Champagne Socialism

Thoughts on socialism and leftism generally

Champagne Socialism

Postby Elliott » 06 Mar 2012, 08:13

Dame Joan Bakewell is getting a thrashing by the commenters for her latest Telegraph article. Here is the relevant bit:

I didn’t know I lived in a mansion, but apparently I do. Some 48 years ago, as young marrieds, we scoured London for rundown properties which had potential... We ended up paying £12,000 for a house in a decrepit London square, painted the front door olive and started a trend. Over the decades and with no effort on our part, the area has been transformed and so have the prices. Houses in the Primrose Hill area fetch well over a million these days and are snapped up by pop stars, TV chefs and hedge fund managers. If the mansion tax bites it will be here that it will find juicy pickings.

I am all for taxing the rich more. I believe the less well-off are carrying too much of the burden of current austerity. But there’s just one unintended consequence of this tax which could throw me off balance: I may have to sell my house. I had hoped to leave in a wooden box, but I may have to go sooner than that, with all the cost, inconvenience and heartache that a break with 40-odd years of memories will involve.

Like many older people, I am what is called “capital rich and cash poor”. Many of us have big houses but an income which, at any level of earning, declines as you get older. I balk at the word “poor”: it in no way reflects my modest income, my small pension and my comfortable lifestyle. What comes as a shock is the prospect that I may have to move house… not in my own good time, but at the whim of Government policy.


What this boils down to is that, through no effort of her own (as she acknowledged) she is now sitting on a fortune, which the government wants to tax. She voices support for taxing the rich, but can't believe it might apply to her - and even writes a newspaper article to complain publicly about this inconvenience that socialism may inflict on her.

It's worth noting that Dame Bakewell receives a BBC pension and a stipend for working in the House of Lords, and frequently appears on radio and TV, and writes regularly for Britain's most popular broadsheet.

It would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.
Elliott
 
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Re: Champagne Socialism

Postby Caleb » 06 Mar 2012, 09:28

Personally, I don't have a problem with her house rising in value, whether it be through luck or skill.

However, there are two curious things. Firstly, whilst 48,000 GBP might well have been a lot of money 48 years ago, it's not a lot of money now. Furthermore, it's not a lot of money compared to how much she and her husband have no doubt earnt over those 48 years. This begs the question then as to where their money has gone! If they had been sensible over those 48 years (which doesn't seem the case based upon what she has written), they'd own a whole lot of assets that they could sell if necessary without leaving their residence.

This leads into the second curious point. If she were someone who weren't advocating for taxing the rich, I could buy her argument. Actually, it's not even that. If she and her husband lack the means to pay their taxes, then this seems to suggest that at some point in their retirement, they will lack the means to support themselves. Presumably, they believe the government should support them in their old age. Yet that's a double-edged sword, because if you expect the government to give without a sense of responsibility, then you can hardly complain when it takes without a sense of responsibility. The double-edged sword cuts both ways.

It's always amusing when those who advocate big government get hoist by their own petards.
Caleb
 
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Re: Champagne Socialism

Postby Elliott » 06 Mar 2012, 21:04

No, I didn't have a problem with her making money from her house either. It's just irritating that she advocates taxing "the rich", many of whom will only be rich because they worked very hard for it.

And I agree with your other points, Caleb.
Elliott
 
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Location: Edinburgh

Re: Champagne Socialism

Postby Caleb » 07 Mar 2012, 01:47

For a while now, I've been thinking of writing an article about success (specifically financial success) and the relationship of that to one's personal world view and general way of going about life. It's something I need to think about a little more though.
Caleb
 
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Re: Champagne Socialism

Postby Damo » 09 Mar 2012, 19:23

Caleb wrote:For a while now, I've been thinking of writing an article about success (specifically financial success) and the relationship of that to one's personal world view and general way of going about life. It's something I need to think about a little more though.


Look forward to reading that Caleb.
Damo
 
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Joined: 09 Aug 2011, 16:09


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