The usual suspects have taken over tehgrauniad letters column.
Andy Mayer has an interesting argument:
It is regrettable that Charles Kennedy has not yet seen the light on the 50p tax rate (Kennedy plans policy shift on taxation to woo floating voters, November 19). Aside from the usual arguments about taxing aspiration there is the point that those earning Â£100, 000 or more are those most able to influence their own remuneration. On the day after this policy is implemented they will have been hit by a tax rise of up to Â£1,000 for every Â£10,000 over Â£100,000 they own. They will demand or execute wage rises that compensate them for the tax rise. Those rises will be extremely disproportionate because for every additional Â£1 rise, there will be 50p going to the government. So far from contributing to social justice, the 50p rate makes inequality even worse.
Mayer here is taking the opposite view of Tony Blair, in that he claims that the 50p rate will increase tax revenues, not lower them. Personally, I’m a little sceptical however, for the simple fact that someone who has that degree of control over their own earnings will surely have already paid themselves as much as they believe they can possibly get away with. But he is right in so far as it is true that income tax is inflationary.
But please. Spare me this guff about about taxing aspiration. Few people aspire to incomes above Â£100,000, and we aren’t talking about 1960s style super-tax here. If you’re worried about taxing aspiration look at the other end of the scale. If the Tax Commission does its job properly, then the revenue raised by the 50p rate will be committed to flattening exactly that.