ASI Event: Free Market Fairness

The ASI is hosting a launch/talk for the book “Free Market Fairness”:

in which he argues that libertarians can and should care about social justice. […] Provocative and vigorously argued, Free Market Fairness offers a bold new way of thinking about politics, economics, and justice–one that will challenge readers on both the left and right.

Any serious and well trained political activist should know that libertarians (indeed, even selfish Objectivists) should and do care deeply about suffering and injustice, making Professor Tomasi’s point seem a little weird. Perhaps he’s trolling? I think we should find out! Unfortunatley this event conflicts with the “Open Mic” night at the Rose and Crown which offers good beer and the opportunity to tell fellow libertarians what you think and what you think we should do about it. I’ll forgive you whatever you decide.

This makes the date the Thursday 3 May, and it kicks off only slightly earlier at 06:30pm – 08:30pm.

ASI require your RSVP and are at  23 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BL

Simon Gibbs

Simon is a London based IT contractor and the proprietor of Libertarian Home. Working with logic and cause-and-effect each day he was naturally attracted to nerdy libertarianism and later to the benevolent logic of Objectivism. Find him on Google+ 

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  34 comments for “ASI Event: Free Market Fairness

  1. Paul Marks
    Apr 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Social Justice is the doctrine that income and weath rightly belong to the collective (“the people”) and should be “distributed” according to some political rule.

    Social Justice is not only incompatible with justice (i.e. to each their own) the two conceptions are the basic foes of each other in political philosophy.

    Libertarians should indeed “care about social justice”. We should care about fighting against it with every fibre of our being.

    • Apr 20, 2012 at 7:36 am

      Ahah… I see I slipped into accepting the enemy’s definitions and terms of art. Yes indeed, egalitarianism!=justice and won’t so long as people are different from each other.

      • Paul Marks
        Apr 20, 2012 at 8:33 am

        The Social Justice (justice-as-fairness) people trying to redefine libertarianism (as Social Justice people turned American liberalism 180 degrees in the early years of the 20th century)are a basic threat to the very existance of the libertarian movement.

        Libertarians have an importance out of all proportion to our numbers. Especially in the United States libertarians act as the CONSCIENCE of the wider antisocialist movement – influening conservatives in favour of liberty and against anti liberty ideas. Without libertarians (if “libertarian” like “liberal” before it just becomes another word for socialist) then the intellectual (and moral) backbone of the antisocialist movement is broken.

        That is why the collectivists are spending so much time and effort trying to “corrupt our little movement” – they understand that we have an importance far greater than our numbers would suggest.

        The Social Justice concept is a dagger at the throat of libertarianism – unless their is a fight back (a FUNDEMENTAL fight back) libertarianism will be turned into its very opposite. Just as American liberalism was.

        This is an international struggle, but the United Kingdom is an important battlefield in this stuggle. We MUST defeat the Social Justice justice-as-fairness people – or libertarianism will be wiped out.

    • Paul Marks
      Apr 20, 2012 at 8:39 am

      So people should not be allowed to leave their money (or other wealth such as land) to their children (or, if they dislike their children, to the Cats Protection League or whatever).

      Many thanks Ken – you have made my point (about the threat justice-as-fairness poses) for me.

      As for the “fruits of their labour” – wealth that comes to someone by good luck (say their number came up on the lottery) is just as much theirs as wealth they have worked 16 hours a day for over twenty years.

      Just as an, unowned, gem one finds by chance is just as much ones property as a gem that one has spent 12 hours digging out of the rock with our finger nails.

  2. Ken Ferguson
    Apr 20, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Libertarians should indeed “care about social justice”. We should care about fighting against it with every fibre of our being.

    I am happy with the concept of every individual receiving the fruit of his labour and not being coerced, by the state, into contributing to the welfare of others, but that does not mean that the individual citizen is absolved of the moral obligation to do what he can to ease the plight of others, particularly those who are unable to help themselves.

    Objectivists may disagree.

    Nor, in my view, does the concept of deserved reward address the issue of when reward is received by the individual who is without merit, merely the through the accident of his birth. I am in favour of fostering a meritocracy, not for perpetuating some kind of fractured dynasty.

    • Apr 20, 2012 at 7:24 am

      If money does not buy power, which it shouldn’t, then how does inherited wealth create a dynasty?

