Another pint please....

Thursday, Aug 11 2011 by
12
Another pint please

As per Macroeconomix's suggestion, this is an unthreaded "Pub" thread (if that's not a contradiction) for general discussion on whatever banter takes your fancy.

Economics, politics, gripes, the weather, theories of the universe, off-the wall investing ideas - plus good jokes - are all welcome! Links to other good discussions & debates also appreciated, on or off-site. 

If someone wants to volunteer as publican, let us know. In the interim, suggestions on thread rules welcome but we were thinking... well, none really (other than the Posting Guidelines). 

And good news - we've got a 24 hour licence so plenty of time for pontification & going off into the long grass.

Can we take your order?


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320 Posts on this Thread show/hide all

salty64 3rd Nov '11 181 of 320

In reply to emptyend, post #180

Talking of resignations, perhaps the Church of England will muscle in and knock a few heads together? If things were getting complicated in the Eurozone they certainly would if that happened.

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emptyend 3rd Nov '11 182 of 320

In reply to salty64, post #181

Talking of resignations, perhaps the Church of England will muscle in and knock a few heads together?

After the last week or so, it seems that when the Church of England chooses to "muscle in" on real world issues, it is the Church of England people who end up resigning!

I think Cameron is being well-advised to keep his distance from the growing mess. For those involved there is no win/win solution available.....such is the inevitable case when the Greeks have failed to uphold their end of the bargain they struck on Euro entry.....

....the only question is whether the Italians can get away with similar failures (whilst tax evasion is common in Italy, I'd guess it is a way behind the 35% estimated rate of Greek tax evasion that I saw in the FT yesterday!).

ee

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tournesol 3rd Nov '11 183 of 320
3

In reply to emptyend, post #180

"...I guess the Greeks don't have an equivalent saying for "He who pays the piper calls the tune" ?..."

perhaps not, but they do have one that says "Άλλος σπέρνει και τρυγάει, κι άλλος πίνει και μεθάει."

which translates as "Some people sow crops and reap harvests and others spend their time drinking and reap drunkeness."

Which seems quite apposite





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emptyend 3rd Nov '11 184 of 320
1

In reply to tournesol, post #183

Of course, in the old days, this Euro spat would have been settled by Germany simply annexing Crete........ ;-)

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Fangorn 3rd Nov '11 185 of 320

Wow, 35% tax evasion rate - that's criminal.And hardly likely to endear them to the Germans (or anyone else that has to foot the bail out bail.) Can't believe that the likes of Slovakia, second poorest member is expected to pay for a country far richer with a far higher standard of living. Thank god we aren't in the Eurozone.

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salty64 3rd Nov '11 186 of 320
3

In reply to emptyend, post #182

The best mention of evasion in Greece I saw recently was :

http://jalopnik.com/5854960/there-are-more-porsche-cayennes-in-greece-than-taxpayers-who-can-afford-them

"A couple of years ago, there were more Cayennes circulating in Greece than individuals who declared and paid taxes on an annual income of more than €50,000, a figure only slightly above the vehicle's list price," Polemarchakis wrote in a recent Economics Research Institute bulletin.

He goes on to mention the city of Larissa, which he says has the highest per-capita rate of Cayenne ownership [cue Clarkson voice] in the world."

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emptyend 3rd Nov '11 187 of 320

In reply to Fangorn, post #185

The 35% figure is quite interesting because, if you search the FT site a second article comes up (from May) that suggests that 35% of small businesses in the UK would evade tax IF they thought they could get away with it! In the UK it seems that 7% of small businesses try to evade tax - and IMO that figure is far higher than it ought to be.

ee

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extrader 3rd Nov '11 188 of 320
4

Hi salty,

Yes , I saw the Cayenne comment too.

I'm sure that the initial reaction is outrage at Greek profligacy/duplicity.

But wonder whether the average German on a Klapheim omnibus realizes that his prosperity over the last several years has been based in part on such sales (Cayenne and other German must-haves) to people who can't (ultimately) afford them.....

People were happy enough to turn a blind eye when it suited them - and this expose I think lends weight to the argument that the principal beneficiaries of the Euro have been the Germans themselves.

ATB

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macroeconomix 3rd Nov '11 189 of 320
2

You're all talking about tax as if it is always a good moral thing.

