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Boris Johnson says Super Rich are an ‘Oppressed Minority’ worthy of our ‘Humble Thanks’ – Time for a Reality Check

(84 Posts)
ttosca Mon 18-Nov-13 19:20:41

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, today used his platform of a column in the Daily Telegraph newspaper to argue that the super-rich are a ‘put upon minority’ like homeless people or the travelling community. He argues that they should be protected from ‘bullying’ by the public, who should instead be offering their ‘humble and hearty thanks’ for their ‘prodigious’ contributions to our public finances.

The reality is, these super rich individuals are paying an ever smaller share, while receiving substantial tax payer funded subsidies, and the protection of the publicly funded police from an increasingly outraged public.

The Cost of the Human Welfare State

The UK Government spend a total of £694.89bn a year, to do everything. The amount the government spend on benefits is £159bn, with £72bn (45%) of that going on pensions. So, we have £85bn (12% of spending) a year actually going on working age benefits. The UK’s current unemployment rate stands at 7.8%. It makes sense that we spend this proportionate amount of shielding citizens from poverty induced by involuntary unemployment, and support sick and disabled people who cannot work or who bear additional financial costs to work.


longfingernails Sun 24-Nov-13 12:26:02

I don't think they're particularly oppressed, but it's true that the super-rich are contributing far more to public coffers than during any Labour administration. The way to make them contribute even more is to cut the top rate of income tax. I personally believe the optimum Laffer value is around 32%.

TheHammaconda Mon 25-Nov-13 10:04:12

Recent research suggests that the optimal marginal rate of taxation for the top percentile is around 70%. (and that's using a Laffer inspired methodolgy btw)

pointyfangs Tue 26-Nov-13 10:12:02

I think that looking at the % of total tax take is deceptive. What we should be looking at is the % of total income that individuals pay in tax - and by that measure, the very wealthy pay a much smaller % of what they get in tax than those at the bottom.

Warren Buffett makes the point well

I don't think those figures in the Warren Buffett article work for the UK tax regime. I know there is an issue in the US with the tax rate on certain investments which partly did for Mitt Romney's electoral hopes.

pointyfangs Tue 26-Nov-13 18:24:47

I'd be interested to see what the ratio is in the UK to be honest - and that calculation should include things like VAT, since that is paid on so many essentials. I do agree that the US tax regime is insanely skewed towards the rich and that it is not quite as bad here. However, I also feel that for some people, money has become nothing more than a way of keeping score in a game. That makes me sad when there are people who need food banks, live in homes with mould on the walls and can't afford to turn the heating on.

this is an interesting approach though no doubt it will end up driving up base pay instead - but as long as tax is paid on it I don't have a problem with that.

I'd also like to see a maximum pay multiple, but am not surprised the Swiss voted against it in a referendum - their multiple was set far too low (x12) to begin with, and of course they more or less stand or fall by their banking sector...

TheHammaconda Tue 26-Nov-13 20:53:19

pointy the data is available from the ONS. The report analyses in terms of income quintiles. However, if you examine income deciles it becomes apparent that the bottom decile (the poorest 10% of the population) actually pay the most in tax (35% of gross income). The richest 10% pay about 33% of gross income in tax.

Personally I don't believe capping bonuses will be effective. Firms will offer non-monetary rewards to their most valued employees.

pointyfangs Tue 26-Nov-13 20:58:51

True, Hammaconda - there isn't an easy answer. Human nature means that we're all inclined to look after ourselves more than others, which is why neither communism nor capitalism in its raw form will ever work.

Monty27 Tue 26-Nov-13 21:08:42

Is he so sympathetic about the poor? No. He's a prick, together with the rest of them that think they should make the poorer poorer. angry

DoctorTwo Wed 27-Nov-13 08:28:46

I'd also like to see a maximum pay multiple, but am not surprised the Swiss voted against it in a referendum - their multiple was set far too low (x12) to begin with

It wasn't quite that simple: it was proposed that the highest paid should be paid no more than 12 times per month than the lowest paid earns per annum, so the multiple is more like 144.

pointyfangs Wed 27-Nov-13 11:25:34

Doctor that's sad and says some scary things about the Swiss... I mean, let's take someone on NMW in the UK, they would be on what, £12k or thereabouts if we don't count tax credits etc.? So someone on 144 times that would get £1728000. Almost 2 million quid as a max. And that isn't enough? Some people have no shame.

