CAREY INSISTS POOR SHOULD PAYFOR THE MISTAKES OF THE RICH

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, attacked the bishops in the House of Lords yesterday for spearheading the derailment of the governments attempt to reduce welfare spending. Basically, he insisted that such reform was necessary if the UK is to reduce its national deficit.

Well, it certainly is one way of tackling the problem but it hardly seems fair and it certainly isn't Christian.

Times are tough in Blighty at the moment and your average citizen is coping with their reduced circumstances by buying less luxuries. Instead they are using their incomes to provide the necessities of life for their families and for themselves. This is eminently sensible and what people always do when money is short.

Surely then, this is what we should be doing as a nation. In other words, we should not be affecting anybody's ability to provide themselves with the necessities of life but should be paying off the deficit out of the nation's disposable income. To put it even more simply, we should be taxing the disposable income of the rich and not loading further financial burdens onto the already poor.

However, having said that, I do believe that something needs to be done about our welfare system as it encourages poor people to make long term mistakes, detrimental to society at large, for short term benefit. For example, if you are poor and have no foreseeable opportunities to get out of poverty, then, with our welfare system as it is at the moment, it is a good idea to have as many children as possible and avoid paid employment at all costs. By doing this you will be helped to find accommodation which will be paid for by the welfare services and given money for each child you have. For young people this is especially attractive as we basically ignore the problems poor, young, single people face financially and, even more so, their housing problems. Nobody is going to get rich exploiting the welfare system in this way but you can remove yourself from absolute destitution.

People like Carey think that we should force people into being more procreatively responsible by removing the carrot and thumping them with the stick. Maybe this would work but, again, it is hardly fair. We just end up making a miserable situation even more miserable for millions of people.

Any reduction in welfare provision must be accompanied by real opportunity to earn a decent wage. It is my belief that the best way out of recession is to take money from those with disposable income and use it to create real jobs that will benefit society in the long term. For example, the infrastructures of the UK are in a pitiful state. We have one of the worst transport systems in the world and we have virtually no manufacturing industry whatsoever. If I was in charge I would immediately instigate a massive programme of railway construction. I would prepare the country for the effects of climate change by investing in the water industry. I would follow Germany's lead in actively promoting renewable energy. Not only would such schemes provide employment in the short term it would also mean that when the current crisis is over the UK would have a firm basis from which to compete economically with the rest of Europe, maybe even the rest of the world.

A successful, healthy nation is one body. At the moment in the UK we are cutting off limbs left, right and centre in an attempt to protect the affluent head. But what use is a head without the rest of the body? The only way to cure the ills of the nation is to treat the illness holistically. Piecemeal reform will just make matters worse and burdening the poor with more misery will not only make matters worse it will also make matters extremely dangerous indeed.

Comments

CAREY INSISTS POOR SHOULD PAYFOR THE MISTAKES OF THE RICH — 16 Comments

  1. Wise words as usual MP.

    The rich make profits from cutting labour costs, downsizing, outsourcing. At some point some of those profits have to be garnished to pay for the welfare costs of society. Its a zero sum game.

    And if society’s overall, total debts can’t be paid then the accountant boffins in the tax department haven’t set the tax rates properly have they? So, more tax to paid folks.

  2. RE: “Any reduction in welfare provision must be accompanied by real opportunity to earn a decent wage. It is my belief that the best way out of recession is to take money from those with disposable income and use it to create real jobs that will benefit society in the long term. For example, the infrastructures of the UK are in a pitiful state. We have one of the worst transport systems in the world and we have virtually no manufacturing industry whatsoever.”

    Are you SURE you’re NOT over here in the US? You could be talking about the US here.

  3. But surely the people who’d benefit most from railway expansion would be the German locomotive and carriage manufacturers, along with the East European steel foundries?

    And we all know the most advanced solar PV technology comes out of factories on the Rhine.

