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John Simkin

Morality and Income Tax

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The money system is a complete failure. There should be no money, therefore no tax. There should also be no high earners, people should be recompensed with leisure time and other benefits, not accumulated monetary wealth in order to buy unnecessary trinkets and consumer goods.

Isn't the 'money system' just a refinement of bartering which, in the (communist?) system you're proposing, presumably would be necessary?

:rolleyes: Doug

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Isn't the 'money system' just a refinement of bartering which, in the (communist?) system you're proposing, presumably would be necessary?

Bartering implies market, communism doesn't. Communism implies production for need, then you can rest.

When everyone has a functioning fridge, cooker, flat screen TV (I could go on) you only have to produce for replacement of break-downs. This would free the majority of the world from the drudgery of work, and enable them to pursue their interests - writing, painting, chatting with their mates, making music, plays, tv shows radio shows, teaching, mucking around with IT for the hell of it...

Sure there'd still be work producing food, clearing up, which could be done by those with a special interest in them or on a rota system.

However these are merely suggestions, the reality would best be organised when we get there!

On the morality of taxation, I think it the question is completely cart before horse. "Is it morally right to tax high earners?" suggests it is right and proper to have high earners (Check out Labout Theory of Value on just about any search engine). To take the most obvious example: how many computers did Bill Gates make last year, personally? How many copies of "his" :lol: software did he make personally? How much did he get paid for all this endeavour?

John S mentioned that it's difficult to restrict incomes - the current government in the UK is doing that rather effectively at the moment, albeit only for the lower earners. It could usefully apply the concept of reviewing staffing structures (with a little tweaking of criteria) throughout the economy to achieve this end.

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Bartering implies market, communism doesn't. Communism implies production for need, then you can rest.

I read the Communist Manifesto this morning - starts off well, but kind of goes downhill...

As far as I see it the 'market' can never be eliminated. For example, the butter factory churns the milk too much and makes cheese. There is therefore a butter drought. Those people who have butter are now in a position to barter for more luxurious items with those who want butter. This is a market, is it not? :huh:

:lol: Doug

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I read the Communist Manifesto this morning - starts off well, but kind of goes downhill...

Great! The Bible has good bits too (Matthew 6 v24, 7 v12-13, Mark 11 v17) But I don't want to seem like a J Witness....

As far as I see it the 'market' can never be eliminated. For example, the butter factory churns the milk too much and makes cheese. There is therefore a butter drought. Those people who have butter are now in a position to barter for more luxurious items with those who want butter. This is a market, is it not? :lol:

Marx would call this the 'muck' of ages. People become conditioned to certain ways of thinking and thus cannot see past it. If you have enough coke (or whatever) in your glass and your partner is thirsty would you sell or give a share of your coke? When a student asks to see me after school, I don't say 'sure, my rate out of school is £75 per hour or part thereof'. In a butter drought, to use your example, why couldn't people share, or make Rarebit with the cheese or use the bread with margarine or with the gravy on their plate, or make bruschetta? The examples can be spread (yuk, another bad pun) beyond butter. Sharing or using alternatives are the most obvious.

Bizarrely in the current 'market' system thousands of tons of food is destroyed each year to maintain prices.

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Snapshot, 1pm 16 October. (this relates only to the latest group of questions.)

I wonder if it is possible at this early stage to draw any conclusions from the distribution of answers to the various questions?

___________________________________________

"Is it morally right for top wage earners to pay more than a 40% rate of income tax?" 18 115

"Should governments use military action to remove unpleasant political leaders from power?" 9 73

"Is it better for our political leaders to believe in God than to be agnostics or atheists?" 8 83

"Should governments pass legislation that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching. For example, abortion, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, etc." 6 52

"Is proportional representation an important ingredient of democracy?" 5 33

"Which country has the best democratic system in the world?" 4 41

"Is Iraq becoming another Vietnam? If so, should those foreign troops in Iraq be withdrawn." 4 31

___________________________________________

These questions could be grouped in different way. One is money, war, religion and politics.

money 1 question 18 answers 115 views

war 2 questions 13 answers 104 views

religion 2 questions 14 answers 135 views

politics 2 questions 9 answers 74 views

Our children ask, we answer? How important are our childrens concerns to us? What lesson should a child draw from this distribution?

