Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Benefits

One of the problems that has arisen thanks to the Benefits Culture that pervades our country is the seemingly genuine inability of many people to understand why you and I do not wish to pay enough taxes to allow them to live in properties that we could not afford to live in ourselves.


59 comments:

Anonymous said...

some of those are MP's, sadly...

Anonymous said...

I have got to agree that £20,000 a year in housing benefit is enough for anyone to find a house to live in.

Labour allowed housing benefit to spiral out of control and many private landlords realised how easy it was to make fast money by charging rents that they just wouldn't have got from anyone who wasn't on benefit.


I for one am totally sick of seeing my taxes spent on people who live in areas/houses that I couldn't afford to, so this change cannot come soon enougn for me.

Watching the reaction of some of these people on TV and hearing them say 'we want to live here because our family lives here' when they have no job left me shaking my head. If you want to live in a particular area then that's your choice and you have to fund it, if you cannot afford to live somewhere then move to an area that is going to cost me (through my taxes) less.

Rant over

Fee said...

I had to leave the area I grew up in, mainly because I couldn't afford to buy a house and still have enough money left over to get to work.

So yes, count me among those who reckon that those on housing benefit should be forced to seek the cheapest option when renting.

rippon said...

You have misidentified the 'Benefits Culture'.

The Benefits Culture has little do with benefit payments, which are a drop in the ocean compared to what we, the tax payers, are really paying for - welfare for the rich and powerful, the people who deride big government the most yet benefit from it the most.

We have paid roughly a trillion for saving the banks (from themselves), and untold billions for bombing, killing, disabling and displacing millions in other countries (e.g. Iraq) because big-government (e.g. MOD) and big-business set those priorities.

Benefit fraud (poor people's crime) costs us a measly £billion/year. Tax evasion (rich people's crime) costs us a wapping £120billion/year. But little people are the preferred targets for bullies who dare not confront the big boys. And many mugs (e.g. Frank Chalk) like to swallow this 'benefit-cheats' propaganda.

Anonymous said...

rippon, those tired old chestnuts are for another debate.

rippon said...

Anonymous, you are clearly confused if you think my words are not relevant to this debate. It is you, in fact, who spouted a tired old chestnut:

“I for one am totally sick of seeing my taxes spent on people who live in areas/houses that I couldn't afford to, so this change cannot come soon enougn [sic] for me.”

No one gives a damn what makes you sick. But everyone gives a damn (or should) about what the real issues are that affect everyone (rather than what makes you sick).

For your own personal reasons (perhaps because you have Daily-Mail type bullying instincts where you prefer to demonise poor people for their crimes because that’s easier and safer than confronting white-collar middle/upper-class crimes), you prefer to gripe about one particular burden on your taxes (housing benefit), out of the multitude of choices available.

Your bizarre choice is like an A&E doctor obsessing over the cut finger of a road-accident victim whilst ignoring the internal bleeding.

You are right to be concerned about how your taxes are ab/used, but I am pointing out the wood from the trees.

Joanne said...

Rippon, I heard that the shares the Government bought in the banks are now worth more than they paid for them, so where does the cost of a trillion quid come from?

I don't pretend to understand banking but I do understand that its wrong to pay an Afghan family of nine £12000 a month so they can live in Kensington, when I can't even get a mortgage to buy my first house. Lets hear you justify that.

rippon said...

Joanne (17:00, 28/10/10),

The media (e.g. BBC) repeatedly reported £700billion to bale out RBS. That’s just one bank. That’s why a trillion is a conservative estimate (probably a severe underestimate) for bailing out the banks.

I don’t justify the scenario you describe. But your xenophobic implication is certainly wrong: hard-working Brits (like you) can’t get a mortgage because Muslim immigrants are draining the economy.

I’ll reiterate my point because you seem not to have grasped it:
There are many burdens on your taxes. Many people, e.g. certain tabloid media (e.g. dyed-in-the-wool xenophobic scaremongers, Daily Mail) spout propaganda, which you apparently swallow, to focus attention on weak easy targets (benefit claimants) – because that is easier and safer (i.e. not subversive) than confronting what would be more rational choices, e.g. the massively greater taxes you pay towards illegal wars and bailing-out city gamblers.

Apparently, you, Frank Chalk and Anonymous don’t mind about the latter whereas benefit claimants are wholly deserving of your ire. On the surface at least, this choice of you three seems cowardly: going after little people instead of big people – the definition, basically, of bullying. Chalk, for one, has a background in teaching; I would have thought that he would be the last person to spout bullying rhetoric.

joanne said...

