When Team Corbyn dared introduce in the UK Labour Party Manifesto a “Tax the Rich” proposal many held their breath, and were more than a little surprised that not only it did not send people into an anti-pinko frenzy but it actually got a lot of praise from respectable economists as something that makes real sense. And it got the votes too.
In fact there is a spreading rebellion against the neoliberal dogma, up to now accepted almost without discussion, that it is good to reduce the tax on corporations and rich people, shrink the state and exercise a kind of economic euthanasia of the less well off. (“Now we find out the real cost of austerity – our lives cut short” by Owen Jones for The Guardian).
Amongst the rebels a US city: ‘Tax the rich!’: Seattle’s new income tax on the wealthy sparks social-media firestorm.
“On Monday, Seattle passed an historic tax on some of the city’s richest residents, drawing a firestorm of reaction on both sides of the debate.
“The controversial measure, which was passed unanimously by the Seattle City Council, would levy a 2.25 percent tax on income above $250,000 a year for individuals and above $500,000 for couples — in a city wrestling with staggering economic growth and an increasing divide between the rich and the poor.
“Lauded by people who have long said Seattle’s tax system is among the most regressive and least transparent in the nation, the measure made headlines nationwide and drew swift reaction. It is expected to face a legal challenge.” (The Seattle Times)
The widening gap in life expectancy between rich and poor is not clear to most people. When discussing inequality the issues may be nice food, private healthcare and education, luxury. But inequality is robbing people of years of life: One of the places with the biggest gap in life expectancy – as has been widely reported following the Grenfell Tower fire – is Kensington and Chelsea in London.
“This is because of so-called social determinants. These cover factors such as housing, education, working conditions and poverty.
“Experts such as Sir Michael [author of the report] believe these are just as important, if not more, as anything else.
“And what determines these? Wealth. The richest people in Kensington and Chelsea live 16 years longer than the poorest.” (BBC)
We must be clear about this: life is a human right and anything that deprives people of their lives, be them wars or any form of violence including economic violence is a form of anti-humanism.