Jingo from the Tax Payers' Alliance

My friend Matt Sinclair has pointed me to the Tax Payer's Alliance blog. I should declare an interest here - I am a taxpayer and no, I don't just mean VAT.

The latest post is a round-up of recent press coverage that the TPA like. It runs
Hollywood hard-man Bruce Willis interviewed in The Guardian:

"Q. Which living person do you most admire, and why?

I most admire the young man or woman who is fighting overseas. I don't need to know his or her name, but anybody who has a job that puts them in harm's way and potentially causes them to make the ultimate sacrifice, or to sacrifice any body part, for what they believe is their responsibility to their country, is my biggest hero...

Q. What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

A. Lower taxes."

OK, let's look at this in order. The person Bruce Willis admires most is the 'young man or woman fighting overseas'. It is certainly a brave thing to be prepared to go wherever you are sent and to face quite extraordinary risks. I wonder, though, why it is that particular person who is chosen. It is somewhat jingo; are the police in the more violent parts of the great American cities less brave? The social workers in those areas? There are a hundred other candidate types of people, but it is unfailingly the military who receive these accolades. I suppose I'm asking why the military occupies such a prominent position in the American national psyche; it is not the only brave, worthy or dangerous occupation.

As to the second question - Mr Willis is probably very, very rich. Rich enough, one might say, to make Cresus blush. He can well afford his own insurance payments and doesn't need a national or social health (or otherwise) insurance scheme. He is not exactly a passenger on the Clapham omnibus.



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