Friday, May 1, 2009

Suddenly April Was Over

I noticed a message taped to a lamp post in Kfar Saba that simply said Happy May Day. Ah yes, May Day - socialism still lives on in someone's heart!

Given the current economic situation, with all the cash injections, kick-starts, stimulii, whatever, it seems that socialism is making a comeback. It's suddenly ok for governments to Do Something For The People, rather than flog off publicly-owned utilities and enterprises to the highest bidder. Sadly, I think this phase will pass. Once economies start to stabilise, and the rich resume their ever onwards pursuit of becoming even richer, I'm sure that Big Government will once again be regarded as a Bad Thing.

Incidentally, I have zero problem with people being rich - as long as it's genuinely through the fruits of their labour, rather from screwing the less-rich, or from dodgy tax 'avoidance' schemes and the like. And if you're truly rich (in financial terms, let's not touch on spiritual richness just yet), then consider yourself lucky, and pay up the taxes of your country - and stop moaning about it.

There's some kerfuffle in my country of birth (the UK) because people earning over 150,000 pounds a year will have to pay a marginal tax rate of 50% in future. Note - that doesn't mean 50% of their earnings. It simply means that the top chunk of their earnings over a certain level will be taxed at 50%.

The usual whingeing has started: it will drive away talented people, disincentivise people from working hard etc etc. That's fecking bullshit. If someone chooses to leave the UK because of the tax rate, more fool them. Frankly the top earners in the UK financial sector didn't turn out to be particularly talented in any case. Let them take their ineptitude somewhere else. There are plenty of more talented, lower paid people who would love the chance to take up the reins of running companies and organisations.

I well recall the captains of the newly privatised utilities racking up huge pay increases for themselves, on the basis that "we need to retain the best talent" and "these salaries are in line with those paid in the US". Well, get this. The UK is definitely not the US. It's a smaller country, with a population one twentieth that of the States. Lordy, why did we have to blindly follow the Americans?

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