Writing on Comment is Free today, Vince Cable argues:
There is now a compelling case for a high pay commission to measure the claims of top earners that their rewards are justified and necessary, even if they offend natural justice and our sense of fairness.
Britain increasingly resembles one of those developing countries whose economy and society are dominated by internationally mobile business managers and a pampered local elite. Most of the natives, outside the prosperous enclaves, count themselves lucky to have a job.
There is nothing intrinsically offensive to most people about talented inventors, entrepreneurs, performers or sports stars benefiting substantially from unique talents that enrich or protect or entertain the rest of us. Even if Bill Gates didn’t give away a lot of his fortune, most of us wouldn’t quarrel with his being a very rich man.
There are, however, two things that do cause offence: one is reward without merit, or reward for failure; the other is tax-dodging. We have plenty of both.
What do you think? How would a high pay commission work? Is there an argument for a maximum wage or is that too crude a tool?
UPDATE: Vince, along with fellow Lib Dem MPs Andrew Stunell, John Leech and Paul Holmes, have signed up to Compass’ campaign for a High Pay Commission (hat tip: Liberal Conspiracy)