DoctorTwo Wed 27-Nov-13 21:26:25

Don't forget, the Swiss have recently voted in another referendum that every adult should have a minimum income of about $2800 per month. So that x12 = $33600. That x12 = $403200. I have no problem with having a rule like this, it makes sense, it makes greedy wankers think and it doesn't impose on profits.

lalalonglegs Wed 27-Nov-13 21:56:05

Boris is obviously sucking up madly to the hardliners - his latest claim is that the wealthy should display their wealth to make the rest of us aspire to greater things...

Report here

TheHammaconda Thu 28-Nov-13 07:57:12

I wonder what his reaction to an increase in muggings of the wealthy in London will be then.

pointyfangs Thu 28-Nov-13 08:34:31

Doctor I didn't know that either, that's a very decent income even in an expensive country like Switzerland. It makes the multiple much more reasonable and possibly even a little on the low side. Though to be honest I would feel filthy rich on $433k, it's 7 times what DH and I earn between us and we feel pretty comfortably off.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 09:07:05

Boris's speech as reported by the Guardian is awful. It has the right underlying Conservative sentiments which are in opposition to a progressive enforced equality agenda, but it is crass, unfunny and facile.

Boris is almost the Tory Party's equivalent of UKIP's Godfrey Bloom.

Boris may have a high IQ, but based on his facile arguments, I wonder if he has conviction. I prefer him to the Tory "modernisers" and progressives who have abandoned Thatcher's legacy, but I think his heart may not be in it and he may put his foot in it. I can see him changing with the wind and supporting the modernisers and progressives if it suits.

Why back Boris, whose unserious arguments seem to indicate unserious intent? Why not back a real Conservative who means what he says, has conviction and who doesn't insult the listener's intelligence? Why not back Nigel Farage?

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 09:16:34

One wonders if politics is a game to Boris, the privileged Old Etonian Bullingdon member. One wonders if it is just a jolly good show.

For ordinary people, it is real and we want change and solutions and conviction. We want progress and improvement and results. We've seen too many jokers, clowns and thespians. We want change.

pointyfangs Thu 28-Nov-13 10:27:07

It's an interesting question, claig - on the one hand Boris Johnson has championed a living wage for London, which would help to take people off state supplementation of their income. I see that as a good thing, it must be soul destroying to work full time in a low paid job and still need money from the state to make ends meet.

Then he comes out with 'Greed is Good' which I have a real problem with, I see that as an utterly immoral world view.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 10:36:43

pointy, I think he will do anything for votes.

Thatcher had conviction and stuck to her principles and argued for them and beat Labour, because the majority of the public agreed with her.

The fact that he uses such crass arguments and phrases as 'greed is good' (whch progessives woud use to oppose Tory phlosophy) shows, in my opinion, that he is not serious in his beliefs and will not really deliver Tory values.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 10:53:02

Boris uses 'Loadsamoney' in his facile argument as if 'Loadsamoney' really represented Thatcherism and he says we must not go back to that.

But it didn't really represent Thatcherism and when we laughed at it in those days we didn't do so because we disliked 'Loadsamoney'. 'Loadsamoney' was popular and funny because he was a plumber done good who made loads of money, he represented the aspirational working class. He wasn't a banker, he wasn't 'Tory Boy', he wasn't 'Tim Dim But Nice', he was working class and he done good and that is why the working class voted for Thatcher in such great numbers in those days, because she offered aspiration to the aspirational working class.

