Friday 16 March 2012

Mansion tax - Kiling the goose.

Mr Cable is determined that someday, somehow, he will soak the rich. His preferred method is a 'mansion tax.' A tax on property that has a value of £2 million pounds or more.
{It was going to be one million pounds, and Vince even said as much, before someone reminded him that in his own constituency of Richmond on Thames, which has one of the highest property prices in England, a 4 bed, end of terrace is £950,000. Vince backpedaled and blustered enough to look foolish and to blow his 2009 conference. He has never really recovered.}

Cityunslicker made the point recently that Taxing 'wealth'{as opposed to income} only makes it disappear. He is correct. And history proves this.

The wealthy landowners and aristocracy of England had been rich for centuries. Super rich from the time of the industrial revolution which did as much for agricultural mechanisation as it did for industrial. The wealth was vast. Income tax had only been introduced in 1842 at 3p in the £, and virtually all thee working classes were exempt. The enourmous wealth created through land ownership, agriculture, textiles, finance, trade, shipbuilding and on to railways, mining and industrialisation once the industrial revolution kicked in had often been used to create magnificent, palatial, stately homes and mini palaces. Beautiful gardens and acres and acres of lands were available for the elite.

The almost forgotten agricultural slump of the 1870's and 1880's devastated the aristocracy of Britain. 7 out of 10 harvests were poor or very poor. They were unable to increase farm prices as would usually be the case due to the incredible production of the new American prairies that were now importing into Europe. Farm prices actually fell by more than half at a time when UK crop yields were very low. The landowners and tenant farmers faced ruin. This was the beginning of the huge population shift from country to towns. Agriculture wasn't making the money. There was no work. Villages shrank to population levels not seen since the plague.

At this difficult time for the gentry, William Vernon Harcourt, Gladstone's chancellor, introduced death duties.
The tax he introduced was a fairly modest 8% tax on estates over £1 million on the death of the owner. He refused, despite the concerns of all Tories and many Liberals, to consider any concessions to this tax. If two owners died in quick succession the £80k tax applied on a million to each.
This was £80,000 at a a time when a good head cook, in a stately home, might earn £40 a year.
Only about 5% of the country earned more than £1,00o a year.

It was a death blow to the landed classes. Their wealth drained from their estates and into the government. Land was sold. Estates divided up. The art, jewels, statues and heirlooms were sold off to pay the horrific costs of owning such an enourmous house and its upkeep in the first place, and to pay the taxman. On the wiki page of inheritance tax says - introduced in 1894 - effective in breaking up large estates. It certainly was.

The American wife, as in Downton Abbey became so commonplace amongst British Lords as almost to be a cliche. America had the wealth. Britain had the titles. British aristocracy rushed to America

Because the tax was so easy to collect, and everyone loves a tax that doesn't apply to them {57% of Londoners, where the mansion tax will hit hardest, are in favour of a mansion tax} the tax was raised continually. It reached 60% in 1939 from a government desperate to pay for the next war, before it had paid for the last one. In 1948 the tax was 75% on estates over £1 million.

Stately Homes were suddenly all but extinct. No one wanted them. They could no longer be afforded. They became so worthless that many were left to fall down or knocked down, or even burnt down. About 2,000 country real mansions disappeared between 1890 and 1950. The National Trust and English Heritage preserved about 200 homes and estates that now benefit us all, not just the super rich.

I'm not asking anyone to shed tears for the old aristocracy, anymore than I'm asking anyone to have a heart for the poor oligarch's finances. In 1870, 80% of the land was owned by just 7,000 families. Incredibly unfair.

I'm illustrating that 'wealth' isn't income.

There is a group in the UK who, as an average, receive 80% of their income from subsidy. They receive very generous tax exceptions not available to the general public. Fuel tax is paid at a greatly reduced rate. Other fuel duty exemptions also apply.
They receive payments for doing their job and other payments for not doing it. Their home is included as indistinguishable from their business, so all appliances, utilities, expenses, insurances, can be claimed as 100% expenses.


A farm can also obtain grants for woodland, wind farms, solar panels, make money from storage, leisure and other commercial activities besides farming.
A 500 acre farm will cost around £3 million in the UK. And, in most cases, it attracts a reduction of the usual 40% inheritance tax through the Agricultural Property Relief (“APR”). APR reduces the value of agricultural property charged to inheritance tax by 100%, making them exempt from the tax.

