Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Property Shock Horror - Cable Weighs Anchor
At last it has happened. A senior politician, respected, regarded as an honest and decent man, well known on TV for his stance on moral issues in politics, has “come out” and admitted to a truth whose name has barely been whispered or hinted at in polite society. It is something that has shocked his class, and all his colleagues to the core, it has horrified everyone, not just those of his peers and background, but in almost every home in the country.
Vince Cable has admitted to a belief in some sort of real property tax. Inevitably, the whole of the London Mediocracy, notorious for the viciousness and violence of its bigotries and prejudices has turned on him almost to a man, woman, or persons of transgender. Will he ever be invited to a dinner party again? Or any other form of party? Will he be jostled and jeered at when he passes by the drunks spilling out of the bars in Parliament as they stagger off to the Divisions? Will the boys of the Bullingdon Club try to throw him into the fountains of Trafalgar Square? Will people in dark suits bawl insults at him in the street? Will gangs of private equity property investors and estate agents gather outside his home to lower its value? Will all those bloggers with second or third homes run endless Youtube Hitler in the bunker spoofs as well as obscene diatribes?
Well, if he has the courage, who am I to stand aside? Yes, people, I too believe that some form of property tax has become inevitable in present conditions, and that the nettle should be grasped. For those who have allergy problems with nettles, read dock leaves. At one time we had “Rates”, a curious way of local authorities raising their funds from the distant past, that had developed so many weaknesses and problems that it had to go. Then, for a brief moment in time around 1990, there was the “Poll Tax”, more properly called “Community Charge”, the inception and structure of which was botched, a capitation tax to avoid the need for taxes on property. The Conservative Government that had bet the house (OK a dreadful pun) on the notion of a Property Owning Democracy, made it impossible for themselves to risk any significant added levies, and this in turn led them into unleashing The City predators on to property to generate revenue by other means. Well, we all know where that led to, and in the USA where the same notions led to the same problems.
Indeed, there are levies at the moment, the Council Tax which is a sort of property tax at local level, but does not provide near enough revenue for local spending. This has serious weaknesses and is heavily loaded in favour of the better off and those at the top end of the property market. There are some transaction charges, but this is dependent on the number and nature of transactions. Pity all those expensive officials in the Treasury did not manage to work out that one, perhaps they were all too busy with their own and helping politicians with their property portfolios.
As for the “difficulty” and “unfairness” (the rich pay more, indeed pay something) this should not be too difficult, around the world are many and various forms of property taxes. If I were to lay off the Fantasy Football and USGS Earthquake listings for a couple of hours, and do some heavy Googling with luck I could knock out a structure by the end of the week, and then mailing round a few reliable people would tidy up most of the details. I am tempted to try. The real problem would be to try to explain it in simple terms to the Treasury, the Bank of England and the London Mediocracy, who will listen only to the foam flecked mouthings of the dogmatic extremists and arm waving threats from all the vested interests involved.
Never mind that most of them might be obliged to pay at least one tax that bore some connection to the extent and nature of their wealth and income.