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Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
UK to return to Serfdom 
22nd-Sep-2010 09:12 am
I'm not really being sarcastic: instead, I read that the UK government has thought of having all employers send paychecks directly to the government, which would take out what it wants, and then return to the worker what they think he deserves. Read that sentence again.

Then check out the article (excerpt only, please read in full):

The UK's tax collection agency is putting forth a proposal that all employers send employee paychecks to the government, after which the government would deduct what it deems as the appropriate tax and pay the employees by bank transfer.

In line with other notes about large government programs, brilliantly tailored to achieve their governmental ends, this passage stands out:

"If HMRC has direct access to employees' bank accounts and makes a mistake, people are going to feel very exposed and vulnerable," Bull said.

And the chance of widespread mistakes could be high, according to Bull. HMRC does not have a good track record of handling large computer systems and has suffered high-profile errors with data, he said.

The system would be massive in terms of data management, larger than a recent attempt to centralize the National Health Service's data, which was later scrapped, Bull said.

Can you see it now? "So sorry, Mr. Brown, it appears that our computer system accidentally deleted your bank's account and replaced it with someone else's. Yes, I know it has been going on for months. You've told me. I suggest that you ask the person whose account it was transferred to to refund you your wages. No, I can't tell you who that is. These records are confidential."
22nd-Sep-2010 07:11 pm (UTC)
That news item was published by a tabloid owned by a pornographer and notorious for false or exaggerated scare stories. It is as reliable as the Diana-was-murdered stories that same tabloid routinely publishes.
22nd-Sep-2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
Sadly, the news story was correct. It had a link in it to the report (PDF linked here), and if you look at section 5.6 of that report, you should see exactly what was reported as the goal: gross pay to government, they deduct what they decide is owed, balance to employee.

Even pornographers are entitled to get things right now and again. Even the UK government might, eventually, something. Though they might lose the paperwork.
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