Socialist Worker

‘Tax the rich’ is just the start of what’s needed

Issue No. 2771

Tax the rich then get rid of their system

Tax the rich then get rid of their system (Pic: Romain/Flickr)


The Tories this week made workers pay more from their wages so the super-wealthy could protect their inheritances. No wonder that the alternative of taxing the rich is hugely popular.

Even Labour leader Keir Starmer was eventually dragged into writing to Boris Johnson to say, “Those with the broadest shoulders should pay more.”

“Broadest shoulders” is Starmer’s pathetic attempt at hitting the rich, while also keeping them on his side.

In any case, taxing the rich is just the start.

It shouldn’t mean a slightly above average income tax rate for the highest earners, or a one‑off levy.

Taxing the wealthy means taking all the loot they’ve grabbed, trousered and stolen.

During the pandemic—when homelessness spiked and many workers were forced to live on just 80 percent of their wage—Britain created a record number of new billionaires.

How billionaires grab our money
How billionaires grab our money
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And these billionaires have got £290 million richer every day during the Covid-19 crisis.

Why should they keep a penny of it?

Demand 

Why should they be allowed to pass on vast wealth, generated from the sweat of workers and the existence of society, to their chosen inheritors?

We have to fight to rid ourselves of the system that produces wealth for some on such an eye watering scale, while leaving others in abject poverty.

Capitalism isn’t “broken” because it makes the poor pay while the rich hoard. It’s in its nature to produce vast riches for a few and low pay for most.

As the world’s richest individual Jeff Bezos revealingly admitted after his recent space flight, “I want to thank every Amazon employee because you guys paid for all this”.

And it’s why those who support capitalism are never going to demand the abolition of billionaires.

It would mean a confrontation with the fundamentals of the system.

Starmer is ineffective because he can never say capitalism has to go.

The ruling political elite’s interests are also those of the rich. They run in the same circles, or are the same people.

Upping taxes on earnings, property and inheritance would certainly mean more money for ordinary people.

But this won’t happen easily as the bosses will protect their system.

The class warfare intensified by the Tories this week should be a spur to more struggle, more resistance, more demands for big pay rises, more determination to overthrow capitalism.

It’s right to say tax the rich. But it’s not just about taxing the rich, but ripping up the entire system that creates their wealth and protects it for them.


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