This is because most farms don't make much money. Some £25,000 declared PA. The value is in the farm itself. If inheritance tax was applied there wouldn't be any farms left within two generations.

To those who suggest that Mr Cable is only putting a 1% tax on the wealthiest of the wealthy, and only at £2 million quid, I refer to Mr Harcourt's 8% on a million. He taxed just 8% death duty on a property worth over 20,000 times the average wage.

Today, that tax is inheritance tax. Payable at 40% on property worth £325,000. {Just 12.5 times the average UK salary .}

The fabian society say only 8% of homes pay inheritance tax. - That's still 1 and 3/4 million homes. And they never , ever consider location. On Rightmove, in Rhyl, there are just 5 properties OVER £350,000. In Addlestone, Surrey, not somewhere you'd choose to live if you could afford somewhere better, there are 60. And Rhyl is 5 times larger than Addlestone.

Its a bad tax Vince. It is like inheritance in that it takes no account of income, so destroys accumulated wealth.. It will be destructive.
So forget it. Unless termination of the property class is your long term aim. Which, I suppose it may well be.

For the historians
The tale of William Vernon Harcourt.
Harcourt was from a centuries old, huge landowning, stately home living, Tory family. Aristocracy of the bluest blood. it was considered treason when he decided to join the liberals. When he introduced his tax many in parliament believed it was because he stood almost no chance of inheriting his family estates himself.
However In March 1904, the death of his heir-less nephew, meant he succeeded to become sole heir to the family fortune. He found that the estate was in deep financial crisis, especially after having to pay the death duties he himself had introduced, and he died six months later. His own heirs were one of the first families to pay the 'double whammy' tax that their father had introduced.

His son Lewis married an American, Mary Ethel Burns, niece of J.P.Morgan the financier-banker.
He gave her £52,000 to renovate Nuneham Park, to save it becoming a ruin.
A story of almost perfect irony.


Limp Dumb said...

Are the good people of Addlestone better than those of Rhyl and vice versa.

Sitting on an asset to see it bubble is not thrusting capitalism - it's theft from the current younger generation - and should be taxed to the max.

Electro-Kevin said...

There is intense competition for property in some areas.

Some properties are 'blocked' by people lucky enough to have been in them before they boomed but who are uncompetitive and unproductive themselves.

I thought the council tax was a 'mansion' tax but clearly this isn't enough to make people move out of houses when they are not really competitive enough to keep them.

This means that workers on competitive salaries are unable to find family houses near where they work because they are blocked by 80 year-old widows and suchlike.

If a 'mansion' tax gets this log jam moving how can that be a bad thing for productivity if it deplaces unproductive people from productive areas ?

Let the mansion tax sift out those who can't contribute to the dynamism of local economy. In fact don't just apply it to mansions - apply it to any area of house shortages, just at the margin where it makes giving up commuting viable.

What to do with the tax ? Pay down the deficit and be strict about it.

What of wealthy Russians buying up such properties ? Well that's a separate problem to be dealt with.

"It's not little old ladies at fault for mass immigration and the added pressure on housing. Why should they suffer ?"

That's correct. It isn't their fault and it is unfair.

But that's the system which we have adopted (against public will) and this country simply cannot afford to have essential housing blocked because of sentiment and attachment.

We have dismantled the borders and exposed the country to the full rigours of the big wide world and a heartless place that is too as most working class people are finding out.

Why should the middle class escape that ?

Perhaps they might start getting annoyed about the issue and start doing something about it.

Electro-Kevin said...

*displaces - not 'deplaces'

Electro-Kevin said...

The tax becomes cash neutral to workers because it makes commuting less viable. It contributes to their quality of life.

The present owners downsize at a more sensible age. House prices will adjust according to affordability.

That has to be a win win, no ?

Bill Quango MP said...

OK. Its a long piece and it discusses two different taxes, so its easy to lose the premise.


EK - No one moved into the fat Victorians mansions. They were destroyed. They decayed.
One magnificent country estate was just given to the newly established territorial army as an HQ.
They couldn't afford it, so used it for target practice.

What is this log jam?
EK: You yourself are considering a bigger house? Is some oligarch blocking your ability to buy one?

IF there were a mansion tax , as envisaged it would do what exists now with stamp duty bands - £1,999,999 Large demand -
next realistic price - £3 mil?

