Monday, September 20, 2010


Reason #1,576,984 on why I'm happy to be an American:  The UK is proposing that all gross paychecks now go directly to the government first, so that they can take out whatever taxes are necessary before direct depositing the money in the bank account of the worker who earned it. 

The interesting thing about the CNBC article reporting on this latest intervention by the state is not the reaction of the populace to such a proposal, nor the invasion of privacy by the state that is involved, because neither are mentioned.  The real issue seems to be the logistics of the proposal, and whether or not it is fiscally and logistically attainable.  This is stunning.  Heaven knows we americans wouldn't stand for such a suggestion.  Will the english people really allow this unprecidented grab of power?

Public sentiment aside, the bigger question right now seems to be if the central government can impliment a plan like this.  According to the reportage I've seen on the subject, the accumulation of data will be problematic, as well as security issues and timeliness.  They attempted an overhaul of the national health system that would have brought all of the county rolls into a centralized system, and ended up having to scrap the plan:

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.

Nothing like high profile errors that directly affect not just your weekly paycheck, but also your bank account in general.  I don't know about you, but the thought of the IRS with weekly access to my accounts is the stuff of nightmares. 

The CNBC article also mentions issues of security -  a program like that would be like catnip to thieves and hackers.   It also states that the current computer system and infrastructure would have to be completely overhauled, at an exorbitant cost to taxpayers.  There is a potential savings of hundreds of millions for businesses down the road, but that number is by far overshadowed by the cost of implimentation and upkeep. 

I still keep going back to what the english people think of all of this.  Are they so used to the central government intruding in their lives that this program, while an utter outrage to americans, is just par for the course over there?  Or will they rise up in protest to something like this? 

Perhaps another chapter of the International Tea Party movement is about to be born.  Welcome aboard, mates!

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