Rippon, after just two minutes looking on the internet you can see that the cost of bailing out RBS appears to be near zero. Here's one reference.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/budget/6772947/Pre-Budget-report-cost-to-taxpayer-of-RBS-and-Lloyds-bail-outs-falls-by-40bn.html

So where do you get your trillion pound figure from?

Re rich people's fraud-at least they work and pay taxes and they don't take any of mine. Where do you get your figure of £120 billion from? It is an unlikely amount of £4000 per adult in the UK on average.

Finally can you explain why is it wrong for a hard working honest Brit like me to point out that I can't afford to live anywhere decent when non working Muslim immigrants can get thousands per week to live in the best parts of England?

Anonymous said...

Joanne, Ripon is just spouting leftie nonsense. The bankers are an easy target despite the fact that they bring in a fortune in taxes to the economy. (The financial sector is about 15% of our GDP)

The shares the Government bought in the banks could all now be sold at a profit. The reason we are in such a mess is simple- the last Government spent far too much and most of that money was wasted.

rippon said...

Joanne,

£700billion is the figure that was typically given in the media (e.g. BBC) in 2009. However, the issue is confusing because some reports talk in terms of hundreds-of-billions, e.g. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/163850bn-official-cost-of-the-bank-bailout-1833830.html,
and some reports talk in terms of tens-of-billions, e.g. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/edmundconway/100001713/rbs-lloyds-the-cost-to-you/

Here is one source that puts housing benefit and bank bale-outs in perspective:
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/the-billion-pound-o-gram/

The union leader, Mark Serwotka, recently stated: “benefit fraud - £1billion/year, tax evasion - £120billion/year.” No one has disputed that; no one has even suggested that he has distorted those figures or taken them out of context.

You are wrong: rich people don’t work and they don’t pay their taxes; they have lucrative part-time positions (e.g. non-executive directorships, consultancy) rather than real jobs, and they are able to employ accountants and lawyers to evade and avoid tax. It seems you are unaware of these people, most probably because you never come across them, and perhaps because you are fixated on some brown Muslim faces who you +do+ see (enjoying better accommodation than you). If the rich parasites were held accountable and taxed properly, sufficient decent jobs for everyone could be created, the housing market would not be so deranged, and then you (and the Muslims who repel you) would be able to afford a mortgage for a decent house.

You are correct, though, that the rich don’t take your taxes. Muslim immigrants don’t take your taxes either. It is the government that takes your taxes. And they take a large amount from ordinary people and a derisory amount from rich people. And they decide how to abuse your taxes.

In answer to your question: There is absolutely nothing wrong with you complaining about Muslim immigrants; in an ostensibly free-speech society there is nothing ‘wrong’ with anyone saying anything. I reiterate: I am merely pointing out the wood from the trees, something that Chalk, you and Anonymous are missing in misidentifying the ‘Benefits Culture’.

rippon said...

Social commentators and sociologists say this about Britain (paraphrasing):
We have a very class-conscious culture in which people feel very deferential towards the rich. The rich nurse the self-serving delusion that their good fortune derives from virtue, and the not-rich similarly assume that we live in a meritocracy and that rich people, therefore, have earned and deserve their wealth. This deference, inculcated through centuries of royalty and aristocracy, is what blinds people to the parasitism of the rich on the rest of us. The small-minded British mentality of petty jealousy is ready to pounce on the small differences in wealth between ordinary people whilst ignoring the chasm between ordinary people and the rich – as though the rich are above reproach, rather like Gods (it is inappropriate to attack deities who, after all, are holy and pure of spirit). Moreover, the rich are nearly always out of sight, and therefore out of mind, because they move in completely separate circles. An ordinary person can see, however, his benefit-claiming neighbour popping out to do some mini-cabbing (or whatever).

Anonymous said...

Rippon: different "Anonymous". There are a lot of us.

jut said...

Let's put another figure in here for shits and giggles. The HMRC just let Vodafone off paying £6 billion worth of owed taxes due to a tax avoidance scheme gone wrong.
The govt also just signed an agreement with Swiss banks, allowing them to maintain their secrecy allowing them to remain a tax haven for the rich and allowing more money to flow out of this country.
The funding for the tax evasion/fraud side of HMRC has also been slashed by over a billion pounds too.

