August 19, 2008 8:26AM

UK Cabinet Minister Urges “Morale Boosting” Tax Hikes on the Rich

The UK Health Minister wants a big tax increase on the rich in order to boost morale and demonstrate that Labour Party officials “understand what it is like to cope with rising food, fuel, and utility bills.” But if punishing Britain’s most productive residents actually is a way to boost morale for the rest of population, why not build a big coliseum and feed them to lions instead? Wouldn’t that be an even bigger “morale booster”? Needless to say, Minister Lewis does not bother to justify any of his assertions. He claims, for instance, that politicians can demonstrate their “understanding” of the plight of ordinary Britons by seizing more money from the so‐​called rich. Are British voters really that stupid? After all, if Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi raided the pockets of hedge fund managers or some other well‐​to‐​do group, I certainly wouldn’t think that they had a better understanding of what it is like for me to pay my mortgage and cough up tuition payments for three kids. Tax​-news​.com reports:

…UK Health Minister, Ivan Lewis caused controversy by suggesting that “morale boosting” tax increases for the country’s wealthy may be the way forward. Writing in the Sunday Times, Mr Lewis warned that as Labour’s popularity appears to be waning, it should take steps to protect the “mainstream majority” that make up its key supporters. “Our duty is to act decisively and make tax and spending decisions that show we understand what it is like to cope with rising food, fuel and utility bills,” Mr Lewis wrote, adding that: “If as a result of the current economic situation the only way to help hard‐​pressed middle‐​class families is to ask the higher earners to pay more, then serious consideration should be given to that.” Although the Health Minister did not specify the rate of increase that he thought would allow the government to provide “meaningful” assistance to middle class voters, reports in the UK media in the wake of the article have suggested that he would likely favour the suggestion put forward last month by former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Constitutional Affairs, and current Director of the New Local Government Network, Chris Leslie, which would see an extra ten pence in the pound imposed on earnings of more than GBP250,000.