Everyone knows the Sheriff of Nottingham is the bad guy. But he’s not just any old bad guy, he’s cunning with it too. He’s conceived of this great new wheeze to extract yet more taxes from us, and he’s got everyone squealing, “Tax me! Tax me!” by the simple expedient of calling it the Robin Hood Tax and pretending it applies to someone else. All across the land, people are casting their vote on a pretty web site calling for this new tax to be introduced. At a stroke, it is claimed, it will combat poverty, tackle global warming and guarantee another season of “Big Brother”. Sheer genius.
Robin Hood’s not best pleased about his name being hijacked in this way and he’s got a few questions he’d like to see answered. I’ll do my best to oblige.
Who is going to pay this tax? Us, the poor peasantry. It is claimed this is a tax on cash-rich irresponsible bankers, the ones we all hate anyway, so this is made out to be a particularly delicious tax. Except, the tax is on transactions of our money; when we pay a bill, or use a credit card abroad, or our pension fund makes an investment, a small tax will be added to the transaction charges. But it is not a small amount, it adds up to billions. £250 billion a year, the web site claims. How else could it achieve any of the stated aims unless it was a substantial amount of money? Does anyone serious believe that tax will not be passed on to us?
Who is going to collect it? The Sheriff of Nottingham. You won’t see his face while the money is being taken from you, but it will all end up in his coffers nonetheless.
Who is going to spend the money? The Sheriff of Nottingham. Think about this for a moment. What is the track record of any government in tackling poverty? Or global warming? Or any of the lofty objectives the Robin Hood Tax proponents put forward? If government had a good track record in any of these areas they wouldn’t be problems in the first place. Giving them more money will lead directly to more inefficiency and waste. Little will end up being applied to the purposes for which it is being collected.
Who will decide what the money is to be spent on? The Sheriff of Nottingham. It will be he who allocates funds according to his own political objectives, as they change with time, and as he sees the need to boost his own popularity.
Who thinks any of it will end up being used for the reasons claimed? Only those poor deluded peasants who are acting as his cheer leaders. And Gordon Brown.
Do you know the funniest aspect of all of this?
Every penny of the Tax will be passed on to us, of course, but because the banks will certainly add their own charges on top:-
– The banks will actually make money out of this.
More bonuses for the bankers!