Is the love of money 'the root of all evil? :lol:

Edited by John Dolva

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I read the Communist Manifesto this morning - starts off well, but kind of goes downhill...

Great! The Bible has good bits too (Matthew 6 v24, 7 v12-13, Mark 11 v17) But I don't want to seem like a J Witness....

Or, indeed Acts 2v44-45 and 4v34-35. Christians (or at least most evangelicals) would say that man's seeming inability to share resources comes from his sinful nature.

But all this is tangential... :huh:

:lol: Doug

Edited by Doug Belshaw

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I think we can talk a lot about taxes but government will listen to rich not to poor people. I do not understand your system capitalist one we are only moving towards it but I see that it is very wild by the nature. We got a period of wild capitalism now some people got all people's property oil gas natural resourses and have milliards of money but do not pay taxes because of corruption and millions are living in a poverty like in the region of Abramovich but he is a hero in UK and buying footbal teams and property from kings but people in his region slowly dying with gas oil and food. Berezovky Gusinkis and others made thier money in Russia but moved to Israel or UK (despite Berzovsky is under Intrepol investigation but laughing at all world society because he has milliards of money to behave himself like that).

So we are talking they are working and making their business as they like to do. I only surprised that you have built capitalism 500 years ago but still have the same problems and I guess that we will get the same through some years. Now I can understand people who were building socialism to be equal but poor but it was a nice story with sad end...

Welcome to Capitalism!

Where: Those who are willing to, can work and progressively improve their (& their family) standard of living.

Or, those who wish to, out of greed, can effectively become wealthy overnight through illegal and/or morally corrupt practice.

In the event you have not observed it, over the past 50 years, the United States has progressively been working towards implementation of numerous "socialistic" programs.

This would have been unheard of in the 1950's, and the "Commie" crowds of McCarthy and others would have yelled from the highest mountain that the communists were taking over.

Under the assumption that the governments of this world can avoid nuclear armageddon, then our children, and their children, will see each form of government adjusting to similar forms of meeting the needs of their populace.

The United States, having once allowed relatively honest "free market" capitalism to be replaced by a capitalist controlled market, has now had to impose more and more restrictions against those who would seek to manipulate the system to their financial advantage.

In this same scenario, the government has had to provide more in the way of social programs to meet the needs of those who have, for whatever reason, not become independent of requiring assistance.

The Soviet system has stymied the growth of capitalism, and therefore limited the incentives for individuals to attempt to better themselves, for themselves.

With removal of many of the former government controls, many have taken advantage of the opportunities which have opened for betterment and for wealth.

Most no doubt, are attempting to better themselves through the entirely legal means. Others, will always

seek the "greed" and illegal means.

The experience of uncontrolled "capitalism" which the Soviet Union has encountered, is little different from the same experience of the US in it's early days when a limited number of families controlled the great majority of the wealth in the entire country.

As the US system progresses toward a more socialistic society, so must the Soviet system progress towards a more open and capitalistic system which will offer the same benefits to it's citizenship that Americans currently have.

Perhaps in another 100 years, or perhaps longer, which in the course of history is an extremely short period.

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Is it morally right for top wage owners to pay more than a 40% rate of income-tax?"

