So, you want an extra £60K, and you’re obviously desirable, otherwise they’d already have got shot of you. So, under a 40% marginal tax rate, you’ll ask for and get £100,000 – 60 to you, 40 to the government. Under 50% marginal, you ask for and get £120,000 – 60-60. Either way, you get your £60K.
Here’s the good bit. Your company is desperate to retain your services, as I said, and is happy to give you your £60K, but they have to raise the extra £20K to fund your extra income tax. They could just put up their prices, but that doesn’t really work, because some smart competitor will come along and squeeze them out. The best way is, in short, to sell more of their stuff, which is what they’re employing you for in the first place – which means economic expansion, which is what everybody wants, isn’t it?
I can’t see anything wrong with this, in fact up to a point, the higher the marginal tax rate, the greater the incentive towards increased economic activity. There might be an inflation niggle somewhere down the line, but that’s the least of our worries at the moment. I can’t imagine why the Chancellor hasn’t gone for it, can you?
The alternative trick, which I tweeted last week and which was hinted at on The Moral Maze this evening, is to make the 50% rate voluntary. Shame the bastards into coughing up. It might just work, self-esteem is a valuable commodity.
* So far, so unrealistic – what productive, motivated useful person would uproot and relocate, or turn into a couch spud, for the lack of £10,000, which is what it comes down to? Multiply the numbers up and your case weakens, due to the economic law of marginal utility, which I wouldn’t dream of boring you with even if I could remember it.