I may return to the UK when things get a little fairer, but until them I'm going to enjoy my tax free salary here. I'm fed up of paying the tax bill of those who CAN afford it.

P.S. £20,000 p/a housing allowance unfair? Camerons have been over £20k per year for the last 5 years. Pot. Kettle. Black.

P.P.S. not a lefty, not labour, not lib dem...they are all as corrupt as eachother.

commenter said...

Alright everyone - you can go home now. Ripoff has proved that all who disagree with him are stupid racists. There's not much point continuing the debate really.

commenter said...

"£20,000 p/a housing allowance unfair?"

Uh, yes. The fact you can't see that shows how out of touch with reality you are. MP's expenses are a silly distraction. Why not bang on about Iraq or something, while you're at it.

rippon said...

Commenter can certainly go home. His piffling fatuous ‘contributions’ show that there’s certainly not much point in his joining the debate.

jut said...

commenter...To spell it out for you: Cameron is a hypocrite to complain about a £20k housing allowance paid for by the tax payer, when he himself is having a lovely £20k+ housing allowance paid for by the tax payer.
What ever happened to "we're all in this together"?

As for expenses, it's interesting to note that no MP's have served time behind bars for their fraud.

jut said...

more "we're all in this together"
http://badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=18728

林翊娟 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Suede Oasis said...

One of the legacies of the Benefit Culture we live in can be found here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/oct/29/middle-class-children-better-school

Apart from being a research paper of the Department of the Bloody Obvious variety (that middle class kids do better at school because of their 'pushy' parents - wow, some discovery!), it asks the reasonable question of just why working class parents overwhelmingly turn their back on education nowadays.

Just contrast it with the pre-welfare state days, when education was the only way to escape poverty. Nowadays the welfare approach has removed all incentive for thick people to improve themselves - but try telling that to the Lefty Guardianista brigade!

Or is it another example of a Department of the Bloody Obvious research paper waiting to be written?

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm naieve but I always thought the benefits culture was there to help those who needed assistance and NOT an alternative to finding employment.

I have no problem with my taxes been spent on helping people who have fallen on hard times, but I do have a problem when I hear about it funding lifestyles that I cannot have because I work.

Rippon is diluting the issue by throwing other things into the mix, there is much wrong with our society and economy at the moment. Housing benefit is just one of them, and the Government is introducing a policy (capping housing benefits at £20,000 per year), that is totally seperate and devolved from the banks, wars, or anything else.

We cannot sustain the level of payments made in benefits, and it is grossly unfair on the working population to expect them to fund people to live in areas/houses that they themselves cannot afford.

I persona;;y don't care what the savings are, that isn't the issue. The issue is about fairness, if you cannot afford to live in an area then you cannot live there. It is not for benefits to fund your dreams/aspirations.

rippon said...

“Rippon is diluting the issue by throwing other things into the mix”

- wrong. What I’m doing is putting things in perspective because you lot prefer to focus on the flaws of the weak easy targets that you +can+ see, chavs and Muslims, because that is easier and safer than confronting the powerful people who are really the ones responsible for making your life difficult (e.g. by pricing you out of the housing market).

That is basically the mentality of a bully/coward – targeting the weak and pathetic rather than the strong and powerful. Given that at least some of you, e.g. Frank Chalk, have backgrounds in teaching, I would have thought that you would be the last people to embrace bully/coward mentality (but it seems I’ m wrong).

The real ‘dilution’ – red herring, in fact – is this: the demented notion that the reason so many working class families disdain school is because they receive benefits that fund their ‘lavish’ lifestyles.

I have years of experience of chav children trashing lessons and the aspirational ethos that the school pursues. The reason this happens has nothing to do with them and their parents doing this cynical calculation (they’re not bright enough anyway): ‘I/we can abuse lessons and school because our benefits are secure [incorrect anyway] so we don’t need/want good jobs and better income anyway.’

One reason they disrespect education is because the ‘education’ that is delivered is nonsense in very many ways anyway, e.g. the structure dictates that +all+ children should be sitting still in classrooms for four hours every day, ingesting academic knowledge.

Another principal reason comes back, again, to the cowardice of teachers. For example, when there is a proven violent pupil polluting the environment, senior management are too cowardly to expel, and teachers are too cowardly to organise and dictate to superiors that they refuse to have certain pupils in their lessons. The cowardice, again, manifests itself thus: it is easier and safer to bleat about the feckless nature of chavs and their children than it is to confront senior management and governors.

