Why do people like to bash the rich?

The Dark Horse

Well-known Member
An interesting debate on LBC earlier, thought I would pinch the idea and see what people's opinions are.

Official figures show that in 2013-14, 25% highest earners will pay 75% of the total £167billion income tax bill, and the bottom half will pay less than 10%.

When you then factor in the very wealthy are less likely to use public services (private healthcare, private school etc..) and contribute to the economy by purchasing new cars, holidays, maybe charity donations, buying property, employing tradesmen, running businesses that employ people and eating out, therefore actually keeping the wheels turning is it fair Joe Public expect even more from them?

You often hear things like 'the rich just get richer and the poor are getting poorer' but when you look at the figures the rich pay the lions share.

So is it just a case of jealously? The rich are the minority so the masses have someone to point the finger at?
 

tvbox

Distinguished Member
They can get away with daylight robbery if they want - tax dodging, waste of space bankers, MP expenses, but they don't go to prison do they? "They're all in it together".

Yet if the joe public gets the slightest thing wrong when managing their taxes then god help you.

If you don't pay the TV licence you are sent bullying letters and people to your house and threatened to court - yet when the BBC "director generals" do something wrong they sneak out the back door, never mind the 'celebrities' -
A certain BBC 'celebrity' can say something horrible about a former prime minister or people going on strike yet gets away with it after a feigned apology, Or how about leaving offensive messages on somebody else's voicemail? What if your average person said the same?
Wouldn't the police get involved?

When it comes to people doing misdemeanors everybody should be treated fairly. Unfortunately they think that they can throw money at the problem and think that they are exempt from the rules. Sadly it seems to work for them, too. The inequality gap is going out of hand. Nothing wrong with people having more money than others, but why are they treated differently under the eyes of the law?
 
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Desmo

Distinguished Member
And if you spread out the money amongst people, you get just as much tax and just as much being spent, if not more. I'm not anti rich, but I'd certainly like to see the wealth spread a little more evenly.
 

BISHI

Well-known Member
If you want to learn about the history of wealth inequality you should look at this sizeable tome -

Inequality: Capital in the long run | The Economist

- he offers a corrective mechanism by taxing wealth as opposed to income to rebalance distribution. Wealth steadily accumulates and as we have seen concentrates in the hands of fewer and fewer people. This is ok as long as there is sufficient wealth circulating for the general population to feel comfortable and secure, this comfort and security is presently not universally apparent.
 
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captainarchive

Distinguished Member
Taxing wealth will never happen because the rich either hold the levers of power or heavily influence those that do. It's like turkeys voting for christmas
 
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kav

Distinguished Member
The funny thing is, people have this perception of "the rich" that simply doesn't tally with reality. I live in an ordinary 3 bedroom house supporting an ordinary family. I have no savings because my outgoings pretty much match my expenditure each month. I earn good money, but I'm a far cry from being a millionaire. However, I am in the top decile of taxpayers. Of the 25% who pay the most tax, the threshold for people in that 25% probably starts around £45k. Hardly rolling in it, by most people's standards. Millionaires as a whole probably make up less than 3% of all taxpayers.

My point being, when these conversations happen and people are bitching and moaning about "the rich", there's a good chance they're either in that bracket themselves, or not far off it. The 1% who are super-rich tend to skew people's views.
 

BISHI

Well-known Member
It's that 1% that most people are talking about.
 

loz

Well-known Member
It's never black and white.
There are plenty of 'good' rich people whilst equally some are 'bad'.
There are plenty of 'good' poor people whilst equally some are also 'bad'.

For every 'rich' person utilising a tax avoidance scheme, there is a 'poor' person doing a bit of moonlighting and cash in hand jobs. Is one worse than the other for both trying to avoid tax? Are rich people avoiding paying tax somehow worse than poor people doing the same?

For every rich person who exploits the poor by paying them poor wages, there is a poor person exploiting the rich by milking the benefit system.

And if all rich people are supposedly avoiding paying tax in every way they can, how come it is them who are still paying 75% of our tax bill?

Meanwhile the UK shadow economy is estimated to be £150b per annum. So no shortage of tax avoidance there either by the lower paid who are more likely to work in the informal sector.

I think it is largely jealousy. How many poor people who won the lottery gave it all away to other poor people, vs how many went straight out and bought a fast car and a big house, and immediately took tax accountants advice on how to avoid inheritance tax on the share of the winnings they gave to their kids, or to find out what was the most tax efficient way to invest their winnings? I would wager nearly all did the later. Demonstrating it's largely jealousy because given the opportunity they simply would do the same as every other 'rich' person they previously bashed for doing it.
 

captainarchive

Distinguished Member
For every 'rich' person utilising a tax avoidance scheme, there is a 'poor' person doing a bit of moonlighting and cash in hand jobs. Is one worse than the other for both trying to avoid tax? Are rich people avoiding paying tax somehow worse than poor people doing the same?
I would say a rich person avoiding tax because of greed is worse than a poor person avoiding tax because they live in poverty.
 

