Thursday, March 16, 2006

Pure

Remember Bambi? Remember 1997? Remember the anti-sleaze campaign administered with such great aplomb by Alistair Campbell? And now we have the Labour Party's own Treasurer kept in the dark about a slush fund in excess of four million pounds.

Obviously, this is financial chickenfeed; I mean, anything less than £350,000 pounds is simply noise to a typical Labour Party Cabinet member who assumes the poor drink Cava rather than Champagne, but £4.5 million pounds! Surely even Tessa Jowell and her soon-to-be-reunited-once-the-fuss-is-over husband might baulk at trying to keep that amount out of their Italianate housekeeping accounts.

Hmm. Didn't the Prime Minister's new house cost just under £4 million? I wonder if in some way the two are connected? The corruption is endless and the putrid stench of self-aggrandizement noisome to the gunnels; so what is to be done?

Well, there's two schools of thought here. What should be done is that we move immediately to a Totally Voluntary society, first of all having disposed of the politicians and all of their filth and all of their hangers-on. What will happen, is that this latest Peerages-for-Cash disgrace will induce even more democracy-worshipping morons to suggest that taxpayers should be forced to pay for political parties; so not only will I have to live with idiots like Tony Blair and David Cameron lording it over me, I'll be forced to support them financially too, in their Machiavellian efforts to climb the greasy pole.

So here's the argument: These cretins are a bunch of pilfering self-obsessed poltroons purely in politics for their own personal benefit who can't be trusted an inch with money, and especially with other people's money. The solution to this hideous state of affairs is what, exactly? To make the taxpayer give them lots more money! Err...Que?

Does anybody else spot the flaw in this? You can bet your bottom scheckel that nobody in Westminster will, and few will even in the drunken piss-pots of Fleet Street. In a country where Tessa Jowell can remain in a senior government position, despite being openly bankrolled by the Mafia, and where Tony Blair can buy a house which is around three times what he can afford, all semblance of decency in government, in this country, has simply evaporated.

But isn't it funny that it's happened to Tony Blair, of all people, the Augean Hercules who would clean out the stables. I think it proves the rule that one should always believe exactly the opposite of whatever a politician says about anything. Read my lips. No more corruption.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

AA: "The solution to this hideous state of affairs is what, exactly? To make the taxpayer give them lots more money! Err...Que?"

The solution I favour, is an ammendment to this coming finance act to exempt all state employees from income tax.

The new touchy feelie Tories might table it as a sop to the public sector who's votes they need to buy. The public sector unions will jump at it, recognising as the measure does the special contribution the public sector makes to the life of the country.

It would also have the beneficial effect of driving a huge wedge between those who pay tax and those who spend tax in this country.

Jack Maturin said...

I don't quite get the relevance, but, hey, let's run with it anyway...

...an ammendment to this coming finance act to exempt all state employees from income tax.

But state employees don't pay tax. Yes, there's some nominal fiddling around with numbers on payslips to give the impression that state employees pay tax, but unless they do some private work on the side, nobody who works for the government contributes any cash whatsoever to the government; they only receive cash from the government, or should I say, from those who work in the private sector, via the government's machinery of tax-paying coercion.

The simple question you need to ask of any 'civil servant', is "What would your wages be, next month, if all taxes were abolished?". The answer, is, of course, "Nothing whatsoever." State employees do not pay tax; they do not pay television licences; they do not pay stamp duty; they do not pay alchohol duty; they do not pay ANYTHING to the government. They are net beneficiaries of government subsidy. All the rest is paperwork. This is why those in the public sector - one thinks of Clare Short saying "those of us who are better off should contribute more" - are so keen on tax rises. Because they know that this will quickly be of net benefit directly to themselves in the form of public sector pay rises et al.

I don't know which 'anonymous' you are, as I met one of you a few weeks ago who claimed he wasn't every 'anonymous', but I've laboured the point above just in case.

It would also have the beneficial effect of driving a huge wedge between those who pay tax and those who spend tax in this country.

This is precisely why the system has been engineered to make it appear as if state employees pay tax. If it was obvious to all in the voluntary sector of society that they didn't, a huge wedge would immediately arise, much to the satisfaction of those of use who believe in the totally Voluntary Society. Most people, even rightist friends of mine, currently believe that state employees pay tax, even in the face of the "How much would they earn if all tax was abolished" question above.

It's been a hell of a good trick, this sleight of hand that government workers pay tax. It will continue so long as we live in a coercive Involuntary Society.

If you want a further example, think of two people on a desert island.

One of them works, and collects 100 coconuts a month. He needs 50 coconuts a month just to survive. The other bloke pulls out a gun he rescued from the plane crash, appoints himself as the government, and spends all day watching the first man collect coconuts, allegedly guarding him from Al Qaeda terrorists.

To pay for this 'security', the G-man with the gun demands adequate taxation, of 50%. In other words, he steals 50 coconuts from the first man, every month, at the point of Mao Tse-Tung's gun.

