Food, clothing, shelter are necessities. Booze, cigarettes, SUVs are not. You don’t need them to live and the first two make you sick, thus making you a burden on your society; the people around you and the State. So they should be taxed to the hilt.
Luxury goods are just that; things you don’t really need to live. So if the state needs money to operate, and it does, it should tax men’s vices and luxuries; to pay for the trouble they cause and because they’re not essential.
Food taxes are tricky. Are crisps food, for example? We have VAT (value added tax) which is a sales tax.
You pays yer money and you takes yer choice: Low tax = low healthcare and low unemployment benefits, high taxes should mean the reverse.
Unfortunately, you can end up with high taxes and a shoddy benefit system, as bureaucracy and entitlements increase while the profits to pay for them decrease.
What we have in Ireland is truly crazy, with the UK not far behind. The credit crunch should give a brave politician the excuse to do something about this, but they’re chickening out; they’re borrowing from future generations to ‘keep the show as-is’.
You see, in both countries public servants + those on benefits make up a big share of the voters. So they dare not do anything until the poop really hits the fan. Could happen in six months if we don’t get the now-heralded ‘soft landing’ in the economy.
In this sort of crisis first big business gets winnowed, then small business and the high street, then your neighbour gets laid off. Just depends on how bad it gets. Summertime is usually riot-time if things are bad, but things may not ‘trough’ in time for that to coincide with the economic cycle.
If things get really bad you’ll have socialist governments slung out, authoritiarian ones voted in, then, with all the Big Brother apparatus in place, things could get very dicey if you’re on the margins.
No need to head for the hills just yet. Just pick a hill and keep your head down. Sniff the air, watch which way the wind blows and if then the generalissimo happens to drive by in his big black mercedes, scream “Viva, viva!” and wipe away a fake tear of mindless joy.
As I think a polish bishop said: “We’ll just wait them out”.