    As for labour, I’m quite sure some enterprising firm will do a deal that brings over hard-working Poles and Lithuanians to do the job!

    That’s the thing about European Procurement Regulations; you have to use the lowest priced tender… 🙁

    And that (IMHO) is why both Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Carey are correct to say that, as a general rule, a person should be better off financially when working than they would be on benefits.

    And, setting a limit on the amount of benefit a person receives at an equivilant annual salary of £35,000 seems to be a fair (even generous) starting point. Goodness, there are many of us earning less than half that amount who receive no financial help, in the form of benefits, whatsoever.

  4. No, BB. We should start with the rich not the poor.

    And, of course, if I was in charge, all major industry that primarily serves the British people would be brought under state ownership.

  5. I sympathise with your views, although we don’t quite se3e eye to eye on this one. I absolutely agree that we need to tax the rich to reduce the burden (I don’t hold with the widely held view in Government that this doesn’t work because the rich simply go else where), but my problem lies in just how much is spent on benefits being given to people who don’t deserve them. I mistakenly thought the £26,00 cap was the national wage average, but as this is untaxed, this is the equivalent of £40,000 per annum. There’s many, many people who would love to have a household income that high. So for me what should happen is that benefits should be given to people at a rate which means they’re not encouraged as you say to produce yet more children. This should all take place simultaneously with the Government creating genuine opportunities to work and look after themselves. I don’t think we’re too far apart are we?

  6. I don’t think we differ in the slightest, NB. I also think, as I state above, that our welfare system should be reformed. However, this should be because it needs to be reformed not because it’s a way to save money without inconveniencing the rich. I think you would find that their are very few people on such welfare hand-outs and the real nastiness is in the small print of the proposed bill which will impoverish those who certainly do not receive such sums. I am particularly worried about government employees deciding who is fit to work. I think this should be left up to GPs.

  7. RE: “I am particularly worried about government employees deciding who is fit to work.”

    Yeah…like Ronald Reagan and his comment about the “deserving poor” but when pressed, it turned out there wasn’t anyone he regarded as “deserving poor.”

  8. Would you have a system whereby those with one or two children would be discouraged from having more? If so, what would it be?

  9. I think I would go for not encouraging people to have lots of children. At the moment, even parents in full time work, are heavily subsidised in the bringing up of their children by working adults with no children. I live on less each month than a mother would get in child allowance if she had two children.

  10. To put it even more simply, we should be taxing the disposable income of the rich and not loading further financial burdens onto the already poor.

    Hell to the YEAH!

    Would you have a system whereby those with one or two children would be discouraged from having more? If so, what would it be?

    Well, a education publicity campaign would be one way to start. Everything from “You can give ONE or TWO children a good, paid-for upbringing” to “Sex w/o worry (about more mouths to feed) is BETTER!!!” 😉

  11. Unfortunately, Jonathan, your suggestion that:

    > And, of course, if I was in charge, all major industry that
    > primarily serves the British people would be brought
    > under state ownership.

    would appear to be illegal under European competition law; the same law that lead to British Rail being broken up in the way it was (separating operating companies from Railtrack and having a separate company leasing rolling stock to operating companies) and is the reason why the Post Office network is being disbanded.

  12. Of course, if Lord Carey of Clifton had wanted to support the government’s legislation and to oppose the bishops’ amendment, he had far more opportunity than most of we mere commentators.

    Lord Carey of Clifton could have actually turned up to work, spoken in favour of the government’s agenda and spoken against the amendment.

    And then he could actually have voted as he saw fit.

    Since the silly old begar was too lazy to show up for work, perhaps he should just stop whinging.

  13. What about cultures that prize large numbers of children? How do you stop invidious comparisons being made between families/cultures that practice birth control and those that don’t? Isn’t there already a large number of people (in many countries) that think that people from 3rd world countries “breed more than they can feed”? (Excuse the quote but it’s what I hear quite a bit at work).