Mansion tax: It always seems to work out that taxing the rich is pointless, doesn’t it?

If this is the politics of envy, you can count me in

Share
Related Topics

The reason, it turns out, we can’t have this Labour proposal of a mansion tax on homes worth over £2m, is that it would cost too much to calculate.

George Osborne has said: “It’s very costly to implement. You have to send inspectors round the country valuing all homes, not just those worth over £2m.”

I suppose that’s right, though in some areas it shouldn’t take all that long. For example, inspectors sent to a council estate in Runcorn ought to get round fairly briskly, unless they’re really diligent and go: “We’d better check inside each flat, in case the kitchen is made of panda fur or the toilet’s been painted by Picasso. I had a mate inspecting a bedsit in Sunderland last week, went in the bedroom and there was the Sphinx. The kids were using it as a slide, took the value up to two million and twenty quid so you never know.”

Maybe other institutions will adopt this attitude, and decide that money isn’t worth collecting as it takes too long to work out how much to charge. Supermarkets will announce that as it’s such a palaver going round every block of cheese and packet of Weetabix thinking of prices and mucking about with bar codes, it’s easier all round if everything was free.

Luckily, it must be far simpler to go round the house of everyone who’s on benefits, and work out if they have a room that isn’t slept in every night, and if so force them to move to somewhere smaller. This means the bedroom tax can be implemented, and that’s bound to raise far more money than the odd shilling that can be afforded by people like Roman Abramovich.

It always seems to work out that taxes on the rich are pointless, because they’ll take their money abroad or find a loophole; or the rich have antique money which you can’t collect because it’s all crumbly; or they might be footballers who will kick their money round the garden so, to get it off them, you’ll need two proven international central defenders whose wages will be more than you’ll collect.

In any case, as one columnist insisted yesterday, a mansion tax is simply “the politics of envy”. So if you feel that the cuts to libraries, services, parks and the disabled ought to be balanced by a tax on the wealthiest, who so far in these times of austerity have had their taxes cut, not only are you economically stupid, you’re committing one of the deadly sins.

It was the same when slaves complained about slavery, or medieval peasants moaned about starving in a ditch while the baron had a nightly banquet, just envy, envy, envy – and where does that get you? 

That’s why the money has to come from the poor, as taking it off them can’t be envy, because no one envies them. 

So we should be grateful to George Osborne. Not only is he helping the economy, he’s saving all our souls.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah ibn Abd al-Aziz Al Saud back in 2010  

The media cannot ignore tricky questions when someone dies. But it must stick to the facts

Will Gore
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us