The question is loaded, since you are putting everyone into a pot and considering their circumstances equally. Using the term "wage earner" (which is what I think you mean) also implies that everyone in this pot is earning some sort of wage, which is not true. The richest people derive wealth from investments and speculations, and the poor are usually either unemployed or earn something which could not be considered a regular wage. That being said, there are many other moral questions to consider, for example, is it moral for people to live in poverty or is it moral to make someone work more than 8 hours a day without earning a living wage or anything they could even call a regular wage. To specifically answer your question, I have a difficult time believing that anyone earning a winfall of money, even in a so-called "free" economic system, really has a moral "right" to that money. You might believe he or she should keep that money, but that is not a moral issue.

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Or, indeed Acts 2v44-45 and 4v34-35. Christians (or at least most evangelicals) would say that man's seeming inability to share resources comes from his sinful nature.

But all this is tangential... :huh:

But the nature of human beings is quite a good thing to discuss... although something people will seldom agree on... And the early Christians you refer to above must have felt at odds with their Roman world, yet saw (as with Shareforum!!) the benefits of sharing what they had.

:lol:

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Is it morally right for top wage owners to pay more than a 40% rate of income-tax?"

The real question here is whether it is right for governments to tax people's income so highly.

I think it is arguable that in a society in which we share many benefits and have a mutual

responsibility to each other that the rich should pay more direct tax than the less rich or poor.

The principle of progressive direct tax means that high earners pay more as a proportion of their income.

But this is less fair if benefits are not means tested. Why should a rich family for example have the same child benefits as the poor?

As a general principle direct tax is fairer than tax on expenditure but I also recognise that taxing income above 40 per cent acts as a disincentive to those with rare skills. In any case employers would avoid its burdan by pushing up the income of high wage employers and this would be inflationary. Thus taxing above 40 percent is probably not a real option for governements abd would probably not make a substantial increase to government income.

Lastly I would just add the real moral point that the rich have a moral responsbibility to the poor but there are limits on the rights of government to translate this moral point into a high taxation policy. The individual has to be left with some free moral responsibility.

John Palin

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Lastly I would just add the real moral point that the rich have a moral responsbibility to the poor but there are limits on the rights of government to translate this moral point into a high taxation policy. The individual has to be left with some free moral responsibility.

I think that this is one thing upon which we can all agree. It is not the place of the state to force people into 'moral' decisions. It is true that the state encourages donations through charities being able to claim back tax, but perhaps if income tax was reduced people would actually end up giving a greater percentage of their income away?

:lol: Doug

Edited by Doug Belshaw

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Lastly I would just add the real moral point that the rich have a moral responsbibility to the poor but there are limits on the rights of government to translate this moral point into a high taxation policy. The individual has to be left with some free moral responsibility.

I think that this is one thing upon which we can all agree. It is not the place of the state to force people into 'moral' decisions. It is true that the state encourages donations through charities being able to claim back tax, but perhaps if income tax was reduced people would actually end up giving a greater percentage of their income away?

:lol: Doug

Possibly so,

Them "Tammy Faye" could give away more dolls to starving and medically deprived infants, and "Jim" could construct another monument to himself.

And you, I, and the remainder of society could do without the luxeries such as improved roads, mass transportation, electrical power, etc; etc; etc.

Personally, I had rather see the Government get it.

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Them "Tammy Faye" could give away more dolls to starving and medically deprived infants, and "Jim" could construct another monument to himself.

And you, I, and the remainder of society could do without the luxeries such as improved roads, mass transportation, electrical power, etc; etc; etc.

Personally, I had rather see the Government get it.

I agree wholeheartedly, if you trust the Government to spend money wisely. I know that everyone perhaps doesn't think like me, but I'm quite happy to give time and money to things that don't benefit me directly.

Perhaps education rather than taxation is the answer?

:plane Doug

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I'm not too sure, like some other correspondents, that income tax is a moral issue. In a democracy, the elected representatives of the people decide on the level of income tax which should be charged. Thus it is a political question rather than a moral one.

BTW, a few weeks ago, I was threatened with exclusion from the forum for failure to supply a photograph. I note that there are still some correspondents on this thread without one. Have they been similarly meanced?

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