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September 26, 2012

Comments

Anna

You can only confiscate the wealth that exists at a given moment. You cannot confiscate future wealth - and that future wealth is less likely to be produced when people see that it is going to be confiscated.

Lefties are only interested in the confiscation part. See Peter Tatchell in the New Statesman.

What happens next is someone else's problem.

David

Anna,

“What happens next is someone else’s problem.”

Yes, I saw the Tatchell piece. Peter Risdon is trying to explain some of the more obvious problems to Mr Tatchell and his admirers.

AC1

Actually you should shift taxation away from taxing comparative advantage (Income, Saving, Investment, sales, employment) and onto things the state creates, such and land entitlements, patents and copyrights.

David

“What happens next is someone else’s problem.”

Peter Tatchell seems to think that arbitrary and retrospective taxation is the way to “rebalance” the economy and allow an overbearing state to go on spending way beyond its means, thus ensuring the problem at hand arises all over again. The practical effects of his ‘solution’ would be ruinous to millions, be morally outrageous, prompt mass emigration and leave the UK an investment wasteland for years, maybe decades to come. But hey, it’s a Big Socialist Gesture To Screw Those Evil Rich People. And for some, that’s what matters. “Finer minds than mine can work out the precise details,” says Mr Tatchell without a flicker of irony.

Franklin

"Finer minds than mine can work out the precise details."

Fiscal liberalism lives in the ideals and dies in the details. No one would argue that, purely in theory, it would be nice if everyone had the best health care, if no one was poor, and if everyone, no matter how compromised their position in the cosmos, had an open path to a better future. But folly and iniquity appear exactly when you try to work out the precise details for attaining these lofty ideals.

For instance, liberals often complain about income inequality. Just try to pin them down as to what constitutes an unfair distribution of wealth, and not just "It's not right when one man has gold-plated faucets and another can't feed his family from working a full-time job," but actual specifics that could be translated into law. They have no answers because there are none.

David

Franklin,

It’s almost as if these people don’t quite grasp the concepts of incentives and consequences. As Anna pointed out, there’s apparently no thought given to what happens after the people being targeted have responded to these authoritarian measures. Say, by moving their wealth, leaving the country, laying off staff or simply going bust. What happens then? When no-one wants to invest here, when enterprise and risk have been discouraged, when the middle class has been punished for being middle class, where does the next round of redistribution come from?

Still, Mr Tatchell and his supporters have done us all a favour, albeit unwittingly. I mean, it’s easy to forget that these people would be dangerous if given the power they want.

sk60

According to Peter Tatchell my parents are "mega rich". That will be news to them. They'll be able to buy a new car.

David Gillies

The reasons why a wealth tax, in addition to being iniquitous, would be utterly unworkable have been hashed out many times, but just to recap: in order to raise money through liquidation of assets, there has to be a buyer of those assets. Who? If a market is oversupplied with a good then its price will fall until the market clears. This is not even redistribution of wealth via confiscation. It is wealth destruction, pure and simple. At the end of the process the 'wealthy' will have lost some percentage of their property, but that property will not have been reapportioned to the less well-off in any meaningful sense. This is of course the real aim of the scheme: not to make poor people richer but to make rich people poorer. Of course, as with so much Leftist cant in this area, it reeks of question begging. My having gold-plated taps or a collection of Aston Martins is the not the cause of your being poor, either proximate or indirect, and there is no moral onus on me as a result.

As an aside, I notice either Tatchell or the New Statesman subs are too thick to know how to spell Jackson Pollock.

rabbit

"Catering to students’ colossal self-involvement is a full-time job. For at least 18 people. At one university."

The real cost to the university is likely enormous.

Apart from these 18 people, the bureaucratic load on the rest of the faculty is increased substantially due to the reports and extra procedures they must undergo. Everything costs more as the entire university performs the "diversity shuffle".

carbon based lifeform

in order to raise money through liquidation of assets, there has to be a buyer of those assets. Who? …This is not even redistribution of wealth via confiscation. It is wealth destruction, pure and simple.

If everyone's worse off and they're in power it still counts as a success (for them). #socialistmaths

tolkein

Who will buy the assets?

Who bought the confiscated assets of the Church in the French Revolution? The peasantry? The nobility? The bourgeousie, or rather, the anti-clerical equivalent of the Bolshevik nomenklatura. That the assets didn't raise what was promised? Who cares? The anti-clerical bourgeosie got the assets at a knock down price. That will be the real object of the neo-Bolsheviks. Or, in the progressive Left's favourite world, the State will own the assets, which then 'lets' the properties, rather like the dachas ringing Moscow, to the new elite.

Stuck-Record

David Gillies and Tolkein,

That question is the one that's always met with a deathly silence by my leftist friends and family, namely: 'What next?'

The Bill Whittle video 'Eat the Rich' tells you.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=661pi6K-8WQ
It should be obligatory viewing. But I expect most leftists would just shrug, a la Tatchell, and say, "At least it would be fairer."

Yes. Everyone having nothing is much much 'fairer'.

the wolf

Yes. Everyone having nothing is much much 'fairer'.

Because they value this concept of 'fairness' much more than they value freedom. They value the concept of comfort more than they value freedom. At the very least, they falsely believe that fairness and comfort can coexist with freedom, but they cannot. Freedom can sometimes result in undesired outcomes, in the short term, but surrendering that freedom so that government can deliver fairness and comfort will always result in a bad outcome in perpetuity, while government fails to deliver either.

David

Stuck-Record,

“Yes. Everyone having nothing is much, much ‘fairer’.”

A sceptical soul might wonder if it were even about fairness, even fairness so defined. To quote Sowell again, “When politicians say, ‘spread the wealth,’ translate that as ‘concentrate the power,’ because that is the only way they can spread the wealth.”

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