The Man Tax Cometh

Polly Toynbee has a number of nauseating proposals for us this week. I know she has to make a living by selling newspapers; if only she could do it without appealing to the worst of humanity’s instincts and prejudices. After all, isn’t that what she attacks the rightwing press for doing, albeit to a different group of bogeymen and scapegoats?

Toynbee is now advocating compelling fathers to hand over 15% of their income once they get divorced. She cannot bring herself to means test this arrangement. Accordingly, a man whose wife earns more than he does, who leaves him for another man who earns more than he does, and has a daughter who also earns more than he does, would end up subsidising this multimillionaire household. Even without the celebrity daughter it’s still unfair (if you feel this example is too contrived, you are free to contact me to be corrected). I can’t see how this will not incentivise mothers to leave their husbands in favour of men earning fifteen percent more; you’d have to earn a lot to be safe.

Elsewhere in her piece, Toynbee resurrects the repulsive “man tax” of the former Swedish Communist party splinter group, Feminist Initiative. I’ve already criticised this nonsense briefly, on the grounds that not all domestic violence is carried out by men anyway, but here are some more of the many things which make this policy abhorrent and call into question the moral judgement of Toynbee and its other proponents: not all men are actual perpetrators, so why should they be punished? will not men be less disinclined from violence if they’ve already paid compensation fiscally? and would Toynbee support taxing any other genetically-definable groups, if membership therein were correlated with violent crime?

This latter is not so strained an analogy as might first appear: it’s not that all men commit violent crime, only proportionally more men than non-men. So too, even if not all dark-skinned people commit violent crime, but more dark-skinned people commit violent crime than the rest of the population, why not tax them too? What’s the principle distinguishing gender taxation from pseudo-racial taxation?

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