I'm taxed to such an extent that my wife has 3 jobs to pay for our own existence and take responsibility for our future years as well as to pay for the existence of others. We are forced to pay tax and fund wars with peoples whom I have no quarrel, forced to contribute to boondoggles of bureaucratic, fraudulent and unaccountable global institutions. I am forced to fund abortions and the ending of precious life even though I disagree with the practise. Yet if I did not pay I would be thrown in jail, and the payment of tax is still held up to be the height of morality!

The state is not moral, it is force. The world has gone mad and lost its way it would seem.

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extrader 3rd Nov '11 190 of 320
3

Hi macro,

Interesting point re tax.

It's only half of the proposition 'tax and spend'.

The complaint about Greece is that they've chosen to spend and not tax.

Your personal complaint is that you're overtaxed and 'they've' misspent.

Two suggestions (neither totally facetious) :

- if you can't beat them, join them : drop out and become a taker rather than a payer. It may not be 'moral, but it can be seen as rational........;-
- emigrate to sunnier climes.

ATB - and , meanwhile, my sympathies !

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emptyend 3rd Nov '11 191 of 320
2

In reply to macroeconomix, post #189

I have some sympathy with that view. I decided to rearrange my affairs many years ago to stop paying massive tax bills (all perfectly legal.... just much lower income and lower outgoings).

However, as extrader says, individuals have a couple of other alternative answers that are completely in their own hands.....and, if those aren't acceptable and downshifting isn't viable, then the only legal and democratic alternative is to work hard to get a government elected which offers a reasonable prospect of lower taxes.

ee

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macroeconomix 3rd Nov '11 192 of 320
5

the only legal and democratic alternative is to work hard to get a government elected which offers a reasonable prospect of lower taxes.

As it *should* be so (but I rather think it is too late for that in the UK).

How can we encourage people to take responsibility for:
- themselves
- their families
- their communities
When we tax exactly those sorts of people out of existence. And give to the sorts of people who are not even prepared to take on that kind of responsibility.

if you can't beat them, join them ... can be seen as rational

This is precisely what has got us into this mess. The rationality of sponging off of others and relying on  "somebody else" to pay for your existence. It is irresponsible, and the growth of this culture has lead to a client state that will keep "legally and democratically" electing a government that perpetuates; the hand outs, the stimulus, the bailouts, the wars.

Other ways out could involve a popular "Tax Revolt", or a general strike amongst tax payers to force government to live within its means. Only then can we make people realise that there is no cornucopia, no free lunch, and it is the height of immorality to expect others to pay for you when you are physically able and capable enough to provide for yourself.

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Fangorn 3rd Nov '11 193 of 320
1

Much as I agree with your sentiments Macro I suspect non payment of tax would see you swiftly frog marched to the nearest prison cell - quite an accomplishment in itself given we are so short of prison capacity and are continually releasing criminals long before their sentences are completed!

But then room can always be found for a tax evader or a pensioner refusing to pay their council tax . Quite why this doesn't extend to those that engage in far worse, due to apparent lack of prison places, escapes me.

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emptyend 3rd Nov '11 194 of 320
4

In reply to Fangorn, post #193

But then room can always be found for a tax evader or a pensioner refusing to pay their council tax . Quite why this doesn't extend to those that engage in far worse, due to apparent lack of prison places, escapes me.

'uman rights, innit?  

 

And on macro's point about encouraging people to take responsibility, that is precisely what Cameron's Big Society concept was aimed at.....and our irresponsible free press chose to ridicule the idea.

Ultimately there is no solution to a society's problems unless a society starts to behave like a society....showing consideration for others, caring for one's neighbours etc. It doesn't require vast amounts of money to do much of that - just a willingness by people.

ee

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Fangorn 3rd Nov '11 195 of 320

It's a shocking state of affairs. Sometimes I really despair of the path this country has,and is,taking EE.

The big society idea, whilst not articulated successfully, is indeed a positive step if one can get it going.

One of the first solutions to current problems would, in my view, be ending child benefit. All it does is encourage breeding by the feckless as a means to increasing their benefit entitlements. If one can't afford to have children don't expect society to pick up the tab for you is my view. Welfare in general needs a complete overhaul - am amazed that all these people living in council houses can afford sky satellite subs, new cars, etc etc. Wasn't welfare emant as a "Safety net" and not the way of life it has come to be for so many.