Electro-Kevin said...

I don't live in an area of high pressured housing demand.

Let's drop the word 'mansion'

That would allow a lot more perspective.

The country is in the shit. We have a left wing PM with a left wing deputy.

Their policies are to keep giving foreign aid, keep allowing mass immigration, fail to cut the state as much as they should ...

So the money has to come from somewhere.

We are 'all in this together' after all.

And so we ought to be if Tory voters continue to vote in a Left wing Tory PM because they don't like the harshness of true Conservatism.

Now allow me to decouple the argument that 'big house' tax will kill the Golden Goose:

- more houses will become available. There will be a market correction to the benefit of wealth creators rather than wealth hoarders. And that is precisely how it should be.

- commuting becomes less of an incentive. Retirees in big houses don't commute and nor will they have to when they move out.

Clearly the situation is askew when people have to live so far from where they work.


It need not be so that we are killing the Golden Goose.

"What is this 'log jam' E-K ?"

Well you've told me already:

It's those people who were 'unfortunate' enough to find themselves in a big house that went up in value and who would be unable to afford a property tax.

It's a huge shit sandwich, I'm afraid.

With Leftist policies and economics in play we need to raise as much tax as we can.

It is how it is and not how I'd like it, I'm afraid.

Jan said...

OK so taxing wealth destroys wealth but that is indeed the point. It will even out the wealth distributon which has been distorted because of the uneven value placed on property in the last decade or so.

I grew up in the SE and made the mistake of accompanying my (now ex) husband to Wales. there is no way I can now afford to move back to the SE. If house prices even out a bit throughout the country that is a good thing surely. At the moment it would seem that Britain is in danger of polarising into the "haves" and "have-nots" according to where they live.

I don't think it will happen as the "haves" are mostly in London and SE and mostly vote Tory. Dave can't afford to upset them.

Bill Quango MP said...

EK - We aren't talking about the same things at all.

You seem to be thinking about a 5 bed semi with an oap in it. That old crone should shove off and make some room for a growing family that need to live in a decent area, close to work.

That is redistribution of super socialist proportions. Why not just allocate property by need? That's communism.

I'm talking about taxing wealthy people because they are wealthy.

Electro-Kevin said...

"With Leftist policies and economics in play we need to raise as much tax as we can."

Cameron voters (me, regrettably) and abstenters have caused this.

BTW. I've withdrawn our house from sale. Mrs E-K is heartbroken and very upset with me.

I am unsettled by the news about the railways and of the possible withdrawal of national pay bargaining. The possible withdrawal of interest only mortgages (which - with overpayments - would have made the move more affordable and was the method proposed by our broker)

We are very safe where we are. As it is we are running a knackered washing machine and have left a repair on the car for too long.

I can't see how moving to a woman's magazine home with 3x present debt is going to enhance our lives - though had I agreed I'd have been getting the blow-job of my life this weekend.

I DO know what denial is all about, Mrs E-K. Believe me.

Electro-Kevin said...

Your comment at 12.25 BQ

A £2m home falls into the upper middle class bracket BQ. Not the particularly wealthy, nor the aristocratic.

In fact they wouldn't be £2m if there weren't log-jamming by wealth hoarders rather than wealth creators.

But I say extend this policy in some form to lower priced houses too. Raise council tax on them (manage those funds raised though.) Incentivise movement in the housing market (instigate a correction perhaps) to enable those who can really invigorate the jobs markets as proven by their pay grade and ability to pay.

Wealth creators ?

Well we know that many of them are happy with a situation whereby taxes are used to subsidise the imported labour they choose to the tune of the funds for each unemployed person displaced by that choice.

This enables minimum wages to be continued to be paid in areas of high living costs.

Leaving the rest of us to compete with ever growing population levels.

I say we call their bluff.

The country went bankrupt with them in it any way. And I know millionaires pay a disproportionate amount of the tax ...

but fat lot of good it's done us.

Electro-Kevin said...

Perhaps I could sum it up succinctly:

If we're going to continue to be a nation of mass immigration of illiterates then there is no choice but to become a nation of high taxation.

Unless, of course, it's only the working class who suffer it.

Why should - in what purports to be a democracy - the 'wealth creators' be exempted from feeling that suffering ?

"They'll leave."

