David Mitchell on Taxation

Oh how I love a good David Mitchell rant. This one’s on avoiding taxation via pension contributions:

[. . . ] what we’re essentially saying is that people get to choose, if they’re rich, how much they reckon they out to pay. Where on this moral scale do they place themselves, what can they square with their greed and their conscience.

And that’s an insane system because ultimately, that is a tax on conscience. That means that the conscience you’ve got, the better person you are, the more you pay in tax. So we’re taxing being nice.

Now any economist will tell you that what you do in government is you tax the thing you discourage and you don’t tax the thing you want to encourage. So we tax nicotine, because we want to discourage smoking. We tax alcohol, we want to discourage drinking. But we don’t tax pension contributions because we want to encourage people to put things into their pensions.

So what we’re doing is we’re discouraging people from being nice and having a conscience by taxing it. And that is the most fucking bonkers system that we could’ve possibly come across.

via DH.