Friday, January 02, 2009

The marriage tax

Currently running at around 20% according to this report.

Despite Gordon Brown's pledge to support "hard working families", those who marry or set up home together and establish a stable family are up to 20 per cent poorer, the Civitas study shows.

Actually, if I remember correctly, it was the Tories who started the downgrading of marriage by abolishing various tax reliefs and advantages associated with being married back in the eighties - all Brown has done is continue the progressive liberal policy of destroying the institution of marriage that the Conservatives began.

I'm a firm believer in marriage and I simply can not understand why successive governments have sought to undermine it. It clearly isn't about creating an "equality" as there is a clear disadvantage to being married now - but even if it was about equality, why would you want to make other relationships "equal" to marriage?

It's no secret that the best environment in which to bring up children is in the traditional married family unit - this has been known for so long that every civilisation worthy of the name that has existed had an institution of marriage to support the rearing of children. Only the most stupid or most incredibly arrogant of people would believe that they knew better than the collective knowledge of human civilisations stretching back thousands of years.

Of course, progressives are the most incredibly arrogant people. They really do believe that they know better than anyone either now or in the past. They tear down traditions and institutions and put their own ideas in their place - and when those ideas fail miserably they don't retract and go back to what worked - they work ever more furiously to force ever more destructive changes on us.

The Tories are suggesting that they will bring in tax breaks for married couples - but we all know they don't mean it. What we really need is a conservative party that will say quite simply that the progressive ways do not work and we will go back to those proven methods.

Make no mistake about it - the progressives have torn down every worthwhile institution and tradition we had over the last 50 years. The only way to counter it is to do the same to them. We need a political party with the strength and guts to say "progressivism doesn't work" and the plan to destroy it.

If that party was really the Tory party then they'd be unequivocal about their support for marriage. They would say that marriage is the ONLY relationship that the state should encourage and that they would actively seek to discriminate in favour of marriage - but they don't.

They daren't - because like the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats the Tory party is a liberal progressive party dedicated to the causes of progressivism and riddled with progressive liberal people, thinkers and policy makers - none more so than their leader.

The really annoying thing is that I know the Tory party membership consists of thousands of people who share the same values as I do, but are so consumed by their loyalty to that party they can not bring themselves to admit that the Conservative party is no longer what they once thought it was.

I know some conservatives will read this and disagree - they'll convince themselves that Cameron is playing a clever game whereby he will win power and then begin a series of typically conservative reforms that will restore our nation, but they are the ones living in a fantasy land, not me.

If anyone can find a single, concrete policy that suggest that is really the case then by all means let me know. You won't, I know, because there aren't any.

6 comments:

ChrisM said...

There should be no tax disadvantages to being married. BUT neither should there be advantages. And I say this as a married man. It is wrong to steal money from married people to subsidise non-married people. It is just as wrong to steal money from non-married people to give to married people like myself. I don't want other people living off me, but neither do I want to be living off other people. Apart from being unfair, some of us have a sense of pride and don't want to ponce of others.

Stan said...

I don't agree Chris. Marriage is proven to be the best environment to bring up children so it is vital that we do what we can to encourage people to get married and stay married.

Not is it a question of being "subsidised" to be married - just recognising that married people with children have considerably more pressure on their finances than single people with no responsibilities and therefore married people should be allowed to retain more of the money they earn. That is not "poncing" off others, that is the correct thing to do. When it comes to tax "credits" I am totally opposed to them - what is the point of taking money off people in taxation then giving it back to them in credits? The administrative costs alone means it isn't worthwhile! I, personally, have never claimed tax credits or any other sort of benefit even though the IR have frequently implored me to do so. The only benefit we have ever claimed is child benefit - and only then cos the missus insists.

Marriage is a vital part of civilisation and should be encouraged and incetivised by the state - while marriage break up and divorce should be discouraged. Currently we have it the wrong way around.

ChrisM said...

First let me say, I am married, and am likely to be having kids this year. So I am arguing from a fairness rather than self serving view point. (I am not accusing of doing otherwise by the way, just assuring you that I would in fact be a beneficiary of your preferred tax system, and still don't like it).

That it is the best environment to bring up children I don't dispute. (I wouldn't go so far to say it has been "proven", but it seems an uncontroversial statment nonetheless). That that means married couples have the right to take money out of the pockets of unmarried people I totally and utterly reject. Furthermore, not all married couples have children. Are they to receive money out of the pockets of unmarried people too?

