(Originally written 12th February 2011)
What Are Obscene Levels of Pay and Bonuses?
That, of course, still leaves the question of what level of income counts as being obscenely high on that definition. I understand that the average annual household income in UK at present is somewhere in the range £20,000 to £30,000 (I don't know the precise figure, and for this purpose it is not important). While I would not be prepared to pick on a specific figure and say anything below it is acceptable and anything above unacceptable, I would certainly say that incomes of £500,000 per year and above are obscene when average incomes are so much lower. I simply do not believe that anyone's contribution to society is anything like that great, no matter what they do or how good they are at doing it.
Who Receives These Excessively High Levels of Income?
Why Should We Do Anything About Them?
What is highly desirable is that the gap between the highest and lowest incomes is not too large. It needs to be large enough to ensure that those who can and are willing to contribute most to society receive what is generally accepted to be a fair reward, but no more than that. This concept is, clearly, rather vague, but that is unavoidable. Precision in such things is never going to be possible, but acceptance of the principle in determining the law and government policies is essential - and totally lacking in the present government (and its recent predecessors).
Is Income Tax the Answer?
Legal Controls on Rates of Pay
Precautions would be needed to prevent avoidance of the rules, such as the definition of groups of companies along similar lines to that used for tax purposes, but this would not be a major difficulty.
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