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Do some people not realise that the money that governments have to pay for things comes from taxes?

(88 Posts)
Thedogshow Wed 15-Apr-20 22:35:59

I keep hearing people say things along the lines of ‘letting people die so that people can go shopping’ and ‘so that rich people can get more money’ etc. As if the other option would be to just chill out forever at home, get paid by the government and wait until this mythical time when we are ‘safe’ from coronavirus.
But the NHS, universal credit, all social care etc is paid for by money that is obtained by the government from income tax, corporation taxes, duties on alcohol etc. The alternative is to borrow more money from countries like China.
Surely they understand this?
If all businesses are shut and no one is earning the government will quickly run out of money. If lots of big businesses go bust it is catastrophic for the country. If banks go bust everyone loses everything. It makes the UK extremely vulnerable. And domestically, so, so many jobs will be lost, both in the private and public sector.
It is pretty important. Wanting the economy not to tank is not greed, it’s essential to protect the whole of society.
Nothing comes from nothing.

OP’s posts: |
TrainspottingWelsh Wed 15-Apr-20 22:46:05

I agree. Plenty with no idea how the economy works and the consequences when it doesn't. I'd like to say they are all people that could contribute but don't so they don't realise what happens when we all take their path, but that's not the case.

StealthPolarBear Wed 15-Apr-20 22:49:46

Prioritising money over lives
Forgetting that people die and suffer from economic downturn too
I keep seeing people saying they won't do x, y or z until the risk is zero. I don't honestly know how these people function in the world.

OnlyFoolsnMothers Wed 15-Apr-20 22:52:07

Agreed - I’m a little fed up of being told it’s the economy vs lives.
Nope it’s lives vs lives!

Thelnebriati Wed 15-Apr-20 22:53:40

I think they do realise, but they are upset by the fact that people are going to die. For them, thats the main consideration.

But your scenario where that all the govt income has stopped is equally simplistic. Essential business are still manufacturing and trading and paying tax, people on furlough are still paying income tax, VAT is still being collected on purchases, and alcohol is still on sale.

Think of it as enhanced austerity, and let people have the space to come to terms with the reality of a pandemic.

BovaryX Wed 15-Apr-20 22:54:18

^But the NHS, universal credit, all social care etc is paid for by money that is obtained by the government from income tax, corporation taxes, duties on alcohol etc. The alternative is to borrow more money from countries like China.
Surely they understand this?^

Many people appear to think that 'austerity' was just imposed on the random whim of evil Tories. The fact that this enforced economic paralysis is going to add 150 billion to the existing debt mountain? No problem. The answer is to print more money. After all. What could go wrong?

AnxiousElephant77 Wed 15-Apr-20 22:56:13

Completely agree with this and frankly I'm surprised more people aren't saying it!

Fatted Wed 15-Apr-20 22:58:36

Nah, it comes from the magical money tree doesn't it?!

nancy75 Wed 15-Apr-20 23:03:37

Personally I think the answer is to get Philip Green, Richard Branson & stelios to pay their own staff & to get the likes of Amazon to pay a Fair amount of tax.
Tax exiles going cap in hand to a govt they don’t pay into gets my goat a little.

BlackWhitePurple Wed 15-Apr-20 23:10:41

I must confess, I don't fully understand why 'they' can't just print more money. I understand it in normal times, but this is an emergency. Why not just give us a couple of grand each for a month? They don't even have to print it, just add it to bank accounts.

I do understand that that's not how it works, though, and that the money will have to be repaid through taxes. I'm self-employed, and could easily have claimed money from the government scheme, but I can't honestly say that I've lost work due to this, so that would be stealing. SIL couldn't understand why I wouldn't just "claim a grand or so.

Thelnebriati Wed 15-Apr-20 23:11:10

The national debt has increased under austerity, while money has been spaffed up the wall on ferry companies that have no ferries, doing up the family mansion for the haunted Victorian pencil, and tests for Covid that give a false positive for the common cold.

hettie Wed 15-Apr-20 23:11:39

Actually, it's not 'taxes' .... Nor 'borrowing from China' Well not in entirety and not for all costs. The bank of England is giving government the money. Government bonds are still seen as 'safe'. Some of this will be debt not 'running costs' or deficit. BBC description here www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25944653
How we pay off debt (at what rate, or even if we need to proritise it) is hotly contested. That's before we get into the various quantative easing debates.

collateralmadsnage Wed 15-Apr-20 23:17:59

I think some of you need to read some economics books and understand fiat money.

Taxation is just putting coins back into the system. The BofE control it.

Do some research.

Unchecked Capitalism!

Save lives!

Fucket Wed 15-Apr-20 23:23:07

I’ve been trying to explain this to people. The reason we are on lockdown is so the virus doesn’t overwhelm the nhs. It’s not to keep everyone at home until a vaccine or cure is developed.