The chavs, like everyone else, need firm rules and boundaries; and they need to see firm swift sanctions imposed on those who transgress. Without this, they are understandably confused and out-of-control. The teaching profession is too weak and cowardly to provide this. Many teachers prefer to point the finger at chav behaviour/attitudes because that’s easier than admitting to their own cowardice, and they prefer to blame chavs (and Muslims) for housing difficulties because that’s easier-safer than attacking faceless affluent bureaucrats and capitalists who have shaped the system into what it is in the first place.

(When people ‘hear about’ chavs and Muslims benefitting massively from the benefits system, and deduce that ‘lavish’ incomes for the work-shy is the true nature of the system, it is because their sources of ‘enlightenment’ are restricted to rags like the Daily Mail.)

Niels said...

The £120Bn is nonsense because it doesn't take into account allowances etc. That number was calculated by multiplying income & profits by the raw tax bands. According to those who believe in it, tax allowances are fraud....

Everyone I know faces leaving inner London when they want a house to have a family in. Apart from the guy who is on benefit.... That's how it is.

I find the reactions to this kind of stuff rather interesting - half an hour on the bus is a terrible imposition. Living 5 miles from central London is ethnic cleansing.

I'm a higher rate taxpayer. Probably half the people I know well are as well. I think I know one person who is paying more than £1600 a month in housing costs. And he is in a very, very well paid job and married to another high earner. The places we all live in are nice, with decent schools, shops, low levels of crime etc.

The £30K for housing world is a different planet. The one I live on is pretty nice and definitely is way above any minimum standard of living that I can think of.

Anonymous said...

Rippon you have completely and totally missed the point.

You have no real argument here, otherwise you would not resort to dragging in chavs, muslims, banks, wars, next door neighbours cat etc etc.

There is a lot wrong with society today, the point about capping housing benefit was that £20,000 per annum is enough money to put a roof over someone's head. OK that roof may not be where they would like it to be put since they are not paying for it then they cannot expect to dictate where that roof is.

Which bit of 'it's not about the savings they make, but the fairness' didn't you understand?

This housing benefit cap may not solve our financial black-hole but it will help, and at the same time it will make the system fairer.

Either debate the actual issue here or go troll somewhere else

Poodle Pelham said...

I've said it before, and I'm quite happy to say it again. When children see their parent(s) sitting at home all day, swilling lager and watching TV, with all their bills funded by the state, they see little incentive to get an education for themselves and improve their lot. And who gives their parents these handouts? The loony left welfare state, of course, who like to spoil their client-base.

And why should these kids go to school to waste their time? They are forced to learn the sort of simplified academic crap that bleeding heart liberals decided they should learn, rather than the sort of stuff they can actually do and enjoy, such as woodwork and building.

The comprehensive schools took away the lower orders' path to achievement by insisting it was wrong to 'condemn' children at 11 or 13 to a life of getting their hands dirty. In other words, exactly what they enjoy and are good at.

Again, who's responsible for this? Step forward the trendy middle class lefties of the 1960s and '70s!

Yes, the Welfare State has done well to eradicate material poverty, but the moral poverty that is has created is a much harder nut to crack.

rippon said...

Anonymous (12:23) says I “have completely and totally missed the point.”

Not at all. The point of this debate is whatever Frank Chalk’s original post determines it to be. Chalk says:

“One of the problems that has arisen thanks to the Benefits Culture that pervades our country is the seemingly genuine inability of many people to understand why you and I do not wish to pay enough taxes to allow them to live in properties that we could not afford to live in ourselves.”

So Chalk is asserting that the Benefits Culture pervades our country and he locates it amongst the lower classes and particularly within housing benefit.

I’ll reiterate my arguments which are exactly to the point of what Chalk is talking about.

Chalk is correct that the Benefits Culture pervades our country, but that culture lies overwhelmingly in welfare payments to the rich.

Here’s one source that illustrates the point:
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/the-billion-pound-o-gram/

This shows that housing benefit (approx £20 Billion) is a paltry sum compared to what we pay to save the feckless rich (e.g. city gamblers) from themselves (e.g. through bank bale-outs – truly staggering sums). Chalk and others on this thread harbour resentment against weak, pathetic people whose welfare payments allow them to continue living in reasonable accommodation. But it seems you’re all fine with welfare payments to the rich enabling them to continue living in luxury properties.

You ask, “Which bit of 'it's not about the savings they make, but the fairness' didn't you understand?”