Well let them go. Because from where I'm sitting it will make no odds to me in the long run.

Anonymous said...

But we do need soething to prevent most of central London being bought by foreign oligarchs with money from a dubious source. They very often don't live there the money is just parked in the UK protected by our police and basically they contribute very little at all to the economy. The money is a lot safer than in their more turbulant home countries and they are prepared to have no gain other than any capital gain for securuty. In the meantime even the well heeled of London have to live in the sticks because they can't afford the inflated central prices.
A cost of owning a home of any sensible proportion will solve this problem, price depreciation (unlikely)
council tax (not enough) value tax as in the US ( can't see that happening)
shame we got rid of the good old rates at least everyone paid a proprtional tax with no artificial top stop.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Nope, you are completely and utterly wrong.

A tax on incomes reduces incomes, encourage evasion, pushes it offshore etc.

A tax on private wealth (shares, cars, paintings, bank accounts) reduces private wealth, encourages evasion, pushes it offshore.

A tax on the rental value of land has no impact on anything whatsoever, other than the incomes of people used to living off such 'welfare for the wealthy'. The rental value of land is not private wealth, it cannot be taken offshore, and all that is required to sustain it is a reasonably stable state and a modicum of public spending.

Mark Wadsworth said...

And don't confuse grand Victorian mansions with private wealth. If the owner lived off rental income and the rental income fell and the house becomes dilapidated, then that house was no more "private wealth" than the CD collection of a welfare claimant.

Electro-Kevin said...

Anon @ 4.36

Why should oligarchs buying up central London be a problem ?

Because I'm forever being told that oligarchs buying up British industry ISN'T a problem.

Nick Drew said...

a major part of the problem, as I see it, is that the vital need to make meaningful the slogan 'we are all in it together' was not acted on with sufficient clarity and vigour from the start

get your symbolism in first

& the very first thing that the coalition did should have been something so ostentatiously punitive towards guilty banksters as to make their heads spin (or indeed roll) and set the tone

(the tone would be a moaning noise emanating from banksters in serious pain)

and if they wanted to piss off to HK (which they don't) they could have done so with lighter wallets

all this faffing around with the political nuances and sensitivities of 50% tax rates - can we scrap it ? or will it send the wrong message - and mansion taxes on a tiny number of oligarch's houses in Chelsea, Hampstead and Richmond - would then be quite unnecessary & they could simply do what actually needs to be done

get your symbolism in first

I may have been celebrating England v Ireland ...

Bill Quango MP said...

Ek - Sorry for your felatio misfortune.
However, prices may fall and salaries may rise. No end to the housing slump in sight.

Jan: But the oligarchs and millionaires aren't taking your house in London? Were you planning to move to connaught square or Park lane? £30 million gets you a modest house there.
it was a housing boom and it effected almost the entire UK. But if you allow cheap credit - 100% self certificated mortgages and allow 2 million extra people in over the space of a few years, and have strict planning laws -- well?/

but I sympathies. I can't realistically return to London and get a similar property either. In fact, I no longer know anyone who lives there. They're all in the commuter belts.
When the squeezed middle started fleeing to France i was so very tempted. Could buy a house and a business pay off all debt AND have cash left over. But could not come back if it went wrong.
Sister In law, who did go, now lives in a 1 bed in london-on-Sea after her divorce.

Anon: Its just a red herring sureley? Are the 1 million billionaires in london? Are there more than 10,000? The number of properties in London worth £1 million was 123,236 -2010

i don't know how many houses or flats there are in london, but there are 27 million homes in England. - Say 10% in London = 2.7 million homes. So million pound homes are 5% of the total?

Is it the fault of foreign billionaires that a decent house in Bath or Richmond or Manchester costs a fortune? or is it 80 million people wanting to live where's there's work, leisure, transport, and not too many other people?

MW: Well, we were never going to agree on this. But taxatio does destroy wealth. its not all about rents and productivity but ability to pay. You know that if inheritance tax was levied on farms, even at a reduced rate, there woul;d be few no TESCO_EDF_POWRGEN farms bu the end of this century.

That's why government doesn't do it, despite farmers sitting on literally millions of pounds of wealth.
Imagine you owned 1,000 acres of flats. the government would be on you like locusts.

Bill Quango MP said...

