Toynbee's twisted logic

Posted by Christie Malry on December 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm

She's finally lost it.

To save you having to read the full article, the gist of it is "Because of tax avoidance, we should ban the Big 4 from auditing".

Read elsewhere 2 August 2012

Posted by Christie Malry on August 2, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Alice Perry thinks it's so totally unfair that people who went to private schools are overrepresented among Britain's medal winners. I find the complete kicking this loopy idea got on Twitter heartening. I find it even more heartening that the general public really don't seem to give a shit about where our medal winners went to school. They're just happy to see them succeed against the best in the world.

What's the value of an arts degree? I have one and I ended up an accountant. This interesting blog post looks at other arts graduates and tries to determine what the point of arts degrees is.

Andrew Gibson rips apart Polly Toynbee's revisionist approach to political history. Many of the events she attributes to the "left" were actually instigated by Conservatives. I don't particularly like this kind of petty point-scoring. But, if you're going to do it, you need to get it right.

FullFact confirms that pensioners do indeed lose 29% of their income in tax. Ouch!

Charity questions for Polly

Posted by Christie Malry on April 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Every pound in the tin for the Japan Animal Welfare Society or the Odinist Fellowship attracts 25% extra from the Treasuury, but why?Charity is a precious expression of public goodwill and concern for others, a wellspring of innovation and a beacon for better ways to provide public services. Societies without a voluntary sector or the charitable impulse are grim indeed. But it's not clear why tax relief for the wealthy is a necessary ingredient.

Polly. When you give to charity, do you tick the Gift Aid box? Because it would be rank hypocrisy indeed if you could decide that your chosen charities get Gift Aid while you scoff at other charities.
And would you kindly tell us which of the three statements is true?

1. You don't give to charity.
2. You give to charity but don't reclaim higher rate tax on your donations through your tax return.
3. You give to charity and do reclaim higher rate tax through your tax return.

You've already made it abundantly clear before that you don't voluntarily gift money to HM Treasury, because you believe other people should be forced to first. So I jolly well hope you do give to charity because otherwise you're spending your huge earnings all on yourself. Which would be incredibly selfish and greedy for someone who makes their highly paid living from hectoring others about their selfishness and greed.

If you do give to charity, it would be a pity for you to reclaim a tax refund that you don't think is deserved. So I'm sure you'll have no trouble clearing this up for me. A good way for you to do that would be to release your most recent tax return, because you seem to think rich people should be forced to do that.

I'm sure you've got nothing to hide so there can be nothing to fear. How about it, Polly?

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Transparency, Polly style

Posted by Christie Malry on April 10, 2012 at 6:53 am

Polly, it seems, has joined the tax transparency bandwagon:

The tax and finances of every citizen must be open to public scrutiny

And what does she mean by that?

Personal statement, to get in early: I have always advocated total tax transparency, and like George Monbiot, I am open about my own earnings: I was even asked about it by a parliamentary select committee so it’s on the record. Last year my Guardian pay was around £115,000. I have never had any kind of company, and I have always paid PAYE as an employee. I would welcome all journalists agreeing to transparency, especially those writing about the earnings of others.

That's not transparent at all. "About" £115,000? And where's the information on other sources of income? Where's the information on tax?

Polly's statement is completely and utterly useless. It tells us nothing about her personal finances other than - as we already knew - she is the 1%. Contrast to Monbiot's statement, which details all sources of income (it doesn't cover tax, as that isn't something he happens to be campaigning for at the moment).

For a journalist to campaign for others to disclose their personal tax affairs, while categorically failing to do so herself, is really extraordinary. How are we to know that she isn't entering into some clever tax schemes?

Ritchie on error

Posted by Christie Malry on March 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Polly Toynbee is willing to stick her neck out. That’s why I admire her. I admire her motives. And courage.

And of course she gets it wrong sometimes. We all do. Prediction is very, difficult, especially if it’s about the future as Nils Bohr, the nobel physicist, once said.

That's not good enough, I'm afraid. Yes, everyone gets it wrong sometimes. But, given that, shouldn't all serious commentators be open to criticism and to changing their ideas when new facts are brought to light or errors in their reasoning are exposed?

You know, in precisely the way Ritchie never does? Instead of accepting his own errors, he prefers to bully, block and censor.

Oh, and it's funny that he chose a quote where there's a fair chance he's wrong about who originally said it.

Quote of the day: More Ritchiebollocks on pensions

Posted by Christie Malry on November 30, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Thanks to Shot_fox for making it happen...

George Brown? o_O

I suppose this means that George Osborne can always shrug off idiotic accusations of class war by claiming that he's just changing tax laws.

