Something for everyone to hate

So I’ve finally got around to the post I promised would be my “next post” three posts ago, back in December! If I were Queen Penelope, what taxes would you be in for, and what could you expect in return?

There’s a mixture of left and right-wing ideas here, hence the title of the post. But here goes, in point form, and without any detailed description:

Taxes:

  • V.A.T. of at least 20%, on all goods and services with no exceptions.
  • Personal tax brackets from 20% to 50%, rising incrementally.
  • Tax credits available as a fixed amount, higher for married people with children under 18, or single parents with children.
  • Payroll taxes levied at the same rates for all, no exceptions.
  • Low corporation tax rate of 15%.
  • Tax on the disposal of financial assets (this one will get a post all of its own and this time I do promise it won’t take four months).
  • Carbon taxes and “sin taxes” maintained at fairly high levels.
  • No capital gains tax.
  • No tax on interest income from investments.

Spending:

  • free education all the way to third level (first degree) studies. Tuition only but with means-tested assistance available for other expenses, with STEM fields receiving higher priority. A form of national service (two to three years, depending on the level of assistance) mandatory after graduating, serving in the field of study. This will be paid, but not at market rates. Some of this may take place in the private sector, with the government paying a portion of the wage.
  • free health care (means tested).
  • income supplement to low income workers with families.
  • unemployment benefit, on the condition that people make themselves available for work in a government program, such as the national service program described above.
  • disability benefit, upon regular assessment by the person’s own doctor, and a state doctor.

So there you have it – the complaints department is located below, in the comments section.

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3 thoughts on “Something for everyone to hate

    • None of this is set in stone, for me. I haven’t done any research on the exact revenue / expenditure effects of any of my suggestions, because, well, I have a life (the birds on the neighbouring school playground don’t chase themselves). I do know that in general the main revenue generators are VAT, payroll taxes and personal taxes. I’m in favour of an economy with high personal and consumption taxes, but with a high level of social expenditure. I want everyone to pay for the benefits they receive however, because if everyone has to pay they will be more inclined to call the government out on wasteful expenditure. This is why I don’t like it when the government sets up all sorts of exemptions on VAT (which complicates a very simple tax), or when people earn an income but pay no tax at all. If it could be shown, through analysis of prior data etc, that a flat rate of tax could sustain the social safety net, then there is no need to have a higher rate of personal tax or indeed means testing on basic health care or education. But if it will make a significant difference, then I would stick with the assumption that 20% of a poor person’s income is worth more to them than 50% of a very wealthy person’s. If I’m not ever in a position where I have to test that assumption, then so much the better.
      Also with regards to means testing, I would want to implement a cap on the expenses that even a wealthy person would be liable to pay, so that nobody is ever faced with crippling health costs. I also don’t think the government should be in competition with the private sector in health care. Here in Ireland we have a lot of problems with our social health system, mostly due to bureaucratic mismanagement. But the basic principle does work; private and public care takes place in the same hospitals, with the same doctors. The state retains doctors to spend a certain amount of their time caring for public patients.

      I don’t understand your third question, what is being hidden? Under my system, a corporation’s income would only be taxed if retained, because there is no tax on dividends to shareholders. Corporation tax would thus be very easy to avoid, but then it always has been.

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