ND - Why they didn't announce a five year bonus tax - A freeze on all state bank owned bonuses or whatever, I have no idea.
In fact the state banks have been frugal with their bonuses this year. Not that it gained any press attention.
{A relative of mine,very senior banker at one of the banks we now own, well used to £250,000 - £500,000 bonuses, got £40,000.
£35,000 of that was in shares.}

HMG should have done that themselves. And politically it was such a good attack - Gordon Brown, the bankers friend, let them sign up to super rewards and bonuses.

"I, Smiley Dave, will tax all cash bonuses over £50,000 at 95% - That stays until the banks have repaid what they owe, to you the taxpayer. The government that caused the financial crisis was to chicken to do it. I, unlike Brown, am not afraid of the banks. "
And some other guff.

CU was right. DC has forgotten how to be popular.
We will have to see what little George does.If its a 50% tax reduction to %40 then he's planning to gift Labour another club to hit the party of millionaires. A club with nails in.

CityUnslicker said...

MW - I never had really realised that you were a communist. But in its truest sense this is what LTV is - communism. A denial of the right to private property and instead repalced by a demand that all property be owned by the state and rented out as it isees fit (i.e. politicians will decide the value).

Yet as a Libertarian you think this is a good thing?

Budgie said...

BQ, a tour de force. CU, exactly right.

Why this fetish for new taxes? Have we all caught Brown's disease?

I want to see the state smaller (not disappear - some things are better done by the state, even with its inefficiencies). Extra (for it is always extra) taxation always encourages the statists.

Anonymous said...

And still, something like [b][u]16%[/b][/b] of all private housing stock is in the hands of 'investors'.
[i]This[/i] is what needs taxing.
Look at the BTL figures recently and what the FSA have said [i]"We are seeing anecdotal evidence of unregulated buy-to-let mortgages being used fraudulently as a replacement for regulated residential mortgage contracts, as borrowers and intermediaries seek to circumvent more stringent income and affordability check"[/i].

What youre seeing here is property becoming so unaffordable that people are having to resort to fraud just to buy a home. Mortgages in the real world are non-existent if you want to rely on salary multiples, only rental income will get you anything. So rents dictate values and values dictate rents.
Its a f*cking disgrace.
Every single house I've seen in the past year or so has been sold to pensioners or buliders/investors. Many are dumped back on the market in a few months at hugely elevated prices.
The second problem is the amount of baby-boomers living in houses they cannot afford.
They remortgaged during the boom and are now deep underwater. One landlord I know is underwater on 4 properties and has no hope of ever paying them off, yet with 'forbearance' from the banks he doesnt have to face up to the reality of his situation [b]and[/i] hes holding 4 properties that could be sold to people who need homes.
Similarily, something like 50% of outstanding mortgages are interest only. Hows that going to end?
Subsidising these feckless borrowers with extravagantly low interest rates is damaging the economy and can only ever work in the short term. These debts will come due at some point.
Thus taxing these idiots at [i]any[/i] level is a start.

CityUnslicker said...

Anon - as you say, this will end. When interest rates rise properly at some point in the next few years houseprices will move downwards for a long while - except in London, fed by overseas buyers seeking a store of value.

Limp Dumb said...

A final thought. Houses are an asset that attract no capital gains, hence the fetish for flipping we saw from our elected(?) MP's.

Make it subject to tax like income and you'll see the log jam clear as the cost of holding onto prime real estate in a bubble suddenly become clear.

Give incentives for job creation so that there are more first time buyers in real jobs. No need to build "affordable housing". It's out there being used as a stick to beat the young families.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

The simplest consequence of Wadsworth's land tax fetishism is it turns everyone into a serf and destroys the concept of private property.

anon and on and on said...

@Sebastian - lot of nonsense. Trotting out a load of old Thatcherisms like 'serf' is not an arguement. Why isnt this true of taxing ones labour or capital?

Land, labour, capital and enterprise are the pillars of the economy. 3 of them produce a return extraneous to their own value/cost and 1 isnt taxed. Have a guess which one that both cases applies to?

Budgie said...

SW is correct. An owner occupied house puts (on a very small scale) the owner on a par with the state. It is both a symbol and a practical outcome. Home ownership is part of the checks and balances that prevent the state becoming over powerful.

Statists, of course, don't like that (Limp Dumb, Anon and on, that means you). Hence why Stalin attacked the Kulaks (the landed peasantry) and took their homes off them, making them into serfs of the state.

