when the consequences become too dire, consequentialism kicks in. The only problem with this is how to define the threshold.
    I

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • Tenant super – I’m curious (perhaps you’ve already explained this – if so, I apologise) – if you’re a moral absolutist, what is the basis for your morals?
    On the subject of property taxes – a land value tax would tax people according to the land that they own, not the size of their house. So people owning the same amount of land in the same area would be charged equally. You make the point about services and I take it (from your posts) that morally, you believe that people should be charged for what they use and not more.
    The problem then is that we need to define what people use – you hinted at the problem with Locke’s theories on property, yet returned to your original standpoint. In my view, there is no ownership of land, only rent of land from the citizens of a country.
    In any case, the value of that land does not wholly derive from your labour, so in effect paying no rent/tax on that land would surely be inconsistent with your moral standpoint?

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • Actually – scrap that first question, I just had a wee read about Kantian Ethics. I still think that the point about property stands, though.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • For me, morals have basis in duty. Kant argued that a duty is determined by a subjective principle or rule that the will of an individual uses in making a decision. However, that is problematic because of course it is subjective. Kant therefore says adopt a maxim (principle) also if you will that it would become a universal law. So you wouldn’t say it is okay to steal or kill because if that were universal law, someone could rob or kill you. For me the highest indisputable good is the metaphorical notion self-ownership – the right of a person to be the exclusive controller of his or her own body and life. That is also known as autonomy or liberty. I have a sense that self-determination is a good for me and I will that it would be a universal law (everyone has the right to autonomy as long as it does not conflict with the autonomy of others). From that comes the idea of the idea of the non-agression principle, that you cannot aggress against a person (including by depriving him of something he has worked for).

    As I said, it is tricky when dealing with a limited resource like land. If land belongs to the State, the State is a theoretical contruct which only exists to protect person and property by law. It isn’t an entity like the Borg, consisting of all the constituent individuals so the idea that land belongs to the State is dubious. I am still figuring this out but I am wondering if the solution to a difficult problem would be to view land ownership is more of a metaphor than ownership of renewable resources. So in a sense, owning land is a metaphor… you exchange the monetised product of your labour for the exclusive use of that land as long as you live. Ultimately, we can only own so long as we have a will and personal identity to own with.

    I think I suggested before in another thread that actually, inheritence tax may be a good thing because you are no longer aggressing the ‘owner’ of the land. We talk about a person’s will (the legal document) but actually when you’re dead you no longer have a will so the whole idea of inheritence is a bit dubious. If the property, goes back to the state via inheritence tax and is used to fund grammar schools which provide the means for those with the innate ability to purchase the land it is a way of furthering autonomy.

    I am still muddling through this…

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • * I also add that when I say the State only exists to protect persons and property, I mean to protect personal autonomy/ liberty and property. I dispute the idea of a welfare or paternalistic state.

    My ideeology is further complicated by my belief in virtue ethics (a third way of ethics aside from deontology or consequentialism) but I think that a virtue such as beneficence (care for others) can only be voluntarily adopted not legally sanctioned. The idea of a caring State is erroneous because a theoretical and legal construct like the State cannot have a personal virtue such as beneficence.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • I can see your point about a welfare state, but in a democracy, don’t we, through our vote, volunteer our beneficence via the state?

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • Amazing how one can theorise away any sense of compunction. We should be able to make the State as we want it, since we are collectively in some sense the State. Unfortunately not all have equal power, and that has little to do with ones personal attributes.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



  • ‘don’t we, through our vote, volunteer our beneficence via the state?’ I don’t really agree with democracy for the problems as shown by the Monty Hall controversy. People were outraged by vos Savant and accused her of corrupting the young with her ill informed view. But as has been proven, she was a minority voice that turned out to be correct. If through a democracy you instill a wrong idea such as coercing people who don’t want to, to look after the weak, it is still wrong. If the BNP won a general election, the deprivation of liberty and violation of autonomy on the basis of race would still be wrong.

    Personal attributes are not all that determines outcome. Take for example wealth… from what I have observed, neither intellect nor diligence is what determines outcome. The wealthiest are usually those who have put the most effort into the specific task of acquiring money. However, certain personal attributes and other circumstances are a pre-requisite. And even if it is by sheer luck that one happens to know the right people and be born to the right parents, I still don’t think I have justified claim on the proceeds of their luck.

    I often have these discussions with my friends nearly all of whom are slightly baffled since I am neither wealthy nor powerful nor a complete a*$ehole.

    Reply
    Please complete the required fields.



Add a comment

  • Your email address is required so we can verify that the comment is genuine. It will not be posted anywhere on the site, will be stored confidentially by us and never given out to any third party.
  • Please note that any viewpoints published here as comments are user´s views and not the views of HousePriceCrash.co.uk.
  • Please adhere to the Guidelines

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>