Thursday, October 11, 2007

[inheritance tax] exemplifies the political divide

Iain Dale mentioned Michael Crick's question to Broon:

Do you agree that the Tory proposals on Inheritance Tax are popular and will you steal them?

JRD put the Labour point of view:

[The Tory Plan] does nothing for social cohesion, or helping the least well off. It is cynically designed to appeal to the Daily Express reading Middle Englanders who must make up an increasing proportion of their support.

Dizzy wrote of the three card trick being pulled:

Darling "doubles" the threshold for married couples to £600,000.

All of this is well and fine but Matt Sinclair gets down to the iniquitous nature of the tax itself:

Inheritance Tax is a particularly egregious attack on the interests of those who die because it strikes not only at the financial security they wish to provide for those left behind but also at the home that they all shared.

The family home is a crucial part of the stability that many people, when considering their own deaths, would want their family to be able to maintain for as long as they felt it necessary.

A tax bill of tens of thousands of pounds that forces them into a hasty sale of their home and the fresh trauma of relocation is an alarming prospect to anyone considering the fate of those they care about.

Amen to that.

At the risk of rehashing tired old fundamentals on an issue which only realizes the government less than 1% a year anyway, Inheritance Tax or Estate Tax is simply an abomination on the face of the earth and not only that but it perfectly exemplifies the left-right divide in theoretical politics:

There are the majority who work as best they can and take what opportunities arise, fall back, go forward again, marry, have a family and slowly build a nest egg. Some have huge nest eggs and most average.

Along comes someone else and swipes half of it to become a drop in the ocean of bloated governmental wastage and the people who actually put in the hard work lose.

This is iniquity. This is institutionalized greed. This is the easy and casual way one section of our society greedily eyes the fruits of other people's labours and wants it redistributed to themselves. If they went and took it at gunpoint, they'd be in prison so they let the government do it for them.

It's not redistibution to the needy at all - it's redistribution to the lazy, the complainers, the moaners, the sit on your butt and do nothings. The truly needy - pensioners and the mentally ill - they need and absolutely should receive government patronage and on a far grander scale than now. Once the free handouts to freeloaders ceases, that money can then go to the truly needy.

And what of the newly dispossessed? For a start, they're not dispossessed - it's just the unwarranted largesse which has stopped. For them there are Grameen style opportunities which do exist if one only looks.

I personally have been unemployed and received government largesse for about two months whilst job interview after job interview came to nothing and all of it was cutting huge swathes through my available cash.

In this situation there is a lot of free time. It should be used for strategic planning, for putting irons in the fire, for thinking laterally and keeping oneself presentable.

In the end, energy, drive and a certain amount of rationality will win out, provided you have presented yourself widely enough and though you feel like screaming and ending it all, you maintain your pleasant visage of employability and one day the odds fall your way.

They always do. [Also helps to put your faith in the Lord but most will ignore this aside.]

The employable will be employed and go from job to job with the occasional hiatus. The unemployable won't do anything about it until they have to. I've lived next door to these people and I know them for what they are.

Regular readers can make up their own minds whether I'm a cruel man or no but I assert that this is not cruelty - it is helping people help themselves.

As for Inheritance Tax - it falls squarely into the category of grand theft from the resourceful, followed by unwarranted largesse to the wrong people with the wrong attitude.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to be O/T.

If you value your life, your freedom, - your everything, well, - - you better read this!

Longrider said...

Absolutely spot on. IHT is nothing more than grave robbing. At a time when a family is vulnerable, having lost one of their own, they are forced to sell the family home or take out a mortgage (that they may not be able to afford) to give to the government so that civil servants can piss it away on whatever facile scheme takes their fancy. It is, without doubt, the most morally reprehensible tax imaginable.

Sir Philip Johnston-Higham said...

It's a pity anonymous commented as "anonymous". Clicking on the link brings you to Parker Joseph.

It's also a pity that the hard information and sources are not listed more accessibly.

My own info confirms that this is happening but people are going to need hard data to convince them.

There is hard data and it needs collating and presenting in a list.

JRD168 said...

I don't think I represent the Labour leadership's opinion given events of the last day or two! I'm sure though that there are many in the party and elsewhere who would be willing to put the moral case.

Here's Will Hutton in the Observer for one:,,2185511,00.html

jmb said...

Fortunately we don't have inheritance tax in Canada and somehow we manage. I think it a perfectly ridiculous tax, since in a way its double taxation.
Here we take our after tax money and invest it on property or stocks or bonds or whatever and then we pay income tax and capital gains tax on everything except our principal residence.

It seems to me, the rich always know how to get around paying these taxes on the whole anyway and they admit in Britain that hardly anyone pays it. It probably costs as much to collect it as they gather in if the truth is known.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Well, some of us have never inherited anything nor ever will so I regard this policy of raising the threshold for IHT or whatever the correct terminology is as just giving, again, to those who have. If I had loads of money I wouldn't mind paying the tax on it.

Agree, though, that the "truly needy" are nearly always left out.

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