The enemy of progress is taking self-defeating action.
Chris, I do enjoy your provocative approach.
If you research the history of land ownership, you'll see that it is not bargaining that you'll find but forceful taking. You are also incorrect about redistribution. The collection of economic rents is 'redistribution' of created wealth by land owners. To collect it and return it to those who created it in the first place, is not 'redistribution' but 'restoration'.
I'd suggest you look into proposals around LVT and LVC. It does not involve the state seizing the land - it would not be necessary or desirable.
Funny comments around the deficit. Would a society based on objectivist principles (in the Rand/Kelley tradition), which has a minimal government, create deficits of the sort we have today? Would it have bailed out failed banks? Or subsidized the car industry? Of course not. So with respect, look again.
Not at all Chris. I am being consistent. My opposition to those who collect unearned income must be well known on these boards by now.
Maybe we should be asking why 70% of the land in this country is owned by 1% of the population.
With 99% of the population having only 30% of the land between them, no wonder land costs are ridiculously high for the masses. It is a virtual monopoly of land ownership. Not only that, but the collection of high economic rents (whether capitalised or not), is driving down wages and interest (as Henry George defines it) especially of the poorest, deterring the very things this country needs most of all - work and enterprise.
A small minority of landowners are free to collect a fortune in economic rent from the land, claiming more unearned income than anyone on benefits. This could be addressed with a single Land Value Tax, or Land Value Covenants, but ironically this remedy is bitterly resisted. The entitlement culture is to blame.
None of the current policy proposals will work. None of the political parties have the balls to confront the land owning elite. In the case of the main parties, it may be hard to distinguish the two groups from one another at times.
Comment on: Taxing questions
Erin, may I suggest you try to show others the same respect and understanding that you believe you deserve. Lead by example.
I don't know your personal circumstances. It may help us to better appreciate your situation if you were to tell us how it is. What have you been doing to increase your earnings? What steps are you taking, or have you considered taking, to better live within your means? How do you spend your benefits now?
I've lived on next to nothing before, and it made me driven to be independent by working harder, going after opportunities etc. Is this something you can relate to?
Comment on: Taxing questions
It'll sort itself out eventually.
"The Sunday Times said Osborne wants private sector money held by pension fund managers and insurance companies to fund the infrastructure programme to boost the recovery.
Nearly a year ago, Alex Morton of Policy Exchange published a response to this question, entitled:
Making housing affordable: A new vision for housing policy
A recent article on the BBC suggests that only 7% of people claiming sickness benefits were unable to do any sort of work. 75% of 1.3 million applicants dropped out or were deemed fit to work:
Posted in: Uncharitable Charitable Housing Association
I agree with Sancho. You signed a lease. You did so voluntarily and were not deceived in any way.
Why dont you sell up and move somewhere you can afford and on terms you agree with. People have to live within their means.
Posted in: PRS investigation seeks views of tenants
Chris - you know why no comments are allowed. It is because the London Assembly, headed up by Labour, is looking to discredit the Conservative mayor. I wonder who will be paying for this exercise.
It is doomed to be unconstructive. The majority of PRS tenants will be happy in their homes, will be blissfully unaware of this political stunt and not voice their opinion. Likely the only contributors will be those who hate PRS, those who love PRS, and those who are motivated by political reasons. I'd say mostly the first and last category.
It will not be objective because the aim is already clear in the stated purpose - to discredit the idea that the PRS provides good quality housing, in prime locations, at a rent which has been agreed to voluntarily by both parties. It will produce propaganda focusing on a few rogue landlords to tar the whole sector, trying to justify claims the mayor has failed, and to justify extra controls and licensing which will not stop the rogue landlords, but will mean politicians can fleece off profits from successful PRS providers to spend on pork-barrelling.
Censoring debate is pretty shameful though. IH should not be proud of itself for blocking comments. I thought we lived in the UK, but its more like a 'democratic republic' these days. How long before this thread is destroyed?
Two points to respond to.