      I assume you allude to inherited wealth…

  3. Mises
    Apr 20, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    As above, anyone who thinks that libertarianism is compatible with social justice is just trying to subvert the word libertarian. Libertarianism in a nutshell is about interpersonal justice, there is no such thing as social justice any more than there is “compulsory volunteering” or “libertarian paternalism”.

    Ken, I’m going to have to disagree in the strongest terms that we should be creating a meritocracy either, since merit is a subjective term it’s not for any of us to decide what is meritorious. If you think that’s a strange position to take then 1984 or Brave New World ought to persuade you otherwise: both are visions of a dystopian world based on meritocracy.

    • Paul Marks
      Apr 20, 2012 at 11:45 pm

      Mises – yes.

      Edmund Burke’s “Letter to a Noble Lord” springs to mind.

      The Duke of Bedford was an idiot – he was actively supporting the French Revolution without understanding that the Revolutionaries would rob him of his property and murder him and his family.

      The Duke of Bedford had also not worked for his estate, he had inherited it (and, being an idiot, would have been rather unlikely to have had an estate had he not been born with one).

      Nor had his family gained their estate by any hard work or noble deeds – they had just been toadies of Henry VIII a couple of centures before.

      Yet…..

      Burke writes that he will defend the Russell family’s right to their property – in spite of them being useless tosspots (I am using rather harder language than Burke did – but his meaning is clear).

      And Burke will defend the Duke of Bedford himself (defend him from robbery and murder), inspite of the Duke (being an idiot) doing his level “best” to aid the very people (the Revolutionaries) who would rob and murder him and his family.

      Once we say that present property owners have to “justify” their ownership (by pointing at their hard work and/or moral merit) then no property is safe (for no amount of “justification” will convince those with itchy palms)and civil society will be transformed into blood soaked chaos.

      Only by standing by private property rights (against the forces of Social Justice), no matter how stupid or degenerate the present owners are, can liberty be maintained – for the liberty of civil society is NOT blood soaked chaos.

      • Richard Carey
        Apr 21, 2012 at 3:12 am

        I agree with one caveat: the truth is that the property rights of dukes etc were based on conquest and expropriation. It is only because the record of these crimes and the previous owners are lost to history that they can keep it. If a theft is alleged, the onus is on the accuser to prove a prior claim to whatever property is in question. Without this, indeed the property rests with the current owner. It is a utilitarian weakness to support the status quo, but it is not consistent with natural rights to allow the rightful owner of stolen property to be prevented from its return, no matter how long ago it was. If something is known to be stolen, and the rightful owner is unknown, then it reverts to being unowned and will thereby become rightfully the property of whoever comes into first possession – provided this person is not the thief.

        Much as I understand Paul’s vigilance against socialistic infection, justice should certainly be of fundamental importance to libertarians, and libertarians must try to explain themselves better to non-libertarians so as not to be misunderstood. The term ‘social justice’ may well have evil intent, but it does not for many people, for whom it means nothing concrete, and probably has a good deal in common with principles which are consistent with libertarianism, such as hostility to privilege – for what is free trade and laissez-faire if not hostility to privileges granted and enforced by the state in the interests of particular groups?

        • Ken Ferguson
          Apr 21, 2012 at 6:33 am

          The danger is that, if we unthinkingly and absolutely defend inherited property rights, we homologate a world where the status quo is crystallised and all energies are expended in defending it.

          I have known many people who have inherited wealth and who have lived their lives without ambition or attainment,greater layabouts and parasites than any benefit claimant, and it seems to me that their inheritance was, ultimately, detrimental to their lives.

          Maybe meritocracy is the wrong term but we need conditions where individuals are motivated to create wealth and where they can enjoy the benefits of what they earn, not a world where we defend the legacy of historically acquired spoils. Libertarians want people to be free to take their own decisions in order to make the best of their lives, not to preserve feudal rights or perpetuate injustice.

          People who want to do that are, more properly, known as conservatives.

          • Paul Marks
            Apr 21, 2012 at 7:36 am

            There is no such “danger” Ken. In fact history shows that before inheritance tax and the graduated (“progressive”) income tax, many (indeed most) of the great companies were founded by people who had inherited little or nothing.

            However, it is true that (contrary to the idea that “slavery and empire” was the driving force of the industrial revolution) early industrialists needed to borrow money – and what they borrowed was (for the most part) the profits of farming (domestic farming).

