Sunday, 24 October 2010

Take the medicine like a man.

Yes... yes... yes. Now the "cuts" are made concrete even good people who are losing their bondoogles are screaming. The fact is the poor benefit disproportionatley from "public services" and when these are cut, they are going to feel the brunt. The middle classes are feeling the pinch too, but they CAN absorb the discomfort of losing things like child benefit. This may seem unfair, but it is inevitable. Fairness which simply looking at income deciles and concluding that "THE POOR ARE LOSING OUT" without looking at the services CONSUMED is facile, and dishonest.. The process of adjustment to the new reality is going to be more uncomfortable for someone whose whole livlihood is comprised of state benefits, but a transition is happening, it is nessesary and it cannot be achieved without there being winners and losers.

But let's not beat about the bush here, it is the fact that someone's entire livlihood CAN be comprised of state benefits IS PART OF THE PROBLEM. And the people who benefit from the state must realise that the process of getting to the state where 1 in 6 of the British population is disabled, and a quarter of the population are out of work is profoundly uncomfortable for the people who pay for it. It is unsustainable. And insofar as the benefits system facilitates idleness it creates misery amonst the very people it is supposed to help.

The working population has endured since 1997 the greatest peace-time rise in taxation in British history. That means the tax bill, whether it is paid in stamp-duty, VAT, Income tax, National Insurance, corporation tax, CGT, IHT or income tax, vehicle excise duty or fuel duty is borne by a small portion of the population, and though the left rarely admit it, the burden rarely falls on the people expected - all tax, is in final analysis, income tax. Fewer than half of us pay for the rest of us to consume day-time TV. The left may like to have the debate about taxation based around Marginal income tax rates, but just because someone is taxed at a marginal rate of 40% on his income, doesn't change the fact that when you add NI the marginal rate rises to over 60%. 50% income tax isn't "fair" because it wouldn't be 50%, it would be a marginal rate of nearly 75%.

Much as I love Bendy Girl's writing (and I wouldn't invite her to contribute to this blog if I didn't find her insights interesting and her story compelling) it does not mean I agree with all her analysis. 'Benefit Scrounging Scum' does give an insight into the trials and tribulations of negotiating a freocious bureacuracy in persuit of benefits, those of us paying for those benefits would like some acknowlegement once in a while from the recipients of the benefits of the hard work those of us who pay taxes endure. Frankly the problem is that the Benefits are seen to come from a magical money tree called "the Government" and too many people forget that it is people like me, struggling to build a business, and build a family who have to write cheques to the government for sums of money we can ill afford, the benefit of which we will NEVER see.

Shot through Bendy Girl's post CSR posts is the idea that the poor, supported from taxation can NEVER have any of that largesse taken away. Well we tax-payers are struggling. I'm abroad for the first time in 18 months (to see my Parents, as it happens). I haven't had a full week's holiday in 5 years, because I'm working hard, and thanks to the vagiaries of the benefits system, I'm responsible for the financial upkeep of 2 women and one child, on top of the state taxation which I think borders on the rapacious. I see NO benefit from the state (NHS dosn't count: 15% of my tax bill would pay for a very comprehansive insurance policy, and leave some left over to pay a mediacal charity, and in any case, for someone like me, the NHS is shit; Roads let's take fuel duty and call it quits etc...). That's unfair. We tax-payers a feeling a bit put upon, and the majority of the population who benefit from our largesse had better start hoping that grumbling doesn't turn into something more concrete than voting Tory. Like a full-scale tax-payer revolt.

Without the "selfish, sharp-elbowed" middle classes, you're all fucked.

So, I find it difficult to get worked up abouthigher rate mobility allowance being taken away from people in care homes. Sorry. I find it difficult to get worked up about ANYONE enjoying a life of idleness at my expence. What I DO get worked up about is when the benefit system PREVENTS people who genuinely want to get work, getting work, and preventing work paying even when a job is offered. And I think the coalition policies will work towards an end which changes that injustice. So it isn't "shame" on David Cameron for taking a modest pair of pruning shears to the thicket of the benefits system (a process which is ALWAYS going to produce a parade of bleeding stumps). It's the start of a process which will produce a fairer, more productive and happier population.

But I wouldn't mind so much about the welfare state, if, instead of being demonised as "middle class" endlessly in the media, the beneficiaries of my taxation said "thank you" once in a while, and took the odd pruning of the money-tree on the chin, as we have taken the tax rises on the chin for most of the last decade when we were paying ever more for the fucking thing.



24 comments:

Demetrius said...

When it all goes badly wrong nobody escapes and any notion of "fairness" is difficult to achieve. What astonishes me that so few people seemed to see it coming and are still in a state of denial. See The Thoughts of Chairman Demetrius.

Piers said...

I agree.