But Boris with his crass statements and unfunny jokes is almost a representation of 'Tory Boy' - a progessive 'Tory Boy' but still a 'Tory Boy' - and that is why he will lose the public's vote if he keeps on clowning and saying stupid things such as the rich are an oppressed minority. That is the sort of rubbish that the unloved, unfunny 'Tory Boy' would say, not what the funny, much loved 'Loadsamoney' would say.

The asiratonal working class liked 'Loadsamoney', but they dislike 'Tory Boy'.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 11:16:54

Boris seems to have fallen for the progressive propaganda with his stupid statement that we should not "go back to" Loadsamoney. Of course, we should go back to Thatcherism, and if he had the courage to do so and defy the BBC and the progressives, then the Tories would win the election with ease, because the reality is that the people are aspirational and want to make loads of money.

'Loadsamoney' would have said 'cut the green crap' and the public would have laughed and cheered.

'Friday Night Live' was a right on left wing type comedy show on TV and Ben Elton was absolutely brilliant in those days when he had a go at the Thatch and we all laughed at his brilliant sketches. We laughed with Ben Elton, but voted for Margaret Thatcher because joking and reality are different.

Boris is a joker, but politics is real.

When it comes time to vote, we want someone that can offer hope and aspiration and 'Tory Boy' and 'Tim Dim But Nice' and 'Bullingdon Bertie' and an Eton Buster Keaton just don't cut it.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 11:32:29

In those days our progressive TV channels tried every trick in the book to turn the public off Thatcher.

Whichever TV channel you switched on, the progressive comedians were having a go at the Thatch. They were brilliant progressives and very funny and Tories laughed along, but the public still voted her in.

The progressives didn't understand the people, they couldn't understand why we loved Thatcher. Their politicians gave us the same old crap and today they refuse to "cut the green crap".

In the end the progressives had to stitch Thatcher up and betray her from within the people's own party, our Thatcherite Tory Party.

And now we have the 'Tory Boys', the 'Tim Bim But Nices' telling us that the rich are an oppressed minority.

Bring back Thatcher, the people want the real Tories back again and have had enough of the clowns and want to cut the crap.

pointyfangs Thu 28-Nov-13 11:48:38

You and I will have to disagree on wanting Thatcher back, but that's because you're an avowed right winger and I'm on the opposite side of the spectrum. Oddly enough I suspect that we do want a lot of the same things - a fair reward for a fair day's work, opportunities to progress for everyone, not just for those who know the right people/wear the right school tie.

On the green agenda I try to be pragmatic - supplies of fossil fuels are finite and if we are to leave anything for our children and grandchildren we need to harness technology to ensure that we are not wasteful with what we have. That means utilising science to work on feasible and affordable alternative forms of energy - not throwing wind farms at everything because it is all we've got right now. It also means ensuring people can afford to insulate their homes (and so reduce their bills) and minimise what they use. Meanwhile we need to ensure that where we do use traditional forms of energy, we do so frugally and carefully so as not to drain and pollute the world our children are going to live in. That's just common sense.

An example: I have just bought a new car. I had to, my old one died. It's in the second lowest emission band, so it's clean. It's a diesel, so it's economical. It is also powerful, a hell of a lot of fun to drive and much safer than my old one. That's what mean by harnessing technology and if you will, having it both ways. I could have bought another older and less efficient car, but I would have done a disservice both to myself and to the world.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 11:53:58

Yes, I am all for technological advance and science used to help humanity.

I am against elitists and politicians who pander to them, I am for advancement and progress for the people.

We agree that we want what is best for the people, we disagree about who is best to deliver it.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 12:05:19

Boris's speech will be discussed on the 'Daily Politics' on BBC 2 now.

pointyfangs Thu 28-Nov-13 12:23:11

I'm disillusioned with politicians in general - the current crop no matter what side they are on only seem to be in it for themselves, they have no service ethos at all... The words 'career' and 'politician' should not go together.

I'm in my job because I want to support research in mental health because my family has been touched by mental illness. I could earn a lot more elsewhere, but what I do now feels like making a difference and it pays me enough. I think a politician which doesn't have this kind of mindset isn't serving the people who vote for him/her.

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