Recently, I’ve been engaged in something of a debate with Citizen Tom, via the comments on a post of mine here. Whilst the post related to immigration (and how the Tories use immigration as a scare tactic and distraction), the comments soon spun off to other, semi-related topics (as comments are want to do).
Tom takes the view that taxation is theft. Whilst I am tempted to examine taxation from a Biblical perspective, a Biblical perspective is not my perspective, so instead, I’ll lay out where I stand.
It should be noted that I obviously do not possess all the answers to the problems of poverty, and I don’t pretend to be an expert in this field. I have only ever presented my opinions and thoughts, and where possible, I’ve backed them up with links and evidence. Among my posts on this subject, we have:
Because I rail against the Tories, and the culture of greed they embody so readily, I am called a socialist. I dare say that some of the people throwing this label at me A: conflate socialism with communism, B: don’t fully understand socialism, and C: are misrepresenting my argument.
At no point have I ever said ‘no one can be rich’. I’ve never argued for taking all of the money made by people like Elon Musk and giving it all away. It does seem that whenever I point out how much money can be raised by a wealth tax, I get accused of wanting to take everything away. I’ve not argued that, yet the misrepresentation continues.
It’s as I said to Tom, if Musk had $50 billion today, and $30 billion tomorrow, but all his employees had much higher wages, is that so bad? Does Musk still get to be filthy-rich? Yes. Do the people working for him get to have less stress and anxiety over how they will pay their bills and rent? Yes. Is that not a win-win?
There’s also the question of how much money can be raised. In many of my linked posts, I reference a National Insurance hike, that would raise £12 billion. A small wealth tax would raise £50 billion. The NI hike hits the working class hard, the wealth tax doesn’t, and the rich still get to be rich, whilst there’s now greater funds available for things like the NHS, policing, education etc. Is that so bad?
Tom might argue (indeed, he has argued) that taxation is theft. Theft from whom, by whom? The reason companies like Amazon are so incredibly wealthy is because of lots of very hard workers at ground level, who aren’t paid what they are worth. They are effectively being robbed, not the other way around. If they get something back because taxes allow for investment in critical infrastructure… that’s not theft.
What alternative means does Tom suggest we turn to in order to have working public services? The US healthcare model sees people go bankrupt over hospital stays. Deregulated safety measures lead to disasters (see the recent train crash in Ohio). Water companies in the UK dump raw sewage into our waters, because it’s more cost effective for them. Private business has its place, but in some areas, the well-being of the public cannot be left to business. Business cannot be trusted to act in public interest, they will always choose profit.
I know I said I wouldn’t examine taxation from a Biblical perspective, but it turns out there are many fascinating quotes on tax, profit, and the sin of greed. I display a couple below. They feel like a good way to finish this post.
1 Timothy 6:10: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Romans 13:7: Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
Tom recently made a post about our discussion, only it was less of a post about the discussion, and instead, a post about liberal democrats. What’s interesting is that Tom says liberal democrats (I wonder if I truly qualify as one of those) don’t answer questions, but instead insist others answer questions. Well, Tom didn’t answer some questions either, so…