Prove it, Prem

Posted by Christie Malry on November 10, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Prem Sikka would like to see the tax returns of people who earn above-average incomes:

First, the impulse of wealthy elites and large corporations to opt out of the tax-paying obligation needs to be checked by public scrutiny. As part of this, the tax returns of individuals with above-average annual income should be made publicly available. The tax returns of all UK registered corporations, together with details of tax avoidance schemes, should also be public.

Tax is the price that we pay for democracy, social rights and a civilised society. Our contribution towards that should be a matter of public record. The public availability of tax returns would enable citizens to alert, analyse and inform regulators of dubious practices and demand action.

A professor in accounting who also writes for a national newspaper must surely be earning an above-average income.

So, Prem, if this is such a great idea, why don't you start the ball rolling by publishing your own tax return? 

While you're at it, why not convince your fellow tax campaigner and high earner Richard Murphy to join you on your quest? And see if you can't convince Polly "We are the 1%" Toynbee to take part too?

There's no need to wait for regulation to force you to do it. Show the rest of us how easy it is, and how you have no qualms about making the personal information on your tax return public. Or stop making unreasonable demands of others that you're clearly unwilling to undertake yourself.

Where are Britain's philanthropic rich?

Posted by Christie Malry on August 27, 2011 at 11:01 am

After Warren Buffett said that he thought he should be required to pay more tax, and 16 French billionaires called upon President Sarkozy to charge more tax on the super-rich (which he did), it was inevitable that UK lefties would eventually jump on this bandwagon.

If only Sir Ronald would instead rally the rich to pay all their taxes; with no avoidance he would raise far more than his bonds ever will. He might galvanise them to support wealth taxes earmarked for social programmes. He could shame the Philip Green and Lewis Hamilton tax avoiders. Here's what David Cameron said about rioters: "The root cause of this mindless selfishness is the same thing I have spoken about for years: it is a complete lack of responsibility in parts of our society. People allowed to feel that the world owes them something, that their rights outweigh their responsibilities and that their actions do not have consequences."

Just so, but Britain lacks a Buffett or a Bettencourt to bring the rich back into the responsible society, to reel in their soaring separation from the rest.

What a load of unrestrained Toynbee toss.

Mere days after Buffett said he wanted to pay more tax, what did he do? He sunk $5bn of his company's money in shares in Bank of America, making a tidy paper profit on day one. Why did he do this, when he could have put his money where his mouth is and written a cheque to the US Treasury instead?

And let's look at the terms of the Sarkozy 'soak the rich' deal:

The next day Prime Minister François Fillon proposed a new 3% levy on incomes that exceed €500,000 ($722,400).

The French deal is also temporary, and will expire once the French budget deficit is reduced to 3% or less. Compare that to the terms of the UK's 'soak the rich' deal, which is already in place, under which:

  • there is a 10% levy on incomes that exceed £150,000 (€170,000) - about 1/3 of what the French consider "super rich".
  • the UK levy is 10% - over 3 times higher than what the French consider an appropriate contribution for the super rich.
  • the UK package was accompanied by other tax increases for their "super rich", including a phased removal of the personal allowance for incomes over £100,000.
  • the UK levy is also indefinite. While there are debates on both sides about whether it should continue, it has no sunset clause.

So while Toynbee relaxes in her foreign villa and bashes out her article, she completely ignores the fact that the UK has already asked many more high earners to pay much more tax, and intends to do so indefinitely. It's a total lie to say that the UK's rich aren't contributing. It's not just the super rich, we've already asked many many more people to contribute far more tax than Warren Buffett or Liliane Bettencourt would ever be prepared to contemplate.

Toynbee's idea of fairness

Posted by Christie Malry on November 1, 2010 at 9:42 am

There was a curious slot on the Today programme on Friday which saw Tim Montgomerie and Polly Toynbee discuss whether it's right for the Conservatives to be vilified so strongly in the press.  Is it right to describe their housing benefit proposals as 'social cleansing', for instance? [answer: hell, no].

Strangest of all was Toynbee's statement about benefits.  She said that it's okay to offer benefits to new claimants on a less generous basis so long as you don't reduce the generosity of the benefits made to any current claimant.  This would appear to encapsulate Toynbee's idea of fairness, in that you look after people who need looking after.

But there's a very dark side to Toynbee's creed.  She's basically saying that she wants a very unfair system.  One that sucks taxpayers money up irrespective of whether it is to fulfil the poor's needs.  One that is happy to pay people who might need the money much less in order that those who don't need the money can continue to enjoy their benefits.  What she describes is almost the complete opposite of what a well-designed benefits system is supposed to do.

Yet this puffed-up bearded crone has the temerity to lecture private sector workers on how they need to pay more tax to support her vision and that anyone who supports the party best placed to fix this mess is 'nasty'.

So says the woman who likened coalition policy to the 'final solution'.  Is there nobody at The Guardian who reads her wretched articles and suggests that she might wish to make one or two minor corrections?