Ian Walker said...

If some old dear was cooking a big roast dinner for six every day, eating one plateful, then scraping the rest into the bins, we would all be decryng the waste.

Do the same thing with the bedrooms in a house, and you're lauded as a sensible saver.

In the long-term, I think proper land value taxation (not Vince's politics-of-envy-tastic 'mansion' tax) is the way to go. It will end the crazy Cult Of Property that paralyses the British economy.

But I would much prefer to see a long-term, well thought out implementation plan to replace income tax with property taxes (or perhaps aim for a 50/50 mix) and for suitable transition relief for people who have been told all their lives that their property would be safe.

Fat chance of that, with the current crop of politicians

Budgie said...

There is no "Cult of Property. UK governments have continued to undermine our currency and our pensions. Most ordinary people are not rich enough to hold other assets - should there be a gold ownership tax, for instance? And people need somewhere to live anyway. Therefore a house becomes the only obvious and useful asset to own.

With a long term stable currency and no net immigration, house prices would be stable too.

Moreover the tendency of some commenters on here to feel they have a perfect right to decide how other people should spend their own money is both creepy and arrogant. MYDOB.

Bill Quango MP said...

I have to say I'm firmly in the Budgie camp.

There are 1.5 bedroom going unused in the BQ house. And the playroom that could house an entire immigrant family in bunkbeds. Maybe I should be compelled to move?

But its my house. I bought it. In fact, moving 4 times in 10 years for work, I paid the chancellor over a hundred thousand pounds for nothing. He did bugger all for me, for that money. Just took it because I needed to buy a new home. So He's had his tax from me. Not only had it, but forced me to take out more debt to pay his tax.

Which is just what the mansion tax could end up doing.

hovis said...

Great article BQ, wealth taxes do destroy wealth, and the 'mansion' tax is pathetic lib dem-ery at it's idiotic worst.

Many comments seem to be driven by self interest cloaked as for the common good - it was ever thus?
But it's the desire to impose these by force of the state I find distasteful.

Not a fan of LVT as it de-facto does nationalise land as SW suggests.

Interesting to see all the comments about 'old grannies' 'blocking' and 'stealing' simply by staying in homes they own. SO house prices have been bid up by too loose central bank policies and it's the owner's fault? - madness.

Finally Ian Walker's comment about food takes the biscuit. It doesn't matter how many dinners the nominal old lady cooks,- it's none of your f-ing business, is cooking dinner to made illegal? just what are you seriously proposing? (yes I know it is the housing allegory, but it shines a light on your desire to control and impose by force - quite disgusting.)

Bill Quango MP said...

Hovis. agree . Especially on the granny dinner time point.

Very surprised to find a majority in the comments in favour of taking the equity from homeowners.

I expected about 70% in favour of a mansion tax, as that what the polling suggests and people are always in favour of a tax on someone else.

But attacks on a pensioner for buying a house for £5k in 1952 and benefiting from world inflation.

me again..anon said...

"But attacks on a pensioner for buying a house for £5k in 1952 and benefiting from world inflation." - More emotive, chest-beating arsery.
'Attacks on a pensioner' - top class Daily Mail-ism, right there.
What use is an inflated home valuation to a pensioner? Its only any benefit to their heirs. "I bought my car for a tenner, now its worth a million pounds" - thats fk all use if I need my car though, isnt it?

"And people need somewhere to live anyway.Therefore a house becomes the only obvious and useful asset to own." - Some people put forward some really stupid arguments.
Firstly housing isnt an asset. It only becomes so as a result of fart-headed government policies and even then it does nothing useful beyond its utility value, its purely a speculative punt on appreciating prices, one fostered as cost free to governments.
"UK governments have continued to undermine our currency and our pensions" - they have done this as a response to the massive levels of debt built up in the economy on the back of house price speculation.
What has happened in Ireland, the US and (currently) in Spain, and was never allowed to occur in continental Europe, will put their economies light years ahead in the coming years. Massive misallocation of resources into comm and res property has drained the economy of capital. Trying to keep the plates spinning is doomed. Just get over it.

James Higham said...

What upsets me most is:

1. The utter greed - the greedy little eyes viewing all that nice wealth;

2. The belief that "it" is there for the taking.

Preserve us from such people as Cable.