I understand perfectly. Now, let us, for the sake of argument, accept the highly dubious proposition that housing benefits to the unemployed are ‘unfair’. Then my question to you is: If “fairness” is your great concern, why do you choose to focus on a trivial ‘unfairness’ compared to massive unfairness such as the one I have indicated (welfare to the feckless rich enabling them to continue luxurious lifestyles)?

Moreover, it seems that people on this thread are also perfectly happy to be taxed highly for killing and displacing millions of foreigners in illegal wars abroad, but they resent a tiny fraction of their taxes being used to provide decent accommodation for British people at home.

I can’t remember the estimates for the cost to the UK taxpayer for financing our war crimes, but Joseph Stiglitz has done that for America in his book, ‘The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict’.

That book is quite old now, though – 2008, and the latest judgement is that it was quite flawed anyway because, for example, certain things were not included, e.g. long-term care for veterans: the true cost to America is more like six trillion.

No doubt, the corresponding analysis for the UK taxpayer would reveal that, again, the small sums involved in housing benefit make it a bizarre choice to get your knickers in a twist about.

jut said...

If I were a tax payer, would I get pissed off about
a) The billions stolen by the rich that if paid could reduce my tax bill by a significant amount, leaving more money in my pocket, and giving me a better quality of life as well as stimulating the economy

or

b) Benefit fraud that takes a few quid from my pocket, that if I had back wouldn't really make that much of a difference to my quality of life.

Yes it's unfair that I can't afford to buy my own home even though I'm contributing something back to society by teaching. But it's even more unfair that people who can, and should be paying their fair share of tax are avoiding it.

How does it make you feel that someone like Murdoch, who has made a fortune in this country through his media empire, hasn't paid a single penny of income tax for the last couple of decades?

It's why I left the country to work in a tax haven.

Dack said...

Maybe everyone is 'right'. I don't like the excesses of the so-called 'benefit culture' I don't like the self-interested double standards of many (most) MPs, and I don't like the widening gulf between the poor (or even comfortable) and those with excessive wealth.

The worrying thing for me is how the public is being manipulated and turned in on itself - evil benefit scroungers! Wicked public sector workers! We'll be so busy fighting the 'enemy' within that the puppeteers will slope off unnoticed. And rich.

rippon said...

“The worrying thing for me is how the public is being manipulated and turned in on itself - evil benefit scroungers! Wicked public sector workers! We'll be so busy fighting the 'enemy' within that the puppeteers will slope off unnoticed. And rich.”

That’s exactly my point. Of course there are feckless, good-for-nothing scroungers who milk the benefits system. But they are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Various media (e.g. tabloid rags) +want+ us to focus on irrelevancies like housing benefit; they spout propaganda – which is too easy to swallow – to demonise certain people, elevating them to villain-of-the-plot status in their fantasy narrative, thereby enabling them (media big-shots) and their ideological soul-mates (e.g. bankers) to get off scot-free.

Apart from being misguided, it’s easy to rail against inarticulate people in tracksuits and Islamic-dress, partly because we often rub shoulders with them. But we hardly ever rub shoulders with politicians, CEOs, Directors, bankers, journalists, editors, professors, army generals, political pundits, etc., and, whenever we see them (e.g. being interviewed on television), deference to authority being so deeply ingrained in us, the widespread natural instinct of the class-conscious Brit is to be in awe of their smart suits, posh accents, articulate language and apparent knowledge. Their massive hijacking of our taxes, and evasion of their own, is spun to us as a ‘necessary stimulus’ to the economy, and to ‘protect’ us from ‘threats’. They are never challenged over the fact that it is +they+ who are the parasites who are keeping ordinary people down. That would require honesty, courage and risk; far easier and safer, then, to direct one’s energy and ire at pathetic little working-class people.

jut said...

with you there dack

Anonymous said...

Frank I think you may have attracted a limpet.
My take on this is yes some families are going to have to find cheaper accommodation in exactly the same way that families that can no longer afford their mortgage have to find cheaper housing. I am quite sure that all those people travelling to work each day from Brighton, Cambridge, Oxford etc would just love to live in central London and not have to commute but they do that because they cannot afford it! Simple

Anonymous said...

Labour allowed housing benefit to spiral out of control and many private landlords realised how easy it was to make fast money by charging rents that they just wouldn't have got from anyone who wasn't on benefit.

