Another Reason Why Political Satire Is Nearly Impossible Now

CNBC reports:

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.

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9 Responses to Another Reason Why Political Satire Is Nearly Impossible Now

  1. James K says:

    Yeah, I really pity the guys who do The Onion. And Yes Minister would be nearly impossible to recreate today, reality is just too ridiculous.

  2. Matty says:

    You’re missing the full irony here. Under the existing Pay As You Earn system the Inland Revenue tells employers how much tax to deduct from the paycheck but as recently revealed they have been systematically getting it wrong and large numbers of people are getting letters saying they paid too much or too little tax (guess which ones the government is giving priority to?). Clearly since they could not competently handle the level of power they already have the only solution is to give them more.

  3. James Hanley says:

    Well, I guess we could at least say that the government’s starting to do its own work, rather than force employers to do so…

    But since that wouldn’t reduce the number of private sector employees needed to run the firms’ pay system in the first place, it appears to require an overall increase in the number of people employed in the wage/tax process just to accomplish the same amount of work, demonstrating yet again the anti-productivity tendencies of government.

  4. Matty says:

    Good point I hadn’t thought of the increase in people. In that case the proposal probably won’t go forward. The government is already trying to sell spending cuts that will probably involve public sector job losses and are unlikely to risk the public anger of at the same time recruiting to the least popular part of the civil service

  5. James Hanley says:

    The bank transfer from the government idea would go over really badly in the U.S., I’d bet. We’d have some people claiming it meant everyone was actually working for the government, others claiming that the government was taking all the money we earned and only giving back a portion, and still others claiming that it was the first step toward the mark of the beast, and that soon they’d require everyone to have a mark on their hand or forehead to receive their money back.*

    * Back around 1979 or ’80, our Sunday School teacher told us that the government had planned that everyone would have to have such a mark by 1984, or you would no longer be allowed to engage in bank transactions. It scared the holy bejeezus out of me. Then, when it didn’t happen, it led me to become rather skeptical about such claims. It may have been the initial factor in my eventual move away from the church.

  6. Matty says:

    Woah, just when I think I’ve got my head around the Merkin culture you drop something like this mark of the beast stuff. I have friends and relatives who are evangelical Christians some even going as far as young Earth creationism but the only Churches I can imagine preaching that would be the sort that have all their members live in a special compound to avoid outsiders.

  7. Michael Enquist says:


    Not even close. I recall that the idea was much more prevalent for mainstream Christians in the early 80’s, since the millenium was still to come and Christians were still hoping (?) that the events of Revelations were going to play out in their lifetimes.

    It’s interesting that Mr. Hanley’s church teacher happened to be focussing on 1984 as well. I recall that some folks, and not necessarily the tinfoil-hat crowd, in the early ’80’s were also worried about how prophetic Orwell would really turn out to be. He was quite on target, but just a little early – I’m looking at you: “War on Terror,” “War on Drugs,” “War on Christmas,” and all your “War on…” friends.

  8. Matty says:

    To be fair I was a small child in the 1980s but still my point was the difference between American and British Christians in this regard. My Christian acquaintances in the UK are very reluctant to endorse ‘signs’ in fact one once explained to me that all divine or demonic intervention had ended once the New Testament was complete so any such claims should be dismissed as unchristian. Add to that the fact that they tend to keep their politics and religion separate and the whole thing looks increasingly alien to me.

  9. Matty says:

    Oh and Orwell was almost exactly on target once you realise that in order to keep the book in the fiction category 1. he reversed the 4 and 8, and 2. he replaced the Soviet Union with a fictional Oceania. Really a disturbing amount of that shit really hapened right down to the bits about rewriting history.

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