Foebane72

Well-known Member
The OP must be dense, he clearly hasn't factored the all-new punitive British Welfare System that has the primary goal of grinding the nation's poorest into the ground before kicking them out of their homes via benefit sanctions and WCAs, etc.
 

The Dark Horse

Well-known Member
The OP must be dense, he clearly hasn't factored the all-new punitive British Welfare System that has the primary goal of grinding the nation's poorest into the ground before kicking them out of their homes via benefit sanctions and WCAs, etc.
Hold on, no need to call me dense. As I said in my post I was repeating a debate that was on the radio, this is a forum to discuss isn't it?
 
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The Dark Horse

Well-known Member
Its interesting that some arguments point to tax avoidance and MPs. The problem with these is tax avoidance on the whole is legal, maybe morally wrong in some peoples eyes but legal nonetheless. Also with MP's the lines get blurred as many of the expenses they are entitled to claim for. To claim that the rich just get away with fraud just isn't true, there were MPs jailed for 'illegal' expenses claims.

It sort of drags the topic off course as its about the amount of income tax paid in the UK, something the vast majority of is paid by the wealthier groups.

In 2013-14 the top 1% of earners (those on £160,000+ a year) paid a third of all income tax. As said before these are the very people probably less likely to use the NHS and state schools and more likely to keep the economy turning through car, holiday, home buying etc...
 

kav

Distinguished Member
Tax avoidance is immoral? I hope anyone who thinks that way has never had an ISA or utilised any other form of tax avoidance. Wait, let me guess: it's only immoral when rich people do it.
 

lostinspace

Well-known Member
Isn't there a difference between a government manufactured scheme like an ISA and exploiting an unclosed loophole, possibly by paying accountants to find holes in the system?
 

Bill Hicks

Banned
The rich can afford to pay for high flying accountants who know how to play the game and use loopholes to avoid tax. Most of us can't and probably wouldn't even think of doing so. The rich have the money to pay expensive legal bills and therefore can take on litigation against whoever they feel has served them wrong. Most of us cannot do this. I agree completely with some of the above posts that Britain's poorest are now the scapegoats of the country, with wealthy politicians laying the blame of all our ills squarely on their shoulders. You have to ask yourself this, the poor have no power unlike the rich, so is a nation's problems be it economic or political the result of those in power, not those who have none.
 

Bill Hicks

Banned
No. If I was that wealthy and I did not want to pay my way and contribute towards the UK I would take my capital and relocate to another country that has a lower tax threshold. Either stay here and pay your taxes fully or piss off somewhere else is my attitude.
 

Doug the D

Member
Of the 25% who pay the most tax, the threshold for people in that 25% probably starts around £45k. Hardly rolling in it, by most people's standards. Millionaires as a whole probably make up less than 3% of all taxpayers.

My point being, when these conversations happen and people are bitching and moaning about "the rich", there's a good chance they're either in that bracket themselves, or not far off it. The 1% who are super-rich tend to skew people's views.
I personally think that 'by most people's standards', £45k is 'rolling in it'. I earn £25,000 as a telecoms engineer. I'm considered as fairly expert in what I do, and the actual job that I do at the moment is only currently done by around 20 people in the UK. Now, whilst I may whinge about my job (as do many people!) I do accept that I'm doing it because I choose to. It pays my bills, and is OK for the most part.

I'm not 'anti-rich' at all, but I do think that there is still a huge divide in opinion on this subject. I know a couple of very wealthy people in my social circle, and the only reason that I know that they are wealthy is due to gossip, or idle chit-chat, not because they walk around like Lord of the Manor, looking down their noses at the paupers. I also do completely agree with the whole 'tax dodge' feeling on this thread, if I could save myself a couple hundred quid a month by filling out a form, and paying an accountant to do some 'creative accounting', would I do it? You bet your sweet ass I would :) It's not only the behaviour of a rich person to want to pay a little less to 'the man' is it?
 

The Dark Horse

Well-known Member
No. If I was that wealthy and I did not want to pay my way and contribute towards the UK I would take my capital and relocate to another country that has a lower tax threshold. Either stay here and pay your taxes fully or pee off somewhere else is my attitude.
No I meant in your current situation, if you were shown how to claim extra money or avoid tax legally would you say no?
 
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Ruperts slippers

Distinguished Member
The tax breaks are put in place to help the business take root, grow and then flourish by enabling them to reinvest their capital back into the venture..
 

loz

Well-known Member
No. If I was that wealthy and I did not want to pay my way and contribute towards the UK I would take my capital and relocate to another country that has a lower tax threshold. Either stay here and pay your taxes fully or pee off somewhere else is my attitude.
And you would apply the same attitude to the non-rich avoiding tax in the £150b informal economy as well I assume?

Never paid someone cash in hand for a small job?
 

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