How many people do you personally know who earn more than £150,000 a year?
Your boss, perhaps? Nobody at all? Well, that's not surprising, because the percentage of the entire UK population that can lay claim to that amount of dosh is a mere 1.5%.
That's probably why people like the Daily Mail and Tory toffs like the Telegraph's Simon Heffer are fuming. The Government, in fact, has finally subscribed to the Lib-Dems' old idea of adopting a 50p top rate, meaning that the super rich elite will have to pay a tiny bit more in tax. Heffer in the Telegraph describes it as "a savage and pointless attack on Middle England", with the added remark that "the idiocy, bigotry, tribalism and sheer class hatred of the Budget [will squeeze] the middle classes". No wonder. Senior opinion columnists like himself are rumoured to earn between £200 and £700k per year.
The joke, however, is that plonkers like Heffer truly believe that his lot are "Middle England", when even the Daily Mail reminds their readers that "[T]hose hit by the new high rate include entrepreneurs, City workers, the Royal Family, High Court judges, top managers and celebrities".
Are those Middle England? Does that involve the Prime Minister himself who, with an income of £194,250, "will see his tax bill soar by an estimated £7,957 a year"? Or Premiership footballers "likely", like the Mail says, to be hit particularly hard [with] their average basic salary of £1.2 million [meaning] a tax rise of £106,000 a year"?
Note that Daily Mail brands these people Britain's "top talent". We can only presume they're referring to the top bankers or the same 'risk-taking' entrepeneurs who took risks with other people's cash - ploughing the country into the biggest crisis in sixty years. Quite a joke when you consider the same paper was recently involved in some serious bashing against the 2% pay rise sought by nurses, teachers, binmen, police officers and other public workers.
But this is not to say that Brown and Darling have come up with a decent budget. Welcome though it may be, a 50p top tax rate alone is not going to generate enough cash. Compare the £5.2bn that it would raise with the £5bn cost of the mega-unpopular ID card scheme, the £6bn of the hideous Super Database or the staggering £70bn of the Trident nuclear weapons system, none of which were hardly brought in by popular demand.
Yet, to quote the Guardian's Simon Jenkins: "It takes guts to sink a Trident submarine or clip a hundred million off an Olympic velodrome. It upsets the people ministers meet at dinner".