A letter to The Times tomorrow:
Sir, Your leading article (“Morality, money and tax”, June 21) makes the assertion that there is no moral case for tax avoidance. It can equally be argued that there is no moral case for a resident of this country to be forced to pay wildly more than his neighbour for identical state services.
A tiny minority of just over 300,000 people are being compelled by law individually to contribute far more to the nation’s economy than the cost of the benefits they stand to receive. Is this a fair tax?
The redistribution of wealth may have political traction, and assuage the envy of the mob, but to confuse Marxism with morality is simply perverse.
Ah yes. The state: an institution where the billionaire should the pay the same financial share as the supermarket cashier: equal contributions for the equal service of protection from the police. A little like a private members club. Screw all these thieving add-on services like the welfare state.
Brian Barry, reviewing Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia (from which this letter could easily have been an excerpt) put it best:
[He] is proposing to starve or humiliate ten percent or so of his fellow citizens (if he recognizes the word) by eliminating all transfer payments through the state, leaving the sick, the old, the disabled, the mothers with young children and no breadwinner, and so on, to the tender mercies of private charity, given at the whim and pleasure of the donors and on any terms that they choose to impose.
And all this in the name of morality. Has there ever been a greater debasement of a word?