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Britain is a business!
As a nation, we have to make enough of a profit to ensure that we can keep ourselves, our elderly, our children, our sick, our needy; everbody in the countries which make up the UK. We have not been achieving that for some decades. That must be true if we have monies outstanding in the way of loans. I do not seek, here to blame the EU, but we must think in terms of understanding what EU membership costs compared with the cost of membership.
For example, if the methods of taxation used in the UK are so complex that taxpayers have no idea how much they are paying and for what, then they cannot possibly grasp what they can afford to have supplied by Government and what the cannot afford.
I completely understand that some folk will think "I can afford this service or that" and be prepared to pay for it via taxation; not understanding that what they desire is non-essential and beyond affordable reach for the poorer, who non-the-less have to pay for this service, which they really canot afford. Equally, another person will not be able to afford simple necessities without the help of the better off. There is a further basis upon which Governments have been taxing one thing or another for very many decades. This purpose is trying to encourage a greater use of those things which they percieve as beneficial and discourage those things which they see as being harmful. On the face of it, this is all very laudable. However, as an example, one could argue that high taxation on tobacco or alcohol only penalises those poor people who are addicted to these drugs and drives them into poverty. Facing facts, poverty is not going to drive an addict to suddenly stop being addicted. It takes a lot more than that! I refer, as another example, to the proposed de-crimilising of class C drugs. The very same thinking is at the route of this idea. If we can take the sale of illegal drugs out of the hands of criminals and put it into the hands of professionals, who can do the job sensibly, surely there is a better, less harmful and quality supply available to those wanting to use these substances?
I also fully understand that employment in the tax industry provides a huge number of jobs for people who may not, otherwise, have a job. I guess that numbers run into many thousands, both in the public and private sectors. I guess that it even rolls down to builders who build the tax offices, suppliers of water, electricity and telecommunications, manufacturers of paper and computing equipment and software and goodness knows how much more. At all levels, taxation creates jobs. But think! If all these people were making something, mending something or growing something, instead of taxing people, then we would gain an awful lot more than the cost of the taxes seen in plain numbers. I wonder what proportion of tax and duties is used to pay for the collection of those taxes and duties?
To sum up my views on taxation
What if all taxation were to be collected at the source of income (income tax), for instance, and all other taxes and duties were abolished, what proportion of our income would have to be paid? It is my suspicion that as things are, the cost of taxes and duies in all, amount to very much over 80% of the income of the UK. What that means is that we would only have to charge 1/5th of our current pay to afford all that we can afford now. Think just how that would affect the cost of our exports! We would be so very much more competative in our UK business. Not that I am proposing such a drastice level of change. We would still need, want and desire SOME of those services currently provided by Government (local, regeonal and national) and, probably more besides. It's a matter of re-prioritising. I feel that BREXIT is a wonderful opportunity to re-think the historic errors which have been made at home and abroad, on our behalf.
Whatever the apparent figures in £s, if membership of the EU is costing us more than we can afford, then any "soft BREXIT is not going to change that. If we stop paying thousands of well-meaning people to tax us, then they can do the jobs of imigrants. How can imigration really be a need which we cannot fulfill from our current population? That is a management problem, not a numbers problem. Clearly we need more people doing what needs to be done and less people doing things which don't need doing. I am saying that the cost of EU membership is more complex than just £s stirling. It's much more a case of what our current population is doing with their time. Is what they are doing productive or profitable?
I have been applying my mind to the cost of producing goods and services in England. All businesses have been trimming costs and trying to become more and more efficient, all my long adult life. There are always newer technologies available and time-savings that can be made by investment. On the face of it, that sounds a good way forward. However, that has always resulted in lower employment for all labour markets. I am not so sure that is the best route to take. On the face of it, were there to be a resultant cost-saving, then prices would drop and that might be to the better. However, that seems often not to be the real case, what with the cost of borrowing and other expenses, which are not always obvious.