No ... I experienced the joy of finding myself priced out of rental accommodation by virtue of competing with my own taxes in 1992. I complained to my socialist mother who explained this was due to Thatcher invoking market forces to shove large amounts of money into the pockets of unscrupulous landlords.

Morningstar said...

Someone once said
"If you aren't a Left winger by the time you're 25 you haven't got a heart ! If you're not a right winger by the time your 35 you haven't got a brain !"

Ripon fits remarkably well into this statement !

It is insufficient argument to keep on about 'the financial sector not paying its way' in order to justify people being paid large amounts of taxpayers money to live in locations where an ordinary taxpayer cannot afford to live !

The argument is incompatible ! If these tax avoiders did not pay as much tax as they do - these people wouldn't be able to afford to be housed in tents - let alone top class accomodation !

It is always amazing how Lefties are greedy for other peoples money (tax) to absolve their own self inflicted guilt ! These very same people no doubt live on the bread line (and sleep in the park) because they pay all of their untaxed income in rent for someone else to have a home of their own ! They must do - as this is what they proscribe for every one else ! Except for the 'deserving poor of course' who must be housed in nice 10 Bedroom mansions in the nicest parts of town !

Please don't inflict your guilt and sense of obligation onto the taxpayer - I for one do not give a sh*t for the 'poor' ! I was there once and had ambition - not hand outs !

rippon said...

Talk about not having a brain …
Morningstar is apparently so brainless that he cannot grasp my argument – perhaps it’s too subtle for him.

I don’t justify people receiving large benefits to live in posh areas. In fact, it is right-wing governments (e.g. Thatcher, New Labour) that justify this. They are forced into this position through their own ideological worship of the ‘free market’, thus:
They believe the ‘free market’ should reign. Therefore, they sell off the council and social housing stock to private landlords. Moreover, they don’t build much/any council housing themselves, where they can control the costs and rents; instead they employ the ‘free market’ again, inviting private contractors to build and manage new stock. The ‘free market’ leads to increasingly high rents, which the government does not step in to depress, because that would constitute ‘interfering’ with the ‘free market’. Then the government and councils are forced to confront this choice: either you watch homelessness grow massively as rising rents force people out of their homes, or you enrich private landlords with taxpayer money to accommodate their hunger for increasing rental income. Councils usually choose the latter. The tenants are simply the pawns in the middle. If there is a scam, it comprises government/councils and private landlords. Cowards prefer to point to weak, poor people, i.e. benefit recipients, because that’s easier and safer than confronting rich powerful people, i.e. politicians and businessmen.

I’ll reiterate the crux of the argument again, because some (e.g. Morningstar) apparently can’t understand things the first (or even second) time round:
It is right to complain about people abusing the tax and benefits system. But benefit claimants are a nonsensical choice to focus on given how insignificant they are in the grand scheme of government spending and financial abuses. It is like an A&E doctor focusing on the cut finger of a road-accident victim whilst ignoring the internal bleeding. Of course it’s right to treat a cut finger, but only an idiot doctor would prioritise that.

“It is insufficient argument to keep on about 'the financial sector not paying its way'”
No one ‘pays their way’ – neither benefit scroungers nor tax evaders nor bankers nor anyone else. None of us ‘pay’; we are all taxed (once we earn enough), i.e. the government +takes+ from us. Many people from all sectors and all income-brackets scrounge, cheat and fiddle. Again, to reiterate the crux of the argument in an attempt to help you comprehend: if you are concerned about abuses of the system, housing benefit recipients is an appalling choice to focus on for reasons that include the fact that the amount paid in housing benefit (approx £20 billion) is a paltry sum and, moreover, only a tiny fraction of that benefit expenditure can be regarded as controversial anyway.

Your penultimate paragraph is incoherent bizarre drivel, bile spewed in an attempt to sate your appetite for hating the ‘poor’ (as you denote them) – a class that you are apparently so proud of having escaped. Perhaps you have; but then your past financial poverty has simply been supplanted by intellectual and moral poverty – that often happens to people who have ‘made good’ (i.e. achieved their life’s ambition of getting their mitts on loads-o-money).

Anonymous said...

Rippon, Council houses were sold off to people like my parents who despite being poor, were thrifty and had managed to save enough to get a mortgage to buy their own house for the first time in their lives.

Many others in the same street had simply spent every penny they ever earned and therefore couldn't buy their house.

How exactly is this a bad thing?

