Tuesday 20 November 2012

Mansion? What mansion?

Charles Dickens had Mr Micawber say, "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." Decent parents tell their children that if they work very hard at school, they can get a good job, save up their money and buy a nice house to live in.

In anything like a civilised society you work, you pay the tax you have to, you live within your means and you save what you can. Then you get to do what you want with what's left after you have already paid your share. Pretty soon, you learn that the harder you work, the more you pay, but even that is bearable if, at the end, with a few sacrifices along the way, you get to lead a comfortable retirement.

Unlike some parts of the world  nobody is going to fire rockets at you, or shoot you, or drive you from your home with pitchforks and fire. We used to use the phrase, "An Englishman's home is his castle". Not any more, it seems. Because, once again, having run out of other people's money, the spectre of a mansion tax has raised its ugly, spiteful head.

If anything epitomises the politics of envy that is the main plank of Socialism this is surely it. The thrifty, working, middle classes pay and pay and pay. But they also take less; they tend to use less in terms of public services such as transport, health, education and legal aid. They cost the police and the courts system less because they behave. All in all it's this so-called 'squeezed middle' that bears the brunt; being penalised yet again, in order to cover the endless costs of the huddled, ignorant masses that teem and breed like vermin.

The mansion tax principle is nothing less than state-sponsored theft. To extract yet more from those good citizens who have strived to better themselves; who may be just as cash-strapped as those who have squandered - are they now to be punished for their thrift? Vince Cable said: "There needs to be a sense of fairness, and these best-off people in society have got to contribute more.

No, Vince, no. It's not fair. They have already contributed far more than is fair. You've already extracted all the tax you were due or were able to. The tax system is far too complicated and every change delivers yet more legal opportunities to opt out of paying. The tax credit system is ludicrous - take with one hand and appear to give back with another? Isn't it about time the government took responsibility and sorted that out?

Mr Micawber also said "something will turn up". I can only hope he's right... and that it's the next flight out of here.

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