1) by your social evolution comment, I think what you are saying is that people would choose to keep their money and not help anyone. It is a matter of their earnings; my view is they should judge how to spend it and on what. Just because my neighbour is unkind, I do not have any right to take his money so that I can be more kind.
Many people in this country are kind though. For example, the Tsunami appeal saw generous, voluntary giving of support. Look at the latest generosity following the sad death of the marathon runner Claire Squires. Despite high levels of tax, people are generous in their support of charities as it stands now.
2) Charitable donations and tax 'efficiency' - under the system I think we both support - one with a flat % tax rate on earned income only, it would be impossible to engage in this sort of behaviour. Either you would pay Additional Voluntary Tax to support the welfare system, or donate to charities. There would be no tax advantage from donating. You would only donate to charities because you want them to be successful in their purpose.
The rich of the moral fibre you describe have those values of ethics because our system rewards them. We have a system which rewards people for coercing rules in favour of one collective or another. That is one reason why I believe in the primacy of the individual and dislike collectives backed with the force of Government. If you have a system which is premised on respect for the individual rights of every individual, you will not have one that passes laws, regulation, directives, grants, subsidies etc to the benefit of some individuals but to the cost of others. You will instead have a truly laissez-faire capitalism - not the corrupt and mixed economy we have now.
Those with the ethics you describe will find what they once considered to be virtues have now become impractical - because the state would have no power to interfere in the economy (other than perhaps through the money supply and general level of taxation). This would be far more powerful agent of 'social evolution' than all the regulation and compulsion we are faced with now as a restraining jacket.
Chris - of course whenever you change from one system to another there are difficulties. People are notorious for reacting badly to change.
What I am calling for is nothing like the situation which preceded the Poor Laws. I am not calling for a Feudal system, or for most individuals to fear God, or for a reversal of modern technology back to the time when the printing press hadn't been around very long, or for an economy in which there is mass starvation, etc. Now and then are two incomparable periods. We can achieve things now we couldn't over 400 years ago.
It's interesting because the system I propose would enable you to exercise the judgement you arrived at - you could decide to fund the Government using your earnings through Additional Voluntary Taxation to support its Welfare system. Or instead, you could choose how much, if any, to give to private charities - according to whether you judge the money to be well spent or not. Currently you do not even have this choice.
This is why private charities are failing, and the welfare state continues to be the tax funded wrecking machine that it is. There is no choice. Our disposable incomes are being exhausted through taxes (both direct and stealth) and we have no real say. Government workers are spending our money on meeting the social needs they judge are important. I say we individually should be the ones judging what social needs are important to us, and back that judgement up with our own money.
"Does the collapse of Housing Action indicate that relying on charity to meet social need risks failure?"
In a word - no. Any endeavour has a risk of failure - so this does not indicate anything new.
Let's focus on positives - what is likely to make 'private charities' more successful at meeting social need (as defined by individual charities and whoever contributes to funding them)? The Government is actually a large monopolistic competitor to charities meeting social need. Let me explain this.
There are many people who would choose to be benevolent. However, a lot of their income and spending is taxed which reduces the amount left over for supporting charities. Individuals can't opt out of 'Government charity' otherwise known as the welfare system, as tax evasion is considered a crime. Individuals don't have a meaningful say in how their contributions to the welfare system will be spent, meaning they have little involvement in directing what social needs their money will go on. The Government is monopolistic when it comes to meeting social needs - does it have to be?
A lot of talk goes on about how the Government should emulate the private market and be competitive. Why not make it discretionary whether or not individuals fund the welfare system (through 'Additional Voluntary Taxation'), or direct their tax money to charities meeting social needs instead (as judged individually). At the moment, charities are so starved of contributions that they are constantly begging for crumbs from the Government, and there is no good reason why the system must be so.
Give people the choice of which charity to fund, and let them keep more of their earnings so they have the means to act on that choice. I think we would see 'private charities' grow and become very successful, and meet more social needs than are met now. Not that the Government will entertain any withdrawal of its interference into our economic affairs. After all, little people like us are too stupid and incompetent to be trusted with making such decisions - we need high salaried bureaucrats to make them for us... let's challenge this thinking.