Also why is it wrong to knock the millions who either pretend to be sick to scrounge on benefits, or insist on living somewhere way above their means at the taxpayers expence?

You can't just knock the rich for being rich. At least they employ loads of people and spend lots of money in our economy. I'd rather live next to Richard Branson than some druggie who's never done a days work in his life, or some single mother of three kids by different fathers or a Somali family of 12 claiming God knows how much in benefits.

How do you know that the rich all dodge their taxes anyway? Or is this just another 'fact'

rippon said...

“How exactly is this [selling council houses] a bad thing?”

Selling council houses is a bad thing because then the entire housing market is at the mercy of private landlords, which leads to increasing rents, which leads to increasing housing benefit payments, i.e. higher burden on the taxpayer.
If council houses +aren’t+ sold, then the council has control over the rent and can keep it low, which leads to lower housing benefit payments, i.e. lower burden on the taxpayer.

“Also why is it wrong to knock the millions who either pretend to be sick to scrounge on benefits, or insist on living somewhere way above their means at the taxpayers expence?”

It isn’t wrong to knock anyone who is cheating the system. But when you prioritise one target over another, then it is cowardly and bullying to focus on weak pathetic crooks instead of strong powerful crooks. It is also hypocritical because, if you claim to be concerned about lessening the taxpayers’ burden, then there is massively more to be gained from targeting the powerful and rich (e.g. military lobby, energy lobby, banking lobby, and many others).

“You can't just knock the rich for being rich. At least they employ loads of people and spend lots of money in our economy.”

That is exactly wrong:
The biggest employer in this country is SMEs (small and medium enterprises). The function of banks in the economy is to extend credit to such businesses. The big boys, e.g. RBS, were saved by the taxpayer. Despite that, they are not lending, thereby failing in their duty to the taxpayer. Business managers across the country are livid with the banks because their miserly behaviour is preventing them from growing and employing. So the problem with rich people is exactly that they are +not+ employing “loads” of people. The state, e.g. NHS, is a far better (though less remunerative) employer of people. Right-wing governments (e.g. Thatcher, New Labour, Cameron) will not hold banks to account, e.g. compel them to lend, (even when they are the majority share-holder) because they are lackeys to big business.

“How do you know that the rich all dodge their taxes anyway? Or is this just another 'fact'”

Yes, that is indeed a fact: practically all rich people (and poor people) always aim to minimise their taxes and maximise their expense claims. Rich people can employ clever lawyers to exploit loopholes; if they are more daring, they will also employ illegal tactics to avoid tax. That should be of far greater concern to us than the tiny minority of benefit claimants, whose cheating of the system amounts to peanuts anyway.

Daedalus said...

I can only assume Ripon does not have a job and is not looking for one looking at the volume of posts he/she is putting in. The ultimate example of whats wrong with our socialist state!

If I had my way nobody would have benefits of more than £250 a week (40 hour min wage), obviously a couple would be £500 including everything, housing the lot. Maybe just maybe child allowance for upto 2 kids, to 16 of course.

Daedalus

jut said...

do these rich tax avoiders exist?
Murdoch, now 20 years with no tax payments
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/special_report/1999/02/99/e-cyclopedia/302366.stm

Richard Branson has a conviction for tax evasion.

Vodaphone recently escaped a £6 Billion tax bill http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=in_the_back&issue=1273

One of Osbornes chums, who's helping run our banks
http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=in_the_back&issue=1270

Google doing the same
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/apr/20/google-uk-tax-avoidance

Others of note...
Tesco, Beckham, etc.. etc..

jut said...

and Dispatches exposed several MP's taking part in tax avoidance including the current transport secretary.
The thing is, tax avoidance, while immoral isn't illegal, but it is only something the rich (and self employed) are able to do.

Paul said...

Of course it isn't something only the rich can do.

Apart from obvious things such as ISAs, there's a vast amount of tax avoidance on the blank ; payment in cash for services/goods rendered.

Incidentally, on HB, what were Labour planning that was so different in their manifesto ?

"Housing Benefit will be reformed so we do not subsidise people to live in private sector accommodation on rents working families couldn’t afford"

Anonymous said...

I think it makes perfect sense that people live in houses they can afford to live in and don't live in houses they can't afford.
It doesn't matter where they are born, how much they earn or what they do for a living.

As for income tax.
I'd like to see a cap on that.
How about £2k per month.
Most people wouldn't notice the change in their pay packet, but it would be a lot fairer on all the individuals in the country.
Why should some people pay more than others in tax just because they earn more?
They still have the same government and social services.

