The BBC is one of the things I most like about the UK. However, it has not been having a good run recently and its decision recently to put Russell Brand on its Question Time political/topical debating programme left me incredulous. I do not pay my licence fee for the BBC to help promote a thoughtless idiot.
Nevertheless, it turned out to have a use, due to the conversation which happened with panel Chair David Dimbleby roughly as below:
Brand: “Yeah, I’d gladly pay more taxes.”
Dimbleby: “You’d pay more taxes to the current government would you?”
Brand: “Well no, not to the current government because they’d waste it!”
And therein lies the rub! A super-rich person, trying to be “cool” and pretend to the trendy lefties that he would be happy to pay more tax, is instantly forced to admit that actually he wouldn’t even though he has more money than most of us would know what to do with. And you know what, we’d all be like him.
Most of us believe there should be more money for government spending, but we also believe we’d know better than the government how to spend it… and thus, regardless of how wealthy we are, we react angrily whenever the government actually asks us for it!
So before we enter any economic debate in future, can we at least start by being honest? Higher government spending means higher taxes. Yet none of us is prepared to pay higher taxes (not even the super-rich like Russell Brand when he’s really pushed, despite trying to be a trendy lefty) so that is not an option. Now, let the real economic debate commence…