Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Something other than clothes, for once.

You may notice that action has been a bit slow on the old blog front. This is due to the double whammy of work getting really busy - someone, somewhere, having apparently noticed I exist - and my new leisure time activity of Having A Boyfriend.

My million emails a day have also been severely affected, and I was unable even to pass on my pithy and apposite remarks on Richard Hammond's car crash to all and sundry last week. (I shall leave that to Jeremy Clarkson here).

It's not that I don't get angry any more - quite the opposite. I was actually fuming as I read an article this week on people having to sell their parents' houses to pay for their care home places. It was full of the middle-aged middle-class saying things like, "Mummy worked hard all her life and she wanted me to have this house. It's not about the money, it's about treating people properly."

It's enough to make you vomit, isn't it? You can practically smell the disappointment, as years of hand-rubbing anticipation of a big fat windfall dissipate before their eyes. It clearly is about the money - it could barely be more about the money.

I've been reading enough NHS BlogDoc to know that most of us dramatically underestimate the true cost of healthcare. If we want top-class, cradle to grave healthcare - including a couple of years in a care home - then we have to pay for it either directly or through a hefty income tax.

I think it's fair that those who can pay, do pay - especially when the alternative is someone getting money for doing nothing, apart from being born. It's the rump of socialism left in me. (I'd also ramp up inheritance tax, but there you go.)


Blogger Tamburlaine said...

Ah, I was wondering when your comments on Richard Hammond might appear...

I quite agree with your issue with the middle-class types having to sell Mummy's house. Mind you, it's hard that Mummy has to leave her home in the first place, but if her ungrateful offspring can't be bothered to look after her themselves, then why should they get the house? Why should they expect their parents to go on providing for them?

The problem with inheritance tax generally is that the people who would have most to lose are actually those who aren't particularly well-off, but whose house has trebled in value since they bought it in 1970, and don't realise that they won't be giving their kids a nice home when they die. Anyone who has a lot of money has probably avoided death duties long before their death. Given the state of the housing market at present, I'd vote for raising the threshold of inheritance tax, but not abolishing it.

9/26/2006 6:24 pm  
Anonymous lb said...

Never mind rump, I've got a bloody great entrecote of socialism left over (with the sauce moelle of anarcho-syndicalism handed separately).

I've been too busy at work to 'blog' (well, make stuff up) for weeks and weeks now, though Hammond has managed to inspire something that may be crawling pitifully onto the page in the next week or so, if I can spare a moment from the desk-chewing.

The housing market terrifies me to the stage where I may actually have to undergo therapy consisting of being forced to stand in front of an estate agent's window. Or simply in front of an estate agent.

9/27/2006 11:43 am  
Blogger galatea said...

My sister, a doctor, tells me that it's relatively common for exactly this kind of middle-aged solicitous child to get their elderly mummy to sign over the house to them "to avoid death duties".

Then, as soon as Mummy so much as asks, "Where did I leave the chequebook?" it's off to the nursing home with her.

I have decided not to buy house, incidentally (a futile decision as there's no way I could afford one, but I feel I am making a stand). I shall live in London until I am 40, then go and buy a bothy on a Scottish hillside for £10,000 and then spend any remaining cash pimping it out mercilessly. I may even make a TV show: Pimp My Bothy.

9/27/2006 12:50 pm  
Anonymous taste said...

Were the world a slightly more perfect place (but not perfect enough to do away with death, unexpected calamity or bastards - my three big reasons for needing a socialist-[honest guv'ner, it was like this when I found it]-state) there wouldn't be any inheritance. Or any trans-generation financial flows at all for that matter. Ideally you'd give everyone an equal share of a pooled set of assets (and you'd have to regard 'parents' as assets too I suspect) at the start of their lives and put whatever they don't use back into the pot at the end.

The problem with that is that you've got people in the system. And people mess *everything* up. Possibly. For instance you'll have heard that the problem with inheritance tax is that it reduces saving and hikes up consumption, as people have less impetuous to leave money around. Problem is, it's pretty tricky to test that without doing it nation-wide (lab conditions rather depending on those having set the tests thinking of everything)...

As such I suggest losing the inheritance tax entirely, and hiking income tax to cover the shortfall (with rather better identification of income derived from assets). That way it's fair, see.

It might well bugger things up considerably, but it sounds logical right? And I could almost certainly make up some test results to support it with 'evidence'.

Realistically though, the main thing you need to do is compel people to pay their damn tax. By and large the people it should affect the most (rich types) have accountants well versed in avoiding the inheritance tax. Possibly this could be achieved by making people like tax. Possibly the words 'tax' on your PAYE slip should be replaced with 'avoiding a bloody descent into anarchy'.

Hah, like.

9/27/2006 2:39 pm  

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