            It is no accident that the agricultural revolution happened before the industrial revolution. Both in terms of increased food production (otherwise the increasing population would have starved) and in terms of savings (profits) from farming, which were put into banks and lent out to would-be industrialists (they also reinvested their own profits – but most of these industrialists started out in life with little more than workshops, so they had a need for capital).

            Ireland did not go down this path – most of Ireland remained unindustrialised and most (again not all) of farming in Ireland remained peasant plots (Ulster and areas in Eastern Ireland such as County Wicklow, being rather different).

            For all the troubles that faced England and Wales in the 19th century, the Irish alternative path led to rather worse results.

            And, of course, farming is not instant matter – the changes that occured in English farming could not have happened without inherited estates being developed over generations.

            One of the many evils of the “Penal Laws” in Ireland was that there was no reason for anyone to develop the land (not even to plant a tree or lay a hedge). Even after the Penal Laws were formally repealed Ireland (for the most part) remained a land of peasants growing potatos – a death trap.

            Of course there were exceptions – for example the Fitzwilliams developed their estates in Ireland on a “mixed farming” basis (as they did in Yorkshire), but for the most part POLITICAL considerations (fear of endless disturbances) meant that Irish landlords feared to do anything. Rabbits caught in the headlights best describes them – on their road to bankruptcy.

            As for today….

            British banks think they do not need the profits of farms and manufacturing enterprises – as money (for loans) can be created by the stroke of a pen (or computer key) without any need for REAL SAVINGS.

            The fact that this is insane passes them by – as it does the government.

            And farming?

            A subsidized and regulated mess.

            Manufacturing?

            A waste land.

            The “financial services industry”?

            A credit-money bubble (people who think the bubble has burst and we are back to solid foundations, sadly, have “seen nothing yet”).

            I fear this island faces the fate that hit Ireland in the 1840s.

            Not exactly the same fate (history never repeats itself exactly) – but the same basic fate of economic collapse.

            Ireland lost close to a third of its population (forced to emigrate to find work, or dead from sickness due to bodies weakened by a diet made up of little more than handouts – given in return, for example, for work on the “roads from nowhere to nowhere” that the government had built all over Ireland as a way of producing make-work jobs, similar government “investments” had failed in the Highlands of Scotland decades before, but the same policy was tried again).

            I hope this island of Britain has less cruel fate.

            “But we have a Poor Law”.

            So did Ireland in the 1840s.

            The Royal Irish Police went riding (with rifles on their backs) to make sure that landowners (and owners of what non farming enterprises that existed)paid the Poor Rate.

            It did not work out well – it just forced more and more estates and other enterprises into bankruptcy.

            To tax production there must first be production – and in Ireland production was at such a level, that there were no real resources for the Poor Law.

            Or for the Royal Irish Police.

            Or for the new national schools.

            That is the final “joke” of Irish history.

            For all the talk of the “exploitation of Ireland” the place actually made a massive loss for the British taxpayer over the period.

          • Mises
            Apr 21, 2012 at 8:08 am

            You are conflating parasitism with injustice, not so. Parasites are fine, just so long as they are not also thieves. In fact we are all parasites in the sense that our lives are made easier by the achievements of people now long dead.

            How about we deal with the stolen wealth first, and later, when everyone’s property claims are valid we can worry (or not!) about the sons and daughters of the wealthy.

          • Richard Carey
            Apr 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

            If the original property right is legitimate, then the inherited property right is equally legitimate. As to the original legitimacy, it is the same as innocent until proven guilty, the onus is on someone to prove it is not legitimate, not on the owner to prove it is legitimate, and certainly not to prove that he is worthy to possess it.

            • Paul Marks
              Apr 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm

              My point on the “Norman Yoke” was that people in the 18th century (not the 17th century) who talked about were being insincere. They had no intention of reaching back to Anglo Saxon England.

              And, as I have already mentioned, modern people who play this card in reality hate nonNorman landholders as much as Norman ones.

              By the way a point on “feudal”- there is often a confusion of language here, with “feudal” being used to mean “serfdom”.

              This is an error – as serfdom (peasants being tied to the land) goes back to the late Roman Empire.

              Also a feudal state need not have serfdom – in many ways both England and Scotland have feudal land law (hence “free hold” rather than the terms of Roman land law), but have not had serfdom in centuries.

              Indeed little Sark had a fully feudal political system till only a couple of years ago.

              As for justice.

              I agree with Richard Carey – the burden of proof is on those who make charges.

              And not just Revolutionaries make charges.

              For example, “the Crown” (not George III – but the people around him, the executive, the court) started to ask questions about land titles in the late 18th century.

