The Minimal Social Unit?

On the day the government publishes its 'children's manifesto', and on the day it's revealed that 25% of British childre...

March 21, 2005

On the day the government publishes its ‘children’s manifesto’, and on the day it’s revealed that 25% of British children still grow up in poverty, here a crazy idea.

Replace personal income tax with ‘Household Tax’

All the evidence shows that children are better brought up in stable family-like units, but at the same time, the institution and the reality of families are disintegrating.

In this, the most secular nation on earth, the institution of marriage is merely a civil convention. But this civil institution has no backbone. It has no purpose. And it actually attracts financial disincentives.

If the government wants to protect children, it should try to ensure that the households within which they grow are as stable as possible, however that stability is acheived.

Equally, the government wishes to delay the individualisation of society, within which we will eventually inhabit the 59 million individual homes the government seems so intent on building within spitting distance of London.

Equally the government wishes to encourage flexible working.

Equally, they wish to promote gender equality and equality of religion and sexual orientation.

So why not use the power of a financial framework to achieve all these things.

Use Tax as a social instrument

How about introducing an option for people to opt for household taxation; not individual taxation…

You and your civil partner’s incomes are pooled and treated as a single entity with a 20% improvement over individual tax allowances.

Each time you switch official civil partners, the level of enhancement halves…but you are still rewarded for your commitment…

PS. I know this is a stupid idea. It encourages people to stay in abusive relationships. It encourage the poor and the rational to rush into early commitment. It penalises the socially disadvantaged, who cannot readily find a partner…

Nonetheless, we shouldn’t be afraid to play with social ideas…

The current rate of unravelment demands it…

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