It may be arrogant to imagine that Brian Monteith’s piece on the follies of taxing the rich (Perspective, 27 January) was written as a response to letters from Ellis Thorpe and myself on the need for a fairer system of taxation in an independent Scotland.
If so, he misses the point. I don’t always agree with Ellis Thorpe on theological matters, but I’m sure we would both agree that taxing the rich is not just about economics (and Brian Monteith’s piece is somewhat light on evidence on this point) but also about ethics.
Is it, for example, ethical that a “hard-working” individual in the sport or entertainment business, or a “hard-working” investment banker, should earn more than an equally hard-working fire fighter or carer for frail, elderly people?
Ellis Thorpe’s letter (same day) makes the very valid point that it is unfair to constrain the incomes of the low paid but not those of the highest paid.
However, I have another suggestion for discussion: if simply taxing the rich more is unacceptable, why not require those with an income over an agreed annual maximum to nominate a charity of their choice to which the equivalent of their tax would be paid?
This would offer the very rich the illusion of philanthropy and maybe give some of them an insight into the struggles of the less fortunate.
(Dr) Mary Brown