‘Earned’ vs ‘paid’

The Fat Bigot, as spotted by DK, has a Clarksonian rant about cars and driving.

To TFB’s credit, he’s not engaging in any “I’m too inept/lazy to actually look at the conditions around me, and so I got a speeding fine, and so the government are mean” patheticness – but he does go off on a massive silly rant about urban motorway speed limits (which are set to 40 or 50 because that optimises traffic flow, not because of T3h 3vilz…)

However, DK’s presentation of the rant provides a brilliant demonstration of the classic libertoonian fantasy, in which TFB is quoted as describing his car:

I earned the money to buy it. [...plus more which was, like, stolen by the government to waste on schools, hospitals, soldiers, and other awful things - PDF paraphrase]

Which DK concurs with as:

I’ve fucking paid for it

The difference between these two quotes, of course, is that DK’s one is correct and TFB’s is meaningless bollocks. In my ‘not writing pseudonymous shite on the Internet’ job, I get paid a lot of money. The idea that I ‘earn’ it, in a meaningful sense that’s independent of the government and society we have – and hence implicitly that I deserve all of it and that tax is an imposition – is complete and utter rubbish.

(and no, I have never worked in the public sector – that’s not the point at all. If you have a well-paid private sector job in a developed economy, then the spending decisions, regulatory rules, educational priorities and economic policies of current and prior governments still have *far* more impact on the fact that you’re doing well than your own abilities. To believe otherwise is ridiculous, nonsensical hubris…)

3 thoughts on “‘Earned’ vs ‘paid’

  1. FatBigot says:

    Indeed you do paraphrase, PDF, and in doing so then seek to justify your dismissal of my point by reference to your distorted paraphrasing, rather than by reference to what I said.

    An interesting technique, but bereft of both substance and honesty.

  2. PDF says:

    “I earned a lot more besides but only had a certain amount to spend because I had paid vast sums in income tax and national insurance.”

    Please explain how the substance of that quote is different from my paraphrase?

  3. FatBigot says:

    The short answer is: because I said nothing about the fairness or otherwise of the tax on my gross income nor about how that tax is spent.

    I was commenting on the iniquity that the way I choose to use something I bought with my nett income is under threat despite my chosen use causing no harm to anyone other than me. The government had its share before I bought the car, it also has its share before I buy ciggies and then takes a further share when I buy ciggies. Fair dos, that’s the system, but once it’s had it’s share it is for me to decide what I do with the money. For it to interfere with (as I see it) my harmless use of those things is a different matter, and it is that matter I was addressing.

    I understand the general point you make to be that someone who bills his customer £1,000 when he knows he has to pay 40% income tax on the sum should consider £600 as his earnings from that transaction not £1,000. That is a sound point so far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far.

    I would suggest it is artificial to say the other £400 was not earned by the person issuing the invoice. The customer did not pay £600 for the service provided and £400 for income tax, he paid £1,000 for the service. That £400 then goes to the government does not mean it was not earned prior to being paid in tax. One can test the point by simply changing the tax rate to 30% or 50% – the same work was done and the same fee was on the invoice, that £100 more or £100 less is payable in tax makes no difference to the transaction and, therefore, makes no difference to what was earned. The only difference is to the amount deducted from earnings.

    You also attribute to me the opinion that: “I deserve all of it and that tax is an imposition”. I did not say that and have never said that in my life, you have no ground for imputing that irrational and illiberal opinion to me. Perhaps you are aware of the weakness of your position on this point, perhaps that is why you did not complain about my description of your paraphrasing as bereft of honesty.

    You then enjoyed a merry rant about the limitation of my abilities. Again there is truth in what you said because the ability of anyone to be paid a certain amount of money in return for a given amount of work is a function of the economic system in which we live and, on a wider level, of the social and educational system from which he has benefitted. The mistake you make is to imply that I either think or have ever suggested otherwise.

    Perhaps your most glaring error was the use of the phrase: “The difference between these two quotes”. The only words you quoted from me were: “I earned the money to buy it”. By definition, the money I used to buy it could only be nett income. DK said: “I’ve fucking paid for it”. By definition he is saying it was paid for out of nett income. By commending what DK said you necessarily accept that nett income has been earned “in a meaningful sense”. Since I said the same as him, you must, therefore, accept that it is your comment that deserves the description: “meaningless bollocks”.

    Incidentally, I agree with you on the traffic flow point, I just doubt that they have got it right on the A13 and on a number of other similar roads I have used. That was the point of what you describe as my “massively silly rant”. And you never know, I might be at least partially correct, these things are not set in stone.

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