It has often been said that one of the more important functions of blogs like this is to get ‘memes’ (or ideas, as I prefer to call them) started and then spread around virally. In the spirit, I think it behoves us to begin spreading this idea: that people who work in the public sector should be exempt from having to pay tax. All tax.
And, no, I am not proposing to do them a big favour, though expect that many in the public sector will see it as a favour and that is all for the good. No, what I am proposing is the stripping away of a fig-leaf that disguises the very important distinction between tax-payers and tax-consumers.
Currently, only those who earn their living in the private or voluntary sector are tax-payers and while public sector employees do file tax returns and, on the face of it, pay their taxes too, this is a mere bookkeeping fiction. They are the recipients of tax, adding nothing to the public purse. The number of people who fail to understand this distinction, holding instead that “we are all taxpayers” is alarmingly high. By forcing the public sector to lead tax-free lives, we make their true status not just clearer but undeniable.
It is high time that we made it crystal clear as to who bears the burden of taxation and who enjoys the benefit; who produces the wealth and who gets the wealth handed to them. It is a cheap and easy means of dramatically changing the dynamic of all economic and political debate.
If you like this idea, then tell someone else. Let’s start spreading it.