Piers said...

*with the article

marksany said...

They don't say thank you because either
A) they think the money grows on the government money tree, or
B) they think taxes are paid by "rich" people who could easily afford to pay more and don't earn or deserve their riches anyway.

john problem said...

Hang on a minute! Who are the biggest beneficiaries of the taxpayers' largesse? Not the poor who are always with us, but the newly arrived megabankers! Heard of them? Been following the news over the last two years? We were asked if we wanted to contribute to a welfare system. We were never asked if we wanted to contribute to a bonus system. Something seriously wrong that needs fixing. Anybody know how?

lost_nurse said...

"for someone like me, the NHS is shit"

Unless you suddenly need ITU.

SimonF said...

Bravo.

JimmyGiro said...

I'll follow on the proviso that white men are given equal opportunity of gainful employment.

Harriet sugar-and-spice Harman's bill became law at the beginning of this month; that evil has to be retracted first; there are already too many women and minorities employed in the public sector, so that law was just spiteful misandry.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. A lot of people collecting benefits feel that they are entitled and that it gives them independence. Dependence on the state is not independence.

With the prospect of working 'til I drop, paying for my children to attend university, no child benefit, and ever increasing taxes I am fed up. I live in a modest house and have to budget every penny. When I read stories about families living in London (in the Daily Mail) claiming vast sums from the tax payer it makes my blood boil. These tales are obviously beat-ups designed to enrage but they do a good job!

Anonymous said...

How did the romans get rid of the 'bread and circus' recipients?

Jackart said...

Every time someone calls for a cut, then some lefty says "what about the bankers"

1) I was in favour of "too big to fail is too big, and would have let most banks go under protecting only the depositors.

2) The banks paid a huge percentage of UK Corporation taxes - they paid for Brown's insane spending splurge up to 2008. Think of the Bail-out as getting some money back

3) Banks which didn't recieve state aid are the ones who are paying the big bonuses, and is this any of our business? The Likes of RBS would be in a worse position if they didn't pay bonuses to profitable teams.

4) The banks weren't given a cheque, they were made to sell shares and debt securites in themselves. The Government has a stake, which may yet be profitable.

5) Welfare is between a third and half of GME. Do you think this should be ringfenced?

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Jackart: You've been reading my blog long enough to know I've expressed my gratitude for the benefits I receive on many occasions ;)

I think we DO all have to take our fair share in this. I'm broadly supportive of the *idea* of Universal Credits, whilst worried about the details of how it would work it seems the fairest option to me. My biggest concern there is the amount of money that's going to be spent moving people from Incapacity Benefit/ Income Support to Employment and Support Allowance, only for those people all to be moved onto UC a few years later. Why not just go ahead with UC? Perhaps because it'll cost money and will only be universal in the sense that benefits payments will be rolled into one rather than lots of different benefits. UC will hopefully make it easier for people to move into work, but the harsher cuts announced will apply for years before UC comes in, if it ever does.

10% cut in Housing Benefit is a huge chunk of income to poor people, many of whom are legitimately claiming HB while they work. It would hurt, it would cause major problems in specific areas but it wouldn't seem wildly unfair like the new proposals are.
The change from RPI to CPI will hit hard as the loss of income of a few pounds a week is huge to people living on £65 p/wk. It will bite harder as years pass and benefits reduce proportionately. But, it isn't wildly, disproportionately unfair.

Moving on to DLA, there's lots of ways that money could be saved without harming people's lives. A reduction of say £5 a week of mobility allowance would have been hard to absorb, and caused individual problems but it would have been more fair. Using the GP's to do the assessments would be more fair AND more cost effective.

There are lots of ways we could all have shared the burden. Asking those in receipt of benefits who are capable of work to contribute an equivalent of 1 day's work a week in the voluntary sector would seem fair. Encouraging those who can't go out to work to contribute to voluntary projects for a few hours
a week from home would seem fair.

A final point, probably as incoherent as the rest as I'm knackered ;) is that the video you linked to is far from being specifically about benefits. It's about disabled people having a represented voice in the media and politics that comes from disabled people not a charity or state organisation. Targeting out of work benefits so that people can't have their entire livelihood from them is one thing, but applying that to disabled people is not as many are not capable of doing any work. Out of the 10 million disabled people in Britain, nearly a million are children. Many are pensioners who've paid tax and NI all their lives. Most are not in receipt of out of work or even disability benefits as they don't qualify, many are in work paying tax just like everyone else. It's just that disabled people tend not to be all that visible as disabled people. It's not all wheelchairs and white sticks, those numbers include people with heart conditions or cancer, or diabetes or any myriad of conditions which are not neccessarily visible or preventing them from working.

