Friday, May 28, 2010

Working for the State

In an average working day, how long do you think you work for HM Revenue & Customs, and how long do you work for yourself. This rather good little vide from the TPA explains it in very simple terms.

I wonder how many people realised any of this.


Wallenstein said...

All a bit simplistic though, no?

An alternative would have me working from 9am-10am to pay for my child's schooling, then 11am-1.30pm to cover my private medical insurance, then 1.30-3.00pm to cover the private security on my estate and maintenance of the roads I travel on to work each day.

Instead that period in the morning where I'm paying the state means I don't have to pay for roads, policing, schools and hospitals separately.

I'm not saying taxation is currently as efficient as it needs to be, but absent paying tax to the state you still have to pay the market to provide the same services - it might be more efficient, but the TPA seem to be implying that without taxes you'd earn that money "for yourself", rather than shipping it straight back into paying for key services.

Dave Cross said...

Quite a similar idea to Tax Freedom Day

Except that looks at it on an annual basis rather than a daily one.

DespairingLiberal said...

How long does it take to reward the hedge funds for all their hard work in robbing from your pension?

Tom Rainboro said...

Look again at your phrasing Iain 'how much time do ytou spend working for the stae and how much for yourself'. Like the vast majority of people., I don't work "for myself" but to generate value for my employer. The proportion of that time which I spend working "for the State" is the time I spend working for hospitals, schools, social care, supporting the vulnerable: it is the price of a civilised society. It's a basic misunderstanding of right wing politicians that they simply don;t get this: taxation is the entry fee to a civilised society.

LetUsFaceTheFuture said...

"Money that would otherwise be in Adam's pay packet"

Yeah right. Because employers don't work for profits.

"Life's little luxuries" are subjective. Adam wants his luxuries to be things that contribute to anti-social behaviour (alcohol) and widespread disease (fags). But for the person that considers "life's little luxuries" to be visiting a museum to see collected works of art, then they get some money back from HMRC, or GLA, or WAG, depending on where they're from.

"It takes one hour and 16 minutes to pay income tax"

Why doesn't the video also present the benefits that Adam gets back from all of this? How much time does Adam spend in his hospital? How much time does Adam spend using roads? Do Adam's grand-parents get free eye, free prescriptions, free bus passes? I'm sure that, if they do, Adam is happy that his money is going there.

Has Adam ever reported a crime and had that crime tackled by a police force? Has Adam ever had the need to call an ambulance?

Did Adam get schooled in a state school? State nursery? When there, did he receive the services of dozens of teachers? Did he get use of textbooks for free?

Where is the perspective, balance and intelligence in this video?

Capriman said...

The point (I think) of the video is not to show people that they are working for the state as the overwhelming majority of people accept that taxation is essential to pay for communal services. The 'point' of the video is to show precisely how much of your day is working to earn money which you have no control over the way in which it is spent. So the question is not "why should we work for the state?" but "how long should we have to work for the state?". Some of believe that Government takes too much of our income off us, and spends it ineffectively. People will always be more efficient when they are spending their own money.

However in my own opinion the most important issue of taxation that needs tackling is the marginal rate, which peversly affects those at the bottom of the income scale more than the top. The very high rate of marginal taxation (including the loss of benefits) that the Labour party have left the country with is a massive disincentive for hard work and an almost permanent relative poverty trap.

Glyn H said...

The other 'working for state' point to be made is that state employees by definition are unproductive. That means that paying them is like giving pocket money to children - it may benefit the sweet shop but the family income is unchanged. Thus we should aim for the lowest possible number comensurate with security, law and order and so on. This was Mrs Thatchers genius and what Brows statism set out to subvert for narrow partisan reasons and sod the Country along the way. Thus is Socialism such a vile creed; it seeks to destroy the hand that feeds it.

Patrick said...

"Tom Rainboro". Its you who dont get the point! The state is proportionally too big.

Indy said...

I agree with Wallenstein. You would need to work out how long you would have to work to pay yourself for the things which the state currently provides.

But that isn't all. We all share the benefit from things which our taxes pay for which may not benefit us personally. E.g. even if someone doesn't have kids they still benefit from the fact that children are educated.

The private sector is dependent on many of the things which our taxes pay for - education, training, healthcare, infrastructure, law and order - to function.

You could look at the outcomes in countries where government does not provide these kinds of taxpayer-funded services. You would need to go to the developing world though.

davidc said...

'taxation is the entry fee to a civilised society.'

trouble is that for years we have been in the hands of ticket touts

Moriarty said...

I'm spending all morning working for the State? I guess I'd better decamp to Parliament Sq and spend the hours up to lunchtime digging up turf and urinating against public statues then.

RJF said...

Despairing Liberal, please tell me how the hedge funds rob from your pension funds.

Go on, tell us how. I'm really interested in your thesis. 50 words, 20 paragraphs - I'm not bothered, just outline your thoughts on the subject.