              By some odd coincident it was the land titles of its political foes – such as the Duke of Portland.

              “So this land has always been in the possession of your family PROVE your family acquired it justly, show us documents …..” was the line.

              The Crown was going to do this in America also (using the mask of defending Indian rights – a mask for the desire of people connected with the Crown to take land themselves, “you stole this land from Indians, so we can…..”), but the idea blow up in their faces. The “Red Necks” who faught at the Battle of King’s Mountain in North Carolina, or with the “Swamp Fox” in South Carolina (or with the Rangers up north in New Hampshire) were just as willing to kill King’s men as they were Indians (just as different bands of Indians had always been willing to kill each other).

              At some point the blood soaked game of musical chairs has to stop – otherwise one gets IRISH history (which goes back well before 1170 – as under Brahon law no land title was ever really clear). “Your grandfather burned out the people here and took the land – therefore we are going to burn you out and take the land” (and on till the next burning out and taking).

              Back to governments…

              PROVE your family acquired this ….. justly, has been a standard method of attack (attack from would-be despotic governments) since the year dot.

              And OF COURSE – if one traces property back far enough (to the Normans, to the Saxons, to the Romans, to whoever the Celts took it from…..) one can always find a taint in the title – some incident of violent taking.

              No one who demands a virgin title (i.e. property title with no injustice in it – no matter how far one looks back) ever really expects to find a virgin title.

              The demand for a virgin title is really just a SCAM.

              Using the excuse of old violence, as an excuse for new violence.

              “This land was taken by violence X centuries ago – THEREFORE we can…..”

              Or.

              “These goods were made on land taken by violence X centuries ago – THEREFORE we can…”

              Sadly it is ancient scam.

              Not an ounce of sincerity in it.

              But – by the way…..

              Remember Social Justice is not just after land – it is after EVERYTHING.

          • Apr 22, 2012 at 7:41 pm

            You seem to be making an argument that depends not only upon an altruistic justification (I.e. is unjustified) but which is also a variation upon ” Ken knows best” with regards to who gets what from inheritance.

        • Paul Marks
          Apr 21, 2012 at 7:42 am

          Sadly the people who complained of the “Norman Yoke” did not have the slightest interest in finding individual Anglo Saxons who were the true “rightful owners” of specific places.

          Indeed the did (and do) show the same hatred for surviving Anglo Saxon landowners (and there were some – an estate in Staffordshire only finally went bankrupt a couple of years ago) as they do for “Normans”.

          You are sincere Mr Carey – but the Revolutionaries were not, and are not.

          • Ken Ferguson
            Apr 21, 2012 at 9:14 am

            Parasites are fine

            A parasite is any organism or living thing that benefits from another creature’s harm. In other words, the parasites harm the host organism while the parasite benefits.

            A parasitic relationship is the opposite of a mutualistic relationship and should be anathema to libertarians.

          • Richard Carey
            Apr 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm

            No way. The ‘Norman Yoke’ was shorthand for the authoritarian, liberty-denying state in an earlier age. It was without doubt a romanticised version of history, but it was based on the idea that the Rule of Law predated and preceded the power of the king, and that Magna Carta was an admission by the king that he was bound by the law.

            The radicals from the Civil War period were called ‘levellers’ by their enemies, a term with a meaning similar to communist. They were not communists. They believed in individual liberty, including economic liberty and were fighting against the corrupt state of their time and the monopolies it imposed over trade, and were demanding their natural rights, and they proved their sincerity in their suffering and dying for their beliefs.

            The notion of the ‘Norman Yoke’ no longer has any symbolic power, since we are not living in feudal times. If you wish to battle ‘left-libertarians’ in defence of property rights, I’m on your side, but history should not be ignored or denied. The non-aggression principle does not allow violent expropriation, neither now, nor 1000 years in the past.

            • Paul Marks
              Apr 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm

              None of the above should be read to mean that William the Bastard was not a swine – he was.

              And for all the faults of Anglo Saxon England, Norman rule was much worse.

              For a start as many 40% of the population were serfs in the early Norman period.

              However, what force created it also undermnined.

              For example Henry I (youngest son of William) needed armed men to back his claim for the throne against his elder brother (the brother who had not had the conveniant hunting accident).

              He needed ENGLISH support.

              How to get it?

              Sware an oath to uphold traditional rights and liberties (at least for free men) – the oath of 1100.

