Tax the Loafer, not the Loaf

This 1910 political poster was made by either the Liberal Party or The British League in support of David Lloyd George’s attempt to pass the ‘People’s Budget' of 1911. This sought to impose taxation on large, landed estates which would fund better services for those on lower incomes. The idle rich- the 'loafers'- were to be higher taxed rather than the bread of the poor in the form of tarrifs or import controls. 

Quarrelling about who should pay more tax- and who should benefit from it- remains as hot a potato in our dreary decade as it was at the time of Edward VII. Today, swathes of people on benefits contribute little in taxation while millionaires and corporations at the other end employ smart accountants or foreign HQs to minimise what they cough up. It is the people in the middle who tend to feel the squeeze. The New Right of the 60s and 70s described tax as a form of theft, but from which there was no redress. Arguably, the redress is found at the ballot box. Yet I think we should consider ourselves carefully as the next General Election approaches: if we are wanting better services while wanting others to pay for them rather than ourselves, are we thieves of the heart?