(This is an update on the blog post of 25 April 2011, commenting on the government’s plans to tax property.
Looking at the recent Budget, it now appears that the ‘mansion tax’ has been avoided or, more likely, deferred. Instead, stamp duty on ‘expensive’ (over £2 million) properties has been increased from 5% to 7%.)
It appears that they have it in mind to tax property, which is bad for us as we still have no income from society for anything we do (or could do), and we still need to build up capital towards the institutional environment to which, once we get it, extra research departments can be added and the university press made increasingly productive.
Any ‘mansion tax’, or increased stamp duty would only be the beginning of taxes/stamp duties on ever smaller properties, no doubt.
* * *
All you can say for the means-tested state pension is that it may just about cover the taxes we pay to the state. I.e. instead of paying all the taxes and making voluntary contributions to the state pension each year, we now make no contributions because everyone is fully paid up, and the reduced means-tested pensions received by me and Charles McCreery may just about cover, for the four of us, council tax, car tax, television licences, cost of garden refuse collections, cost of getting large rubbish taken away by the council, and cost of dumping unacceptable items of rubbish in the local rubbish dump (which is not very near). And perhaps there is a small net gain to us, so that we can say that, at long last, we are receiving a bit more each year from the state than we have to pay back to it.
If they had not introduced means-testing on the state pension some years after I had started to receive it, it might be adequate to cover capital gains tax (CGT) and ‘mansion tax’ on any houses we may own in the future. But probably not for long, as the taxes would keep increasing more than in line with (realistic) inflation, whereas the pension would not, even if not means-tested.
* * *
So those who are trying to remedy the bad position (non-position) in society imposed on them by their ruined ‘education’ have to be taxed (at any rate, they are taxed) to reduce their rate of progress towards an adequate life, and they have to transfer a part of the progress they have made to provide supposed ‘advantages’ to those who are not yet obviously disadvantaged. (Although, in fact, some of them may be, since they are forced to proceed in making their way through an educational system that is geared against them, and may leave them also with no way of entering a suitable career.) Many of the others will probably never be able to make any use of the sort of opportunities which we need and from which we have been excluded by the hostility to ability of modern society.
‘Education’ means, unfortunately, a very vulnerable period of one’s life when one needs to be acquiring qualifications which will establish one’s claim on the sort of position in society which one needs to have, but in which one has no control over the arrangements which are being imposed on one.
* * *
David Willetts said of the Baby Boomers that they had had such a good life that they should wish their pensions to be reduced so that coming generations could be provided with ‘educations’ as lavish as their own. I was a pre-Baby Boomer so this did not obviously apply to me, but I feel sure that plenty of them, including some with the highest IQs, and some whom I have known, were thrown out at the end of their ‘educations’ with no access to any career to which they could feel suited, and with only the sense that their relationship to their own internal sense of direction had been broken.
So, like me, it is likely that they would be more interested in using their pensions to work towards improving their own lives, rather than in sacrificing their pensions so as to make it possible for yet more people to be subjected to the ‘educational’ process.
We invite such people, whether or not they are prepared to complain of the bad effects of their ‘education’ on their prospects in life, to come and live near us in Cuddesdon, which is commutable from both London and Oxford, and cooperate in our plans to remedy our situation in an anti-individualistic society.
* * *
Building up capital may be the only method a person has of being able to be productive in a way to which they are suited, as it was with me. Not having any way of getting a salary, and being unable to draw the so-called social security, I put getting a roof over my head first, and setting up a college/hotel environment second. At least the increases in value of the house which I bought in the Banbury Road were not taxed. This house had enough space for laboratories and offices, at least on a minimal scale, if I had been able to get funding to do research with which to assert my claim on a normal high-flying academic career. The salary which I could not get would have been taxed, and I would have been getting my pension contributions paid, but as it was I had to pay voluntary contributions myself out of non-existent income.
Eventually the house was worth much more than at the outset, although still not enough to set up even a minimal institutional environment within which academic work could be done.
I shall never stop trying to get all the things I should have had as part of a forty-year academic career in a professorial position as the Head of a department. That is, the salary, status, contacts, laboratory facilities, personal secretaries and other staff, and the dining hall facilities, etc.
I still need these things in order to have a productive and satisfactory life, and I see plenty of things in which to do progressive research for forty years.