Friday, 13 March 2015

An Alternative to Red Nose Day...?

Now, I'll be honest with you - I'm not a big fan of Red Nose Day. In fact, I'm not really much of a fan of any of these TV charity events (Children in Need included).
Well, whilst I agree entirely with the idea of raising money for worthwhile causes (though wouldn't it be much better if we all agreed to add 1p to our income tax so that the burden of helping out good causes didn't fall just to the generous and conscientious?) I find it mildly repugnant that so many highly paid 'celebrities' from the entertainment world have the nerve to come on telly and implore everyone else to give as much as they can when, between them, they have enough money squirrelled away in HSBC Swiss bank accounts to solve many of the world's woes in a single blow.

So, that got me thinking...and that thinking eventually led to me coming up with this:
Wealth Re-Distribution Day
Yeah, I know, it'll need a catchier title...something like Blue Underpants Day when people can walk around town wearing blue underpants on the outside a la Superman...
Anyway, the name's not really important at the more. It's more about the concept, and that concept is as follows.
To start with, it's voluntary. To take part, you calculate how much money came into your household in the previous year (for those not working, that's how much benefits in total you received - for those working, that's how much you had left after the taxman took his portion).
You divide that number by 365, to give you a day's worth of money.
Your name and your day's worth of money joins everyone else's on a massive list, biggest amount at the top, the smallest at the bottom. Then, as if by magic, the list of amounts is reversed so that the biggest amount (that'll probably be Wayne Rooney, if he decides to play) goes to the person at the bottom of the list, the second-highest to the second lowest, and so on.
Minus 10% - that's the amount that we'll set aside from every person's amount so that good causes overseas can be supported.

Of course, there'll have to be a bit more detail in the rules and, because there'll undoubtedly be some people out there who'll look to abuse the idea and take advantage of it, there'll also need to be some kind of oversight (i.e. you'll have to agree to the possibility of having your calculation (and therefore your income) audited by KPMG or PWC, who'll naturally offer their services for free, because it's all for a good cause!)
But the underlying principle is, I believe, sound.
Just a day's worth of money,

Now, just for illustration purposes.
Wayne Rooney earns £350,000 a week (allegedly). If we assume he's paying his taxes (and doesn't squirrel his money away in a HSBC Swiss bank account), then he'll be bringing home around £200,000 a week or, to put it another way, £28,571 a day.
Imagine if that day's worth of Wayne's wealth (minus 10%) was re-distributed to a family in Swatham who live in a small two-up, two-down and can't afford to pay their heating bills - imagine what they could do with it!
Would Wayne really miss it? Somehow I doubt it.

Okay, so I know what you're thinking. There's a potential downside to this idea. What merit is there in a system which is likely to result in some of the feckless wasters of our society getting a bumper payday which they can then go out and blow on new shell-suits and a 95" flat-screen TV? Well, I'm not sure they'll get such bumper paydays - after all, if all the rumours are true about how much people on benefit are given, then they may end up in the top-half of the table, giving some of their 'hard-earned' benefits to a family where the two bread-winners are holding down five minimum-wage jobs between them.
But that might be a risk we have to take in order to get the thing working - it'll never be absolutely perfect.

So, what do you think?
Are you willing to sign up to the idea of putting forward one day of your income to see whether you'll be a giver or a receiver in Andy's Great Wealth Re-Distribution campaign?