The next UK election was announced last week, as if nobody was expecting this! Even more News programs "dedicated" to the political parties, even more "insight" interviews - be at with the party leaders or political experts - and even more promises, promises and promises in manifestos.
Problem with Governments is - no matter which colour - they have this insatiable habit of taxing those they are supposed to govern. And at the moment all it feels like is that every party is trying to figure out whom to tax more will bring them the most voters.
I've made a small list of all the taxes brought upon us (personal and business tax) by governments past and present (has there ever been a time governments did not tax their people, is that their main purpose?):
- Income tax - because you contribute to the economy by working (and spending your money)
- National Insurance - because you contribute to the economy by working (and spending your money)
- Council tax - because you live (work?) in the area the council governs and spend your money there
- Road tax - to keep the infrastructure going to support the economy (pot-holes anyone?)
- Business Rates - because your business is in the area the council governs and you contribute to the economy by employing locals and spend money there
- Corporation tax - because you contribute to the economy successfully
- VAT - because you contribute to the economy by spending your well-earned money and as business are appointed VAT collection office
- Tax on savings - because you are prudent with your well-earned money to keep contributing to the economy
- Excise tax on various items (on top of which VAT is added!)
- Stamp Duty - because you are contributing to the economy successfully and have been prudent and wise to have saved (tax on that) enough to make a deposit on your own home (home-ownership encouraged by Governments)
- Inheritance Tax - because all your well-earned money and possessions you gathered so prudently are somehow when the time comes not to be passed on to your partner/children without the Government taking (again) their part of your hard work
- And I'm sure a left various taxes out
Makes you wonder. It seems no matter how much you contribute to the local/regional/national economy or how prudent you are during your whole life, the only persistent item is TAX. No doubt a fact known for ages.
The only influence we seem to have on which tax will be bestowed upon us next, is to vote for that party that'll suit our circumstances/interest best. (One problem there though for me and my partner: we are allowed - more than allowed even, if we don't we'll be prosecuted - to pay all those taxes, but due to having the wrong passport we are not allowed to vote for the next UK Government that'll no doubt tax us even more. Just a little side-note for you, nothing you can do about this, I think.)
What makes me wonder most though is why? Why does it seem the main purpose of a Government is to tax us one way or the other (and often twice on the same matter).
Because, you will no doubt tell me, it pays for....... (fill in a multitude of reasons, from schools, hospitals to roads and this or that committee and lets not forget the benefits for others - those out of work or disabled so they cannot contribute to the economy as well as we can and do).
But is that truly so? Can't we just pay for all those items we need when we need them? But not everyone is so prudent to save for later or is able to work, I hear you say; "we have to be fair, we live in a democracy where we share" I know you are thinking.
I know, too much water on the bridge already. Once a ruler/Government starts taxing its population there is no going back to the barter principle (pay as you go/need in which ever means available/acceptable by the other).
But is there? Too much water under the bridge, I mean. No period has seen so many advancements in technology, in medicine, in democracy than the last 15 - 25 years. Why haven't we been able to rule out taxes? Most things are getting smaller, cheaper, more readily available for all. Only tax is getting bigger and more expensive; the divide between poor and rich, between have's and have-not's is getting wider, not closer.
Perhaps I'm wondering about the wrong issue. Perhaps higher tax, more tax is the result of the same principle that allows this divide getting wider. Greed and habit - or should that be the habit of greed?
If we all stopped paying tax, would the world end? If we all started to barter, would the divide grow or would the greed stop?
Taxing thoughts this.