Yesterday the Telegraph did a piece on Labourâ€™s proposals to charge people more if they happen to live somewhere nice. No doubt Northfield and many parts of Ealing will have high ratings in Labourâ€™s scheme of â€œvalue significant codesâ€.
Simon Heffer in the Telegraph today fulminates:
The Brown Terror, having wrecked the economy, now proposes to wreck it further by penalising those who already make the biggest contribution, and ensuring they contribute even more. That is what socialism is all about, and why socialist countries are inevitably economic failures. If you tax successful people until their pips are squeaking, they tend to clear off to be successful elsewhere, and stop paying our taxes altogether.
This is just another example of a process that has been accelerating throughout the last 11 years.
With the 45% tax rate and this new nice neighbourhood tax Labour are nakedly plotting to raise taxes on the middle classes, something they have been wary of doing up until now. They have massively increased taxes but not nakedly. They have done it stealthily, by inches. Please note Conservatives the way to undo Labourâ€™s damage is by inches too.
What Labour have also consistently done hitherto is to target â€œdeprivedâ€ groups for extra help, whether it is spending more on bad schools, spending Lottery money in deprived areas, giving more money to inefficient Labour councils or targeting health resources at unhealthy people to â€œreduce health inequalitiesâ€.
In many ways this seems laudable but at some point the better off just decide to stop being forced to be so generous. They work out how to avoid taxes or they simply leave the country. In Britain today you can give up almost half your income in taxes, pay two grand in council tax and still not get a school that pushes your child academically, get hold of basic healthcare quickly and conveniently and enjoy a high quality public realm. If we fail to meet the basic aspirations of those paying the bills something will change.
It is one thing to expect wealthier people to contribute more. It is quite another if you then give a disproportionate share of the proceeds to people who canâ€™t or wonâ€™t contribute.
In Britain today too much public money is diverted to people who make poor choices all of their lives; people who consistently choose not to get educated, not to work, not to stay with their partners, not to look after their own children and not to look after themselves. No amount of cash can undo these poor choices and often the money provides perverse incentives to keep making poor choices.