25 April 2009
Those who declare that the Chancellor's increase in the top rate of tax represents "class war" and the "politics of envy" reveal a more disturbing truth about the present economic crisis: the terror felt by the rich and powerful that the Government might take measures to limit, even by a fraction, their personal wealth. This is amid the backdrop of widespread suffering among ordinary workers and business people largely caused by the irresponsibility and greed of the super-rich casino bankers and their cronies in the media, among regulators and, sadly, in government.
I wonder what these people would be saying had the economy suffered the worst catastrophe since the Second World War as a result of action by the trade unions, terrorists, or organised criminals. I imagine they would be calling for at the very least punitive and wholesale legislative and criminal sanctions against the perpetrators of such economic destruction, and possibly the declaration of a state of emergency.
Marginal increases to the higher rate of taxation seem a very gentle and fair response in comparison to the devastation rained down on the unionised coal and steel industries by the Conservatives in the 1980s, when trade unions were viewed to have endangered the economy.
The bubble of invincibility that has surrounded the rich and powerful for so long has finally been pricked, and as the polls show, a public battered by economic misery not of its own making isn't feeling overly sympathetic to their shrill cries of outrage.