Let's look at other costs. Starting with taxation. We pay Income Tax, Duties, Levies, Value Added Tax (often taxes on other taxes and duties). In exchange for that, Government provide a myriad of services. The breadth of those services is breathtaking. I wonder how many people have thought about whether they can really afford the range of services demanded or provided? I have tried to make a list of the kind of services I prioritise. The short list below is my own top few, in order of importance to me.
Let's look at what we would like to prioritise in terms of Government services.
Only defence! I hate to think that I, as a taxpayer, am paying to kill people in other nations for any reason. I feel cowardly in not daring to refuse to pay for these attacks for fear of prosecution and possible incarceration. I know this opinion is of a minority, but surely a minority has a right to be heard and acted upon as well as a majority. Simply put, if thoe of us who don'twant to be tarred with this brush were alowed to withould payment, then it would be for those that WANT to be involved to pay?
I strongly believe water should be supplied free at the point of need on a non-profitmaking basis by a Government instructed by the people. Water security and defence of the water infrastructure is part of the the defence of the nation. We all know that a human will die in only a few days without water. This is an area in which I firmly believe that taxpayers should be responsible and have no truck with private enterprise.
National Health Service,
free at the point of need and provided on a non-profitmaking basis, as it was originally concieved. I feel very strongly that buying in health services from private (profit-making) businesses is the worst possible thing our Governments could be doing, in this regard. I see it as being hopelessly inneficient. I recognise that there are huge numbers of people employed in the procurement of these services but the cost of that outweighs the benefit for me.
Refuse and dangerous wastes.
removal and safe disposal for all (including business waste and pollution control, because it all comes from private individuals in the end), provided on a non-profitmaking basis at a cost to the tax-payer. This does not include recycling of benign waste (e.g. paper), which I believe should be handled by private enterprise.
Financial support for the retired, sick, infirm, disabled and unemployed. I regret that it is increasingly difficult to recruit willing and able staff. My opinion is that nearly all employable people are already employed and that those left are not employable, for 1 reason or another. I do not have a problem with higher and humane rates of benefits.
I rather fear that very little that is imported is examined for bio-security, for instance. The import of diseased and non-indigenous plant and animal life has been causing problems, repeatedly, for decades. Who knows how much illegal immigration there is! These poor people probably may spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders and in fear of all sorts of illegal individuals and organisations. This sort of security failure is the route of so much extended illegal activity, that it must be controlled, effectively and humanely. What I am saying is that if illegal immigrants cannot work legally, to support themselves, they will resort to criminal activity the expense to all around them. The way we are going sounds much like prohibition to me.
Prioritise weapon control. Reduce the list of illegal activities in which the police may become involved by careful thought and study.
(having written the above, I notice that my highest priorities all revolve around the life, security and health of the population)
Free at the point of use at all levels to all UK subjects and supplied by Government at the tax-payers expense. I am not at all persuaded that the current arrangements for training and further education are leading in the right direction. Trainers with whom I had spoken, openly admit that standards are now a fraction of those applied in my generation. Why would that be? Government really does need to engage with educators to find out why and how to fix it. For instance. How can an apprentiship expect to be completed in a year or two? In any trade, that is near to insanity!
Roads, Mail, Telephones, Internet and more. (No! Not transport. I exclude passenger rail and buses as I do not approve of commuting long distances to work and I disaprove of passenger air travel where it is not vital. Work near home is the rule I prefer. If holidaymakers want to travel abroad, they should need to pay the full price of their travel. I do approve of goods being moved by rail, where appropriate, but don't see why that should be Government run or at the expense of the tax-payer. If people in remote villages had no transport to get into larger towns, they might use their local shops (which might then be able to be more competitive and better stocked if they were better patronised), for instance. Overall, they would be less at risk of illnesses cooped up on cramped buses etc., and not have to stand in the cold, wet or beating sun waiting for buses, or harm elderly or disabled bodies, carrying heavy loads.
I hate and despise the harm caused by substance abuse. The fastest way to promote drugs mis-use amongst young people is prohibition. By all means do standardise dosages and quality. Put it in the control of appropriately trained people and allow it's price to fall naturally below that which encourages criminals to market it by the application of low or zero taxation. Prohibition has never worked at any level.
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