Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Mixed Messages

The controversial VAT increase comes into force today in the UK. This increase poses a problem for the Daily Mail’s readers as it’s a tax rise and so is fundamentally bad, but on the other hand it’ll sting dirty benefit scroungers more than most, so must be good.

The newspaper itself seems to be hedging its bets and not predicting the world’s end. Instead the main focus seems to be on the amount of money it could cost businesses.

The reader’s comments, on the other hand, are definitely in favour of the rise. John from Leicester says;

Bring it on!!!!!! At last a tax that everyone has to pay, not just the hard working middle class taxpayer. Lets hear the feckless benefit scroungers squeal when their flat screen TV's go up.Ah bless, their mobile phone bills will rise, they shouldn't be able to afford mobile phones. Not sure if cigarettes are taxable but you can just hear them sqealing if they are. Is beer subject to VAT. I hope so because the benefit scroungers probably consume more than the average taxpayer. Yeah, bring it on!!!!!”

The logic seems to be that he can afford to pay the tax without having too much of a detrimental effect on his lifestyle, whereas someone with less money (And anyone with less money than him must surely be the world’s laziest / most pathetic person it seems) will notice the pain. This could only be a good thing as it would teach them not to have less money than him?

I wonder if he’d apply the same logic to an increase in income tax at the higher rate.  If you increase the top rate from 50% to say 57% all the payers would still be able to live in the manner to which they are accustomed but would be doing their patriotic duty to help reduce the deficit.  

Of course the downside of this is that it’s a glee-free change. No one really suffers in a meaningful way. Least of all people who earn less money than the thriving John.
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