That's very rambly for which I apologise but I wanted to make it clear that I do think disabled people have to accept some cuts like we all do, but that there are better ways of going about it. The main theme I'm finding in the stories that people are now sending me is that they've paid national insurance and tax, for all their working lives until becoming disabled.

A very tired, rambly BG Xx

BenefitScroungingScum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BenefitScroungingScum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Some people are difficult to identify as disabled Bendy. This is because they are not. They claim DLA for the flimsiest of reasons and never come off it.

People who have worked all their lives have a pension and if not should be supported. We're not talking about the elderly disabled here nor those with terminal illness. Many benefits claimants haven't worked for years, if ever. It has to stop and it will because the money is all gone.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

The one thing I seem to have properly wiped with my spazz out was this.

"Thank you" Thank you for the taxes you pay which help to support me. Every day I appreciate them and am grateful to live in a country which protects it's vulnerable.
BG Xx

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile i was just chatting to my friend on benifits. She get's a subsidised sports center card (free swimming), free childcare at the sports center, and subsidised public transport to get there.

She says she's going there 2 days a week now and asked if i wanted to come.

My response was i couldnt afford it.


Also

"Asking those in receipt of benefits who are capable of work to contribute an equivalent of 1 day's work a week in the voluntary sector would seem fair."

Alot of people seem to suggest those on benifits should do some form of voluntary work.

The issues i have with that are...

A. Well it's either voluntary or not.

B. It's time they should be spending looking for work

C. it would "legitimise" their lifestyle.

D. A whole raft of practicle enforcement and delivery issues that go from D to Z and other letters to be imagined.

Mr Ecks said...

Sorry to piss on your chips but:

1. The cuts aren't cuts but only a slowdown of the rate of increase. We are still on course for disaster just slowed down a bit.
2. Your plastic-faced scum sucking hero still has plenty of cash for his EU masters and for inceasingly well off India etc as well as being keen to top up the Swiss bank accounts of third world socialist tyrants and of course his utterly corrupt "green" buddies.The middle and whats left of the working class will be taking lots of heavy kicks to the bollocks in the form of deliberatly boosted energy bills over the next few years on top of everything else.

In short your hero is a corrupt, useless moron who is giving leftists plenty of ammo without achieving much useful at all.

Anonymous said...

wELL SAID , THAT MAN!

Anonymous said...

The government is the most inefficient manager of money and programs. It seems to me that countries could provide a decent safety net to help those who are truly in need. People are just fed up with the corruption at the top and the welfare cheats at the bottom draining the money from those who really need the help.

In the US 60 billion dollars are wasted in fraud, waste and abuse from medicare alone. People bill medicare for services they did not provide to patients who do not exist. The government does not have an efficient system to crack down on this problem and I would say the UK knows these troubles too. The way to stop this fraud is to hire private companies and pay them .20 on the dollar for every dollar saved from fraud and abuse. Private insurers do not suffer from the same horrific percentage of this type of fraud.

We all see the problems at the other end too. We all know the stories of the family receiving free and reduced lunches for their children as they drop them off at school in their brand new vehicles. Government can not effectively run these programs. This is why it is absolutely absurd that the US government who cannot run medicare and medicaid want to takeover a third of the economy and run healthcare for all. We do not need a new system we just need to crack down and fix some of the existing problems. If we did that we could help those who truly need a hand without having much of an impact on others.

Jen

Anonymous said...

Exactly how are you financially responsible for two women? A child, yes, but TWO women? Why are they not working? Are they claiming benefits? They are responsible for earning their own money! You are not financially responsible for anyone other than your children. Gross exaggeration there!
Julia x

Henry Crun said...

As soon as people begin to realise that life isn't fair and we all have to deal with the hand we have been dealt, the better.

I'm all for looking after the widows, orphans, the sick and the lame. But the bone idle can get to buggery.

When I hear people bleating about their job prospects being damaged by the forecast of 500 000 more competitors in the job market, my only answer is that "You should have listened in class a bit more"

Weekend Yachtsman said...

@Anon 0624:
"How did the romans get rid of the 'bread and circus' recipients?"

They didn't.

The decadence, the loss of confidence and will, and the resulting drain on their finances destroyed their empire and everything in it. The world passed to the Northern tribes of various sorts, who didn't fanny about paying for parasites but just got on with grabbing the power, and having grabbed it were quite capable and ruthless enough to wield it.

Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.

OurSally said...

>Some people are difficult to identify as disabled Bendy. This is because they are not. They claim DLA for the flimsiest of reasons and never come off it.

I agree. My sister and I both have MS, which is definitely not fun, but not life-threatening in our case. I work full time and pay my whack into the system. She lives off benefits and a share of her ex's pension. She finds time and energy to be politically active and pursue lots of hobbies. It makes me mad. (Let's hope she isn't reading this!)

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