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emptyend 3rd Nov '11 196 of 320
3

Welfare in general needs a complete overhaul - am amazed that all these people living in council houses can afford sky satellite subs, new cars, etc etc.

It is of course one of life's mysteries.

However, it is a moot point whether the idle and feckless are better-employed in soaking up daytime TV or doing something more energetic like burgling or mugging pensioners....  ;-)

In all seriousness, it is quite a difficult balance to get right. Just what SHOULD society do with those who are deciding to take all of the benefits but show none of the responsibilities?

Personally I'd favour some form of requirement that anyone who isn't 100% incapable of work should actually put something back into society in exchange for their benefits. "The workhouse" carries all sorts of negative connotations in respect of Victorian poverty - but the principle of making some sort of contribution to society in exchange for taking financial support from that society seems to me to be a good one. If you don't want to put anything back then don't take the support.

ee

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Fangorn 3rd Nov '11 197 of 320
2

"Just what SHOULD society do with those who are deciding to take all of the benefits but show none of the responsibilities?"

I'd suggest sending them out to earn their money - plenty of graffiti that needs painting over, plenty of rubbish on the streets. Then one could also consider introducing a local community programme whereby those in receipt of welfare visit,say, the elderly in care homes for an hour or two a week!

Looks like have similar views in this matter. Agree completely that those who are not 100% incapable of working(I was shocked that at least 60% on incapacity benefit are indeed perfectly capable of working) should put something back in exchange for their benefits. Charity work, or any other community work,gets them out and about meeting people, away from the telly. And is of course good experience to put on the CV to illustrate one isn't being idle!

Will any of this happen, I think not. The sense of entitlement is just so great, entrepreneurialism trampled upon by excessive bureaucratic red tape(where ever it hails from)

Many are far too quick to blame their circumstances on anyone but themselves, and apologists for the current welfare status quo are happy to assist them. A sorry state of affairs indeed. Where is Tebbit's "Bicycle" when you need it?

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salty64 3rd Nov '11 198 of 320

In reply to macroeconomix, post #192

I had to search for this article which I remembered with affection:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1250808/Greece-blame-generous-state-tax-dodging.html

Not a reason for lambasting them but a very good reason to go there for holidays and certainly not joining forces in a massive financial venture.

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peterg 3rd Nov '11 199 of 320
1

In reply to macroeconomix, post #192

So presumably, Macro, given your abhorrence of tax and state spending, you do not partake of any form of public transport, use public roads, use services provided by anyone who was educated by the sate system, allow state educated nurses or doctors to treat you, conduct your own passport checks at ports and airports, refuse to accept a state pension .... I could go on for a long time on this track.. Of course you can complain about those who might be able to contribute more not doing so, but a) they form a much smaller proportion of those on benefits than many would like to think, b) the cost is a relatively small part of total public spending, c) there are many other factors than "fecklessness" that stop them - governments have been trying since about 1980 to reduce the numbers on incapacity benefit and get the unemployed back to work, the fact that it's still seen as a issue 30 years on tends to suggest that it's not such a simple problem as many would like to believe.

Other ways out could involve a popular "Tax Revolt", or a general strike amongst tax payers to force government to live within its means

How exactly a "tax revolt" forces a government to live within it's means, since you are removing it's means by doing so is a mystery to me.

Many Greeks seem to have been on tax strike for somtime, it's not clear that has either forced the government to live in its means in the past, or not left them in the shit now.

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macroeconomix 3rd Nov '11 200 of 320
4

In reply to peterg, post #199

If I had a choice to pay for these services and infrastructure directly I would. Absolutely. Yes. To suggest that I wouldn't use them when I have no other option is ludicrous to the extreme. I do pay my taxes, I am simply lamenting the fact that I have to do so and that I cannot choose what my money that I hand over to the state, by  force, is spent on (including wars, abortions, rationed public services which I would rather pay for privately etc. etc. etc.)

How exactly a "tax revolt" forces a government to live within it's means,

By starving the beast of its funds you are forcing it to cut spending.

Every pound spent by the government is a pound that needs to be taken (inefficiently) from taxpayers, either now or later, at interest. The fewer things the state is involved in, the cheaper and more efficient it becomes. You don't see the state involved in providing food, running supermarkets do you? Or making Tele visions. It would be a disaster if it did - so how come we allow the state to run so many other aspects of our lives?

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