Sure, it'll seriously deplete the countries balance books, but that can be easily rectified by giving less out in housing benefits.

From Anonymous Rov

Anonymous said...

Paul: How does someone who has their income tax taken through PAYE able to avoid paying it?
The only way to avoid tax on your income is to not go through PAYE.

Anon above...go take a course in economics before spouting out crap like that. The idea is to keep money moving around.

Anonymous said...

I thought the 'idea' was that everyone should pay a fair share of tax and receive a fair share of benefits.

I've never liked the idea that those that work harder get taxed so much more.
It's no wonder people try and evade tax when they are asked to hand 50%+ of their income to the government while the workshy unemployed are handed free money for doing nothing.

Nobody minds paying tax to help those in need, but I do object to helping the lazy and feckless.

As for keeping money moving around, well that can easily be accomplished by the money not being given in tax being spent instead. :)

rippon said...

“I've never liked the idea that those that work harder get taxed so much more.”

That idea is a fallacy. The people who make the +most+ money are the ones who work the +least+ hard (if at all).

For example, a nurse works infinitely harder than a property tycoon, but the difference in their incomes goes beyond massive – it practically puts them on different planets.

Anonymous said...

@ippon:

For example, a nurse works infinitely harder than a property tycoon,

Bollocks. A nurse does a 40 hour week, most of which she spend standing around drinking coffee and bullshitting with her mates while elderly patients die in their own piss in the ward across the corridor.

I'm a property tycoon, at the smaller end of the scale, and I've worked a 70 hour week for the last 25 years, starting with carrying hods on sites for a couple of years, graduating to brickie-ing and then risking my own house and savings to buy a bit of land to build on.

Fuck off.

rippon said...

The coward who goes by the name of “Anonymous” says, “Fuck off.”

Says it all, really.

Such gutsy talk from someone who likes to hide behind anonymity.

“Anon…” is long and tedious to type, so I’ll just call him “Cretin”, which is more accurate anyway.

Cretin thinks he’s an expert on nursing.

Cretin thinks he’s paid his dues and therefore deserves to keep (i.e. hates paying tax) every last penny that he can get his grubby greedy hands on.

Cretin is deluded enough to think his past efforts to get where he is (presumably bulging wads of cash in his trouser pockets to keep his dick and brains company, but now devoid of any intelligence or morality, assuming he had any to begin with) are of interest. Anyone, e.g. teachers (e.g. Frank Chalk), can bleat a self-serving sob story about the dues they’ve paid to get where they are; but only self-obsessed narcissists like Cretin actually +want+ to spout their life-stories to strangers.

I certainly +don’t+ wish you, Cretin, to “fuck off” (to borrow from your sophisticated lexicon): your post has been so amusing that I’d like to hear more from you.

I suspect Frank Chalk (perhaps others too) would also like to hear more from you, because Chalk seemed quite elated – with his “Fight, fight, fight!” – by the presence of some conflict on his blog.

It is the increasing enrichment of cretins and bankers that people have been defending – deeply fallacious because, overall, they massively damage our society rather than contribute, like nurses. (One scam defence of their greed – which they re-label in Orwellian double-speak as ‘entrepreneurship’ – that they like to pull is ‘But we pay more taxes than anyone else!’, whilst employing every trick in the book to avoid and evade every last penny of tax possible.)

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with the last anon. Unless Rippon knows a large sample (say 100) of property tycoons and nurses then he cannot say which group works hardest.

All his comments can be summed up as

"Rich people are bad, poor people are good!"

rippon said...

“Totally agree with the last anon. Unless Rippon knows a large sample (say 100) of property tycoons and nurses then he cannot say which group works hardest.”

Since you agree with Cretin but disagree with me, then you must believe Cretin knows around a hundred nurses, and that he has (somehow) measured how hard they work and compared it with how hard a similar number of property tycoons work.

Do you really believe that?

I don’t. I believe that Cretin feels very self-satisfied and smug about his achievements and therefore recoils at the suggestion that the gulf between his wealth/income and that of others (e.g. nurses) cannot be morally justified.

Perhaps deep down he knows that it cannot be justified and that’s why, angry toddler-style, he sticks his fingers in his ears and starts shouting (with expletives).

Bren said...

Well I've worked hard and become reasonably wealthy. Why is that so wrong?

Ten to one Rippon works in the Public sