Andrew Castle is Leading Britain's Conversation.
8 May 2017, 12:39
When a management consultant argued against tax rises for people on more than £80,000, James turned the argument back on him.
Dan in Shepherd's Bush phoned-in in defense of higher earners.
He said that he, and most of his friends, earn more than £80,000, and that they deserve this because of how hard they work.
"We work extremely hard. 15, 16 hours a day, often working at the weekends. I don't think that's reflected in the wider population."
James pointed out that many of those in the top five per cent of earners will be there because of inheritence and dividends on investments, which don't require much work. James said how hard you work has nothing to do with how much tax you pay.
"I’m not suggesting that everyone who works hard.
"I’m suggesting that when I hear about teachers working 16 hours a day and paramedics working in circumstances you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, I reject the conflation… that you work harder by definition than people who earn less than you."
Dan said he recognised that some people on low incomes work very hard, but that everyone he knows on high income works very hard.
He said he agreed that people who earn more should pay more, but he said it needed to be fair.
“I feel we’re getting to a point now where if taxes went up further than they are, it would feel distinctly unfair to me.”
James said that the question wasn’t about fairness as Dan phrased it. It was about accepting that the country doesn’t have enough money, so where do you go for it? The people who have got lots or the people who haven’t?
“The people who have the most should pay the most, but having a binary threshold at £80,000 feels like I’m being penalised.” Dan said.
“Well then earn more and you won’t feel penalised. You’ll be able to suck it up and move on. Work harder, Dan!” James told him, “That’s your own message, mate, and I think you realise how hollow it sounds.”