              And marry a direct decendent of Alfred the Great.

              Actually all the Norman families intermarried with the English.

              And all the great families needed armed men to defend their position.

              Serfs might have been useful economically – but having men you could trust with lethal weapons was far more important (at least in England).

              And after the age of fighing barons?

              Ah the inner most truth.

              Many of these ancient Norman families are not Norman at all.

              Over the centuries a lot of these estates have been bought by upstart English (who became wealthy in one line of business or another).

              The name sometimes gets bought along with the estate – even if there is not some impoverished member of the old family to marry.

              “Came over with William” is (for most of the remaining gentry) a myth.

  4. Mises
    Apr 21, 2012 at 9:37 am

    @Ken

    Definition for parasite

    Parasites can cause harm, many don’t.

    Quick list of parasites:
    * Children – good
    * Gut bacteria – good
    * The BBC – bad

    Being a parasite isn’t bad in-of-itself, it’s the nature of the relationship that’s either good or bad. In general, the only question you need ask is – is it voluntary?

    • Paul Marks
      Apr 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      And our relationship with the BBC certainly is not voluntary.

      Nor is it old violence (something their grandfathers did).

      It is new taking – every year.

      They take our money – and give us propaganda we hate, in return.

      Not nice of them, not nice at all.

      Long established bits of statism are not good – that is where conservativism (small “c”) falls down.

      Otherwise such things as the American Postal Service would be a good thing.

      After all “establish a Post Office and post roads” is right there in the Constitution of the United States (Article One, Section Eight).

      The Postal Service is centuries old – and it is still a pile of s***.

      Statism does not work (it does belong to anyone [“belongs to everyone” is the same as “belongs to noone”), nor can it be sold on the market).

      And it being an old established institution does not matter – it still does not work.

      • Ken Ferguson
        Apr 22, 2012 at 8:26 am

        @ Paul

        Don’t want to get into a semantic argument but the point about a “parasitic” relationship is that it is not consensual. Whilst the host may not be injured (though it often is)only the parasite derives any benefit.

        The definition of a voluntary relationship where both sides derive benefit is “symbiotic”. I would suggest that the first two examples you give are more usually and properly symbiotic relationships (though I absolutely agree that the BBC are parasites).

        • Mises
          Apr 22, 2012 at 10:01 am

          OK, we’ll drop the semantics…

          Would you like to ban voluntary relationships that are not mutually beneficial? Or in other words – would you like to ban altruism? Even Ayn Rand didn’t go that far.

          • Ken Ferguson
            Apr 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

            Would you like to ban voluntary relationships that are not mutually beneficial?

            If you believe Rand, there is no such thing.

            All voluntary contracts and relationships, even those involving apparent altruism, exist because each party believes it is in their interests.

            That is why we believe in the virtue of charity (where there is benefit to both the donor and the receiver) rather than redistributive taxation (which is coercive).

            So a prohibition on any voluntary relationship would clearly be ridiculous for a libertarian.

            However I would argue that a parasitic relationship is necessarily coercive because it only has the consent of one party. Where it has the consent of both, for example in the application of leeches, the relationship becomes symbiotic.

        • Paul Marks
          Apr 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm

          I am starting to think that the argument here is artificial rather that real.

          I do not think that Ken really supports inheritance tax (after all if he did he would have said so by now).

          So perhaps my own love of a “scrap” has produced an artifcial “scrap”.If so, I apologize for that.

          Let us concentrate our fire on real enemies (such as the BBC) – rather than each other.

  5. Mises
    Apr 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    @Ken

    First you said:

    “I have known many people who have inherited wealth and who have lived their lives without ambition or attainment, greater layabouts and parasites than any benefit claimant, and it seems to me that their inheritance was, ultimately, detrimental to their lives.”

    Now you say:

    “So a prohibition on any voluntary relationship would clearly be ridiculous for a libertarian.”

    Based on the later comment, I assume you withdraw your objection to inherited (but justly originated) wealth?

    As for Rand, I’d be interested if anyone can point me to evidence that she denied the existence of altruism, my understanding was that she thought it was immoral and/or irrational, but not impossible. I am not exactly a Rand expert.

    • Paul Marks
      Apr 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      Ayn Rand passionatly attacked altruism – although she has a rather strict definition of the concept.

      On the other hand Randian characters (and Rand herself) practiced benevolence – giving aid with expectation of being repaid.