You say it is not a question of being subsisdised, but it clearly is. If the state either gives money too, or relieves the tax burden on (which amounts to the same thing) something, it is subsidising that thing. Now we can dispute whether that subsidy is a good thing or not, but what we can't do is suspend the meaning of words just because we don't like the sound of them. Ponce may be an emotive word, but when money is taken from A to give to B, it strikes me that B is poncing of A, regardless of how right one thinks that transfer may be.

Mariage and divorce should really be no concern of the state. The state doesn't even do a very good job of the relatively simple things it is supposed to do, I really don't want it in the role of marriage guidance councillor.

As you say marriage has been around thousands of years. It didn't require subsidies for the vast majority of the time it has been existance, it doesn't now.

I agree with about 70% of your posts, so this one only stuck out as one of the ones I couldn't disagree more on.

Stan said...

Sorry, ChrisM, but the belief that allowing someone to retain more of the money they earn through reduced taxation is NOT taking money from anyone else. It is YOUR money - you earned it and no one is more deserving of it than you are unless you decide that they are - but that should be entirely voluntarily.

If you work 40 hours a week to earn £1000 then why should the government take £400 of that to give to others who have done nothing to earn it?

Why is that fair - particualrly if it means your family having to go without something or make do with less of something?

I simply do not accept the basic principle and myths of coercive wealth redistribution which most people seem to these days. It encourages welfarism and entrenches poverty.

And if the state encouraged more people to marry and have children within mariage by offering tax concessions (i.e. allowing them to keep more of the money they earn) that would do far more to alleviate child poverty than any redistributive policy.

ChrisM said...

"Sorry, ChrisM, but the belief that allowing someone to retain more of the money they earn through reduced taxation is NOT taking money from anyone else."

If the state is taking less money from married people than unmarried people, that is the same as taking money from unmarried people and giving it to married people. But if you really think that reduced taxation for one group is not the same as taking money from some other group then how about reducing taxation of married people, but also reducing taxation of unmarried people by the same amount. Afterall, it wouldn't be taking money from anyone else.

"It is YOUR money - you earned it and no one is more deserving of it than you are unless you decide that they are - but that should be entirely voluntarily."

I couldn't agree more. I just understand that the same statement holds true whether I am married or not. I am anti welfare and for low tax. However, those taxes that we do have, I want the burden to be born by married and unmarried people equally. Taking extra tax off of me because I am married is unfair to me. Giving me tax breaks because I am married and not giving those same tax breaks to those who are unmarried is unfair to those who have to pick up the slack.

"If you work 40 hours a week to earn £1000 then why should the government take £400 of that to give to others who have done nothing to earn it?"

That is a totally different argument. I am not a fan of welfare. We are not talking about taxation levels, which I think are far too high and so am no doubt in agreement with you. We are talking about the distribution of the tax burden. And I see no reason why I as a married person should pay less tax than somone who is unmarried.

"Why is that fair - particualrly if it means your family having to go without something or make do with less of something?"
It isn't fair. But seeing as the actual discussion was about whether married people should pay less tax than un married people I don't see what this has to do with that. I am NOT, as you seem to be implying saying that married people should be subsidising the lifestyles of unmarried people. I am just saying neither should they in turn be subsidised. You may still disagree with this too, but at least disagree with my actuall position. Most of what you are objecting to in this comment, I object to as much as you do.

"I simply do not accept the basic principle and myths of coercive wealth redistribution which most people seem to these days. It encourages welfarism and entrenches poverty."
You apparently do. You want distribution from unmarried people to married people. I see this as just as bad as taking money from married people to support the feckless. I am the one arguing against coercive wealth redistribution. I am just consistently against it, not just against it except where I think it is a good idea.

"And if the state encouraged more people to marry and have children within mariage by offering tax concessions (i.e. allowing them to keep more of the money they earn) that would do far more to alleviate child poverty than any redistributive policy."
The state's job is not to encourage a lifestyle. It is to protect property and from external aggression. And personally I got married because I love my wife, not to get a tax break. I am sure you did the same. I would have to question the value of any marriage that was based on a tax break.

"that would do far more to alleviate child poverty than any redistributive policy."
Giving taxbreaks to married people that are not granted to umarried people IS a redistributive policy, albeit one of which you approve.

ChrisM said...

Ps. I am not so altruistic or blinded by ideology that I won't be jumping up and down with glee if tax breaks for married people are given away. And if there are to be different rates of taxation I would prefer that the lower rate goes to married people. But that is not a point of principle, just one of self interest.