Reading a biography of world famous actor Richard Burton is mesmerising and thought provoking to say the least. His ascent from more than humble beginnings in the South Wales coalfield to world fame and riches is a revelation; as are his boozing, womanising and general hell raising.
Burton's life is a tale of blessings, mistakes, decision making, both right and wrong and a host of lessons to be learned for any normal student of human behaviour or economics. This does not include budding politicians or members of the 'progressive' political establishment; whatever they are taught is irrelevant, they will pursue the same old failed ideology no matter what.
Trying to cover the life of Richard Burton here would be pointless, however some references have to be made to illustrate the point.
Apart from the trauma of his mothers death, a drunken father and grinding poverty he worked horrendous hours to hone his voice and acting skills in order to complement his natural talent; they started to bear fruit with a scholarship to Oxford University where his talent was spotted and from that point onwards the legend began.
His reputation as a stage actor grew to the point where his acting started to attract an income undreamed of in his coalfield home and also the attention of the taxman.
British politicians of the day, both Labour and Conservative, were obsessed with inequality and the redistribution of wealth and as a consequence they set about their stupidity with gusto.
Tax rates over eighty percent for individuals were not uncommon. In 1957, the year when Richard Burton declared enough was enough, the systematic looting of his livelihood left him with a measly six thousand pounds from his annual earnings of eighty-two thousand. Yes, you read that right - he was allowed to keep just six thousand of his eighty-two thousand pound earnings!
He jumped ship to Celigny in Switzerland leaving the British Chancellor of the Exchequer with eighty percent of nothing. Great Britain's loss was Burton's gain and he remained wealthy and domiciled in Switzerland where his mortal remains lay to this day.
One would have thought that the Labour government of 1974 would have learned the lessons of high taxation and Richard Burton's exile but not so. In his first budget three weeks after taking office, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, a former communist named Denis Healey , set about implementing a socialist program of wealth redistribution by increasing taxation to penal levels.
Corporation tax on companies was increased by twelve percent to fifty-three percent.
VAT of ten percent was added to petrol (gasoline) and also applied to sweets, ice cream, soft drinks and crisps (potato chips)
Duty on beer, wine and spirits was increased by one pence, ten pence and twenty pence respectively.
Tax relief for interest on loans used to buy second homes was withdrawn.
Income tax was raised by three percent taking the basic rate to thirty-three percent. A new tax band at thirty-eight percent was introduced and the top rate was increased from seventy-five percent to eighty-three percent. (75% to 83%)
That's not all, the tax on 'unearned' income was set at ninety-eight percent (98%). 'Unearned' income consisted of investment income, dividends, interest etc.
(See here and here)
The budget was a disaster whereby a whole host of entertainers, businessmen, companies and investors jumped ship and joined Richard Burton in exile on more taxation friendly shores.Two years later Great Britain went bust and was forced to go crawling to the IMF for loan.
It took over a decade of financial discipline and free market economics under the guidance of Mrs. Thatcher for the economy to recover from the Labour years of socialist economic illiteracy.
Unfortunately it wasn't to last. The Tony Blair government of 1997 had learned absolutely nothing from the socialist disasters of the past and spent the country into bankruptcy even after imposing over one hundred new taxes.
A degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) from Oxford University has become a uniting factor among the ruling political class in Great Britain. Regardless of whether they are members of the Conservative, Labour or the ridiculously named Liberal Democrat parties, whether they claim to be capitalists, socialists, communists or 'progressives', this qualification appears to be the key to political power.
Add to this some strategically positioned PPE graduates in the world of business, the establishment and the media, including the state broadcaster, otherwise known as the BBC, it should become blindingly obvious that there does exist a political elite in Great Britain who have learned how to pervert democracy and usurp power.
It's difficult not to notice that this modern political elite regardless of party allegiance, look the same; they have the same mannerisms and they talk the same. They speak in the same incomprehensible language which is riddled with inanities, soundbites, slogans and outright lies.
Whatever they teach on this PPE degree course it obviously isn't based on common sense, arithmetic or experience in the real world. This supposedly educated political elite have not learned from the failures of the past and subsequently repeat the same disastrous errors.
This failed policy can be described by four easy words:
Tax, Spend, Borrow and Debt. As always the resultant consequence is an economic crisis of some description which usually includes bankruptcy, recession, a currency crisis, a credit crunch, unemployment and a financial downgrade for the many.
At time of writing, David Cameron's Conservative government is borrowing in the region of one hundred billion per year with the national debt standing at 1.4 trillion and rising at approximately two billion per week.
Despite their rhetoric and spin the government refuses to cut spending in areas that would affect the imposition of their 'progressive' agenda or the international commitments they have made to the global 'progressive' elite, i.e the UN mandated 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid along with sixty-four billion per year to the EU bureaucrats.
It would be novel if the Professors at Oxford University include the experience of Richard Burton, one of their most famous alumni, at the hands of politicians in an effort to make their renown PPE degree more effective in preventing the economic disasters its holders always achieve.
In conclusion, no article on socialist/progressive stupidity would be complete without a mention of France and the election of Francois Hollande on an openly socialist ticket. Neither the French people nor their economically illiterate President have learned a thing from history, nor do they possess an ounce of common sense.
They were warned that his promise to increase taxes on the 'rich' to seventy-five percent would result in a migration of talent and capital but they went ahead and elected him regardless.
And so it came to pass, Hollande did what he promised and, led by actor Gerard Depardieu, business people, entertainers, innovators and even footballers all upped stakes and left. See a previous article on tax exiles here.