      Indeed some of the most generious people I have met have been Randian Objectivists – and there is no contradiction. They give freely but deny that anyone else has a RIGHT to take their income or wealth.

      Ken’s point about trust fund kids (which is what he is really driving at) is a classic example of MISSING THE POINT.

      Why do people not hand on enterprises (factories, farms, whatever) for their children to run?

      Why do they leave them income from a trust instead?

      Because of INHERITANCE TAX.

      A trust does not pay this inheritance tax – leave them the factory (or whatever) directly and they are crippled by inheritance tax.

      The key strength of the German company is the family enterprise – they are the backbone of German manufacturing (as the enterprises think long term – over generations, not to the end of year bonus which is how many British and American companies are run).

      When it looked like Germany was going to introduce inheritance tax on the Anglo-American method, who turned up in Germany?

      That vampire Warren Buffett – going round family owned companies and saying…..

      “Protect your children from inheritance tax – sell the company to my corporation and put the money from the sale into a trust for your children…..”.

      In short inheritance tax creates the very problem that Ken thinks it solves.

      The trust-fund kid.

      • Mises
        Apr 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm

        “Why do they leave them income from a trust instead?

        Because of INHERITANCE TAX.

        A trust does not pay this inheritance tax – leave them the factory (or whatever) directly and they are crippled by inheritance tax.”

        Now that’s interesting.

        • Paul Marks
          Apr 23, 2012 at 9:53 pm

          When I was born (admittedly a long time ago – but not in a different geological era) most shares were still owned by individuals.

          Why is this not still true today? Why are most shares owned by pension funds and other institutions? So we have hired managers (the executives of companies) responsible to other hired managers (the exectutives of institutional share owners) with enterprises not really being OWNED by anyone.

          Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax. These are the reasons for the decline of individual shareholders and the rise of insitutional shareholders.

          The very people who complain about “faceless corporations” tend to be the people who support these very taxes (and high graduated Income Tax) that have created “faceless corporations”.

  6. Ken Ferguson
    Apr 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    @ Mises

    I believe both the statements are correct- I was arguing that inherited wealth is often detrimental to both individuals and society, not that we should have 100% inheritance tax (even if such a thing could be practically implemented).

    But if we are ranking different types of coercive taxation in terms of their adverse effects, inheritance tax is, in my view, by no means the worst in terms of promoting the creation of wealth.

  7. Tim Carpenter
    Apr 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Free market fairness?

    No coercion?
    No arbitrary legal advantage for one group against another?
    Frausters and thieves punished?

    John Steward Mill had a great approach to “Social Rights” – “monstrous”, he called them. Social Justice is built upon that foundation, that monstrous foundation.

    Social? What is this “social”? and how can it have rights beyond the individuals it has the pretence to signify?

    Individual rights, individual justice and fairness by individuals treated equally under the law must exist first before any other justices or rights can exist. If all individuals have them, what can possibly be gained but persecution of minorities if this “social” fabrication, this tool, is given additional or superior rights over the said individuals?

    “fairness” tends to mean these days “the rich paying (much) more”.

    One could stretch a point and say fairness is the rich paying the same percentage.
    It would more accurately be fair to say each person pays the same fixed amount. But fair it is not. In the interests in not taxing the very low paid, some form of crude progressive taxation would not be outrageous, but a flat rate after that could restore some diaphanous figleaf to it.

    But we get people like Sunny Hundal puffing in disgust because someone on £250,000 a year might be paying LESS than 40% in tax.

    40% is £100,000 in tax. One hundred THOUSAND pounds in tax from one individual. Every year! That is four times the entire pre-tax wage of those on average incomes. It is TWENTY times that paid in tax by those same people. One person paying twenty times that of another. Why? Because they are outnumbered, for a start.

    And the likes of Sunny want even more. They think what is being taken by force isn’t yet fair enough. I really do think that Sunny never actually did the numbers, never actually faced up to the magitude of his guff. When those numbers are actually in front of him, he tries to blow it off. Quite a feat when one has one’s head up one’s backside.

  8. Ken Ferguson
    Apr 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    A trust does not pay this inheritance tax – leave them the factory (or whatever) directly and they are crippled by inheritance tax.

    In fact business premises get 100% inheritance tax relief.

    • Paul Marks
      Apr 25, 2012 at 11:44 am

      A statement can be true but very misleading.

      Your statement is “a business premises” gets a 100% inheritance tax relief.

      That is, of course, not the same thing as (for example) shares in an enterprise.

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