The G-man doesn't want to appear greedy, so he declares that he also is paid 100 coconuts a month, just like the first man, and that he also pays a 50% tax, which if 'fair', just like the first man's level of tax.

So both men earn 100 coconuts a month, both pay 50% tax (of 50 coconuts) and both end up with 50 coconuts a month to survive on.

The trick is, of course, that one coerced-upon man is earning 100 coconuts, and the other coercing man earns nothing, but both appear to earn the same salaries, and both appear to be paying the same rate of tax, for the same 'socially just' net salary of 50 coconuts. Notice, that de jure the total gross wages in the two-man society are 200 coconuts a month, with a 100 coconuts being taken in tax. But
de facto the real total wages are 100 coconuts, with 50 coconuts being taken in tax. The state employee, in our case the man with the gun, appears to pay tax, but in reality, is simply the beneficiary of the entire tax take. It's such a great trick I sometimes have to pinch myself to see through it.

Although your measure to also see through it is an excellent one - i.e. to highlight the fact that state employees don't pay tax - the public sector unions won't be so stupid as to fall for it. If it became obvious that their members are a special class of people who contribute nothing to society except theft from the rest of us, they would last about five minutes; hence all the chicanery described above.

Notice also that if our first man could keep the 50 coconuts taken from him coercively each month, he would be able to set some aside as capital, and then once he had enough savings, he would be able to invest some effort in improving his situation away from bare subsistence. As it is, he has to work all the hours God sends just to maintain a bare level of existence, because of having to maintain on his back this aggressive government leech. He'd be much better off if the criminal leech simply left the island, in some kind of Golgafrincham ark.

What also might be an interesting measure is that all state employees are no longer allowed to vote in elections, as they have a built-in interest in securing ever-bigger government. Labour have spent the last nine years stuffing marginals with useless government offices, filled with useful Labour-voting fodder, and would be severely hamstrung by this. But assuming that the millions of people affected would put up with this disenfranchisement, which is highly unlikely, I'm sure any government worth its salt would still be able to rule over us without any serious challenge to its legitimacy.

Though as with the tax measure, there's not a cat in hell's chance of such a measure ever coming to pass.

Anonymous said...

JM: "But state employees don't pay tax. [snip]..they only receive cash from the government,.."

Which is exactly the point. By the way, thank you, your anecdote "How much would they earn if all tax was abolished" crystilized the issue in my mind.

And just that issue needs to be brought to the attention of those in the private sector who finance the whole kit & kaboodle.

In my opinion, this proposal has more chance of getting through, just because it appeals to the baser instincts of those folks directly concerned - public sector workers. Than, for example your idea of restricting the vote to folks in the private sector. That would be portrayed as an negative 'anti democratic' act. Wheras my suggestion could, as I said earlier be sold to its constituency as a recognition of their unique contribution to society.

JM: "Though as with the tax measure, there's not a cat in hell's chance of such a measure ever coming to pass."

Perhaps, but given Camerons naked desire get into power, he will abandon all and any principles achieve his aim. He needs to appeal to another constituency than long established Tories, many of whome, I get the impression, are already sick to the back teeth of him. That new constituency would be the public sector, he could appeal to then directly through their wallet.

And lastly, the revelance of my suggestion is that it would drive toward a reduction in the size of the state, not because of top down cuts in government expenditure - those are always protrayed as meanness by the, [usually] Tories. But because it would lead to a demand for lesser expenditure from the bottom up, those of the population who actually pay for the government.

In the short term, I doubt the governing class will be any less corrupt, but they would have an aweful lot less public money to be corrupt with, which would lead to it being easier to keep track of just where it is all going. In the long term, I think it would promote a bit more integerity in the government too.

Oh! Sorry for being anonymous, I keep forgetting my blogger id.

Jack Maturin said...

You might want to listen to Lew Rockwell's excellent MP3 on the (sub-Muslim) five pillars of government, which covers a lot of the ground you're currently thinking about:

http://www.mises.org/multimedia/mp3/misescircle2006/MisesCircle-Rockwell.mp3

Pillar 1: The Samaritan State, whose supporters wish to MAKE people pay for the welfare of others, first in the current state they control, and then everywhere (the left-wing socialists)

Pillar 2: The Solomon State, whose supporters want to MAKE everyone obey their laws of government-defined good behaviour, both internal and external to the state (the right-wing socialists)

Pillar 3: The Logrolling State, where each of the groups above tolerates the other, taking it in turns to be the government, to ensure that they get what THEY want when it's their turn, because even though they hate the other side, they would hate a Totally Voluntary state even more

Pillar 4: The Inflation State, where the Logrolling State uses the printing press to finance the Samaritan and Solomonic states, to stop taxpayers feeling the immediate pain of this continually growing spending

Pillar 5: The Propaganda State, where the Logrolling State controls the education process, to gain ideological control of the population, because no state can continue to exist without at least tacit support from its taxpaying population

I think rather than trying to promote ideas which will never get past first base (eg: state employees being disenfranchised, state employees being taken out of income tax), I think we should concentrate on pillars 4 and 5.

