A little over two months ago I wrote the first part of this blog and I hope you’ll forgive me me whilst I dislocate my shoulder patting myself on the back, I called it exactly. Theresa May says there is no such thing as Mayism and she’s quite correct, there isn’t. There is no such thing as Thatcherism or Blairism either, since 1979 there has only been Neo-liberalism, see blogs here and here. This is still an unfinished series that I will complete when I’m able to blog daily. So what has dragged me from my sick-bed to write this? Social Care costs are back with a vengeance, enough even to lose an election to Corbyn. Clinton lost to Trump so nothing is that improbable anymore.
So what’s the current state of play? Well the Conservatives have come up with this new wizard wheeze of a triple lock for pensioners. This means that when a pensioner gets ill the state comes round and changes the locks on your front door, back door and windows. (H/T The Slog). I was able to predict this because I always look for the direction of things and this fits the direction of the Tories perfectly. No collective solution, increase household debt, transfer asset upwards and, above all, break the Social Contract. Despite my whimsy of Corbyn winning above we’re probably going to vote to be robbed.
It has been interesting indeed to watch the Tory contortions on what the definition of a lot of money is. For example, Labour plans to tax those earning over £80,000 per year a little more. “That’s not a lot of money the Tories squeal, it’s Marxism, Marxism I tell you”! However if you add 20k to that figure you arrive at the figure which the Tories will let homeowners keep. All of s sudden £100 is a lot of money over a lifetime whilst £80k a year isn’t. The mathematics of Neo-liberals in all its illogical glory. Remind me someone what’s the cap on inheritance tax? How easy is it for the richest to avoid it altogether? The answers up to one million pounds and very. Note all the adverts in the link promoting ways to legally avoid inheritance tax, will there be similar schemes for the plebs? No, unless you include trips to Dignitas.
I think Jeremy Warner makes a reasonable case for a low tax state here (£) and it is obviously a sincerely held belief, but for him this policy is too much. I think I can sum up his feelings on it as “If you’re going to do this damn silly thing don’t do it in this damn silly way“. For him this means a cap on what exactly everybody ends up paying and lamenting the fact that old age is a lottery. Take the collective out of the equation and the burden of unlucky individuals and families becomes that much greater. The big question of what happens to those with no assets seems to be a question nobody wants to ask. Why should those with no assets get free care when those that have Done The Right Thing get clobbered? This takes me right back to my first piece, do we leave the poor to die in a ditch?
As usual, even as I am typing events overtake the speed I can type, dammitt this piece would have been prescient if I could type quicker. Oh well on I plod, if the Tories haven’t u-turned on this already, what is the plan? Basically it’s an insurance scam, exactly what they’d like to replace the NHS with.
I’m sure many of you have seen this doing the rounds on Twitter and Facebook et al and it’s 100% on the money. These people know damn well this is a once in a generation gouging opportunity on ordinary people s assets. Once again as I’m typing this the Tories have indeed u-turned, strong and stable? I can certainly smell the stables quite overpowering. I digress how is this asset grab sustainable? look at the sectoral balances, assets in the household sector are transferred to the finance sector. These chaps are jolly reasonable and will either rent sell these assets back to you with interest. Do you see the but here yet? If we constantly transfer these assets to finance sooner or later there won’t be any left, they’ll take them all. How can todays increasingly crappy and insecure work finance this? Where will the money come from for deposits on mortgages come from if we steal inheritance? Home ownership has halved amongst young families this matters. Sooner or later the majority will be in the same boat, still getting old but with no assets to secure old age.
I find it unbelievable some of those who somehow think this policy could ever have been fair and events are proving me right. This utter codswallop of a policy will never see the light of day because sane people will prevail. Where would a policy like this end? Old age is the most common cause of cancer so why not include that? That young worker who got ill has a lifetime of productivity ahead of him thanks to healthcare, surely he can afford to pay it back? As the policy unravels I hope we can have a lucky escape, please don’t let it be temporary, they will be back.
In the post war years we made something called the Social Contract in the heady days of a land fit for heroes. It was then we built the entirety of our current society, the NHS, cradle to grave Welfare State, housing and much more. the principle of caring for each other wasn’t sneered at and business didn’t consider it’s sole responsibility as the next quarters results.
I disagree with those calling for a low tax state for the simple reason it doesn’t work in an advanced economy. Old age care and pensions must be financed by the public purse. To all those who say it can’t be done because it is a Big Scary Number I say nonsense. Note the order, the spending comes first and then we must deal with the consequences, and there will be consequences. Everything connects, it gives us as a nation the opportunity to rethink our hopelessly arcane tax system because one thing is clear. Wages are not enough to drive a consumer led economy and fund old age, something has to change. None of these problems are insurmountable as long as we think in terms of nation building rather than one narrow set of interest in our over dominant finance sector, I repeat:
SIEZE THE DAY
Blog status update. Due to ill-health I am unable to blog daily as much as I want to. I am going to try again but no guarantees.