We are facing economic suicide if we lockdown too long. I know it’s scary though, but we have to think like our great grandparents. They didn’t have vaccines or antibiotics, and lots of people died young and people like me would die the first time they got pneumonia. They didn’t live in fear of every disease. I’m sure that’s why they were obsessed about wrapping up warm and wearing hats and gloves, always carrying a hankie etc.

Get life insurance, sort out your will, cross your heart, think brave thoughts, and prepare for re-emergence into a post lockdown life.

saltinesandcoffeecups Wed 15-Apr-20 23:29:01

Amen to this, and I’m glad others are starting to say it out loud.

I’ve never been brave enough to ask some of these ‘stay locked down ‘til it’s gone’ people if they work or have a job they lost or are afraid they are going to lose.

I must know a higher than average amount of business owners than most and they are hurting right now.

collateramadamage Wed 15-Apr-20 23:29:37

any people appear to think that 'austerity' was just imposed on the random whim of evil Tories. The fact that this enforced economic paralysis is going to add 150 billion to the existing debt mountain? No problem. The answer is to print more money. After all. What could go wrong?

Existing debt mountain? You just referenced austerity - wasn't the point of that to sort out said mountain? Why is it still there?

Ah yes, because our economy always runs at a deficit, because thats how it's designed. So why slash all that spending? I'll answer that one too - ideology.

Any money you have was either printed or added on a spreadsheet at a bank. You don't work and have magic money appear out of the air.

Money isn't finite and it has no intrinsic value that it is tied to. We let banks "print money" through fractional reserve banking all the time. When the central bank/government does it "NOOO WHO'S PAYING FOR THIS?"

Please read a book on economics.

Willyoujustbequiet Wed 15-Apr-20 23:35:42

I'm sure most people do understand but its just not their priority. Its not mine. Yes the economy will tank but I care more about the immediate risk to my family. Its easy for those who face a lesser risk or who have never experienced the sudden death of a young person in their immediate family to concentrate more on finances.

GrumpyHoonMain Wed 15-Apr-20 23:43:30

I don’t think the Tories Can respond to this with Austerity 2.0. Economies can only be boosted To the level we will need via public spending and increased taxes; and all countries will be doing the same.

ToffeeYoghurt Wed 15-Apr-20 23:47:15

Short-term disruption to the economy is preferable to the longer term damage that uncontained Covid-19 would cause. It's not going to help the economy if everyone's off sick or dying.

I agree with you @nancy75 We could also scrap HS2. We don't need to spend billions on obselete technology so that wealthy executives can have 20 minutes shaved off their journey.

eeeyoresmiles Wed 15-Apr-20 23:49:15

I think some people who understand taxes very well, and the value of the economy, don't seem to understand at all that uncontrolled sickness is also going to fuck up said economy.

You can't just decide that lockdown should stop, to preserve the economy, without being sure that the removal of lockdown won't actually make things worse for the economy.

Saying oh people are so thick, they don't understand the importance of the economy, is missing the point that lives and the economy are on the same side at the moment and are both protected by the current lockdown.

George Osborne was saying exactly this on radio 4 yesterday. It's too soon to stop the lockdown 'to save the economy' - it's not going to help the economy if we stop it too soon.

Regardless of which 'side' you have sympathy with, presenting things as a simplistic choice between lives and the economy is wrong. Not primarily because of the way lives also depend on the economy, but mainly because of the ways in which the economy also depends on lives (i.e. a healthy, functioning workforce, healthcare system and so on).

starlightgazers Wed 15-Apr-20 23:53:08

Yes, but by the same token, do people know just how many uncontrolled pandemics can kill, and the effect this would have on the economy? Do people know that our NHS would collapse if we allowed everyone to get sick at once?

ToffeeYoghurt Wed 15-Apr-20 23:53:12

I never thought I'd be in agreement with George Osborne! There's a first for everything.

ToffeeYoghurt Wed 15-Apr-20 23:56:42

starlightgazers Doctors, nurses, and other NHS staff are already dying. Imagine how many more would die if lockdown was lifted and Covid-19 ran unchecked. The NHS can't run without staff.

starlightgazers Thu 16-Apr-20 00:04:37

Doctors, nurses, and other NHS staff are already dying. Imagine how many more would die if lockdown was lifted and Covid-19 ran unchecked. The NHS can't run without staff

Quite and there wasn't even enough staff in the first place.

nellodee Thu 16-Apr-20 00:28:08

I don't understand economics, but I do understand enough to know that a nation does not balance its books in the same way as a household. The comparison is completely flawed.

This is a good article about the effects of Covid-19 on the financial markets, but I still don't find it very comprehensible. All I do know is that it is far more complicated than the OP makes out and the people who think money grows on trees are almost closer to being correct than the ones who think it must all be balanced.

www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/14/how-coronavirus-almost-brought-down-the-global-financial-system

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