Primarily we should get the state out of education, to try to free the minds of the population. Yes, it's a long game to play, but I think our surest road to eventual success. We should also have a go at the Inflation state, and try to get out of our current Fiat currency state. Because if we returned to a hard money (probably gold) standard, the government would be unable to inflate its way to ever-greater spending, and would have to tax us directly to pay for its grandiose plans. We would immediately feel the pain and resist their plans with vehemence.

We can also point out that the Samaritan was a private individual who looked after somebody out of his private income, and that a Solomonic state would be best served by Leviathan not engaging in endless wars to extend Leviathan. Finally, we can continually point out the hypocrisy of the logrolling state, for instance where each major political grouping (the left-wing socialists vs. the right-wing socialists), continually prop each other up and 'take turns' to govern (witness the recent Education Bill spat, with Blair and Cameron). But these last three measures will be as nothing compared to stripping the state out of education, first and foremost, and then stripping it of its ability to inflate. With the current EU 'target', would you believe, of a money supply growth each year of 4.5% (often exceeded by most EU governments), the government can just keep on growing and growing like Topsy. If we shut this down by the use of hard money, we will slam the anchors on this growth. The freed minds of the privately educated will then eventually begin to drag down the monolith, block by laborious block.

(And you thought we on AngloAustria didn't have a plan! :-)

Check out:

Five Ways Government Grows, and What the Mises Institute is Doing About It

esbonio said...

There are arguments for and against the award of honours. I am not that bothered either way but the latent monarchist in me makes me more inclined towards their acceptance. But an honour theoretically awarded by the sovereign as the fount of all honour should be distinct and separate from the right to sit in the upper house of the legislature and / or form part of the executive.

So if we keep the honours system let them remain simply honours and they may be more respected. Of course this issue also tends to beg the question of completing the reform of the House of Lords which Labour has halted since its partial reform was indeed partial and suited them down to the ground.


As for state funding of political parties, no way. As an idea it strikes me as highly repugnant and essentially undemocratic.

Gekko said...

It's interesting that this article should appear now as I was discussing exactly this recently with some 'leech' friends of mine when I was putting the point that they pay no tax. This brought up a subtle distinction (at least from their point of view), but perhaps one that makes the whole charade easier to pass by the unwashed: the state workers do *pay* tax individually, but they don't contribute to the net tax pool. Individually they receive an income, some of which is paid to the state. From their point of view the fact that it came from the state in the first place is irrelevant. When I pointed out that this was simply going through the motions (i.e. your 'paperwork') it was met with disbelief - they were being paid for their efforts just like I was and that a chunk of that pay was being taken from them just like mine was.
Since I suspect most state workers feel similarly, the concept that they don't (in reality) pay any tax is probably not something that will be widely accepted anytime soon - the charade is too well perperated and arguments that their tax payments are state accounting tricks will simply be dismissed, at least at the levels of individual receivers of state larceny.
However, the island example you gave is excellent and I will try that next time - it will be interesting to see whether it has any impact. I'm not hopeful.

Gekko said...

I also pointed out that it would have the same effect on the tax pool if they were simply paid less and paid no personal income taxes. However the point was lost on them when they argued that they had to be paid that much to compete with the private sector.
<*Sigh*>.

Jack Maturin said...

I'm afraid if your parasite friends won't get the "What would you earn if nobody paid any tax, including you?" question, you'll really struggle with the coconuts example; but hey, give it a try. I tried the question tack on a senior MoD civil servant once, and he was of enough good grace to admit that yes, he would earn absolutely nothing if nobody (including him) paid any tax.

The problem is with the human mind. If you're doing something that you believe is good (e.g. promoting anti-capitalism), your mind will throw up barrier after barrier to prevent you from seeing the truth. Because to acknowledge the truth is to deny your initial over-riding belief that socialism is wonderful and that capitalism is evil. And do remember that they've likely been brainwashed for decades, under the Fifth Pillar of the state, but if you challenge them with this they'll deny this too, and hate you for even suggesting that they're capable of being brainwashed.

I wouldn't actually bother wasting your time on those who are already on the dark side, unless you like banging your head against a wall. Instead, concentrate on the ambivalent, on those who are seeking for truth. Look for luke-warm socialists, particularly, asking questions such as "Why does socialism never seem to work? It's a great idea, but it always starts out great (eg: Bambi, 1997), and ends up terrible (eg: Crook Blair, now).

Once we get the ambivalent onto our side, and remove this bodyguard from the hard core, then, and only then, will the the hard core start to question their own idiotic beliefs.

Until then, fuck 'em. Working for the state and believing in it is punishment enough for even the stupidest moron.

Jack Maturin said...

Lew Rockwell's superb article, on the Five Pillars of the State, is also available in text form:

Neither Samaritan Nor Solomon

Julius Blumfeld said...

"These cretins are a bunch of pilfering self-obsessed poltroons purely in politics for their own personal benefit"

They are not the ones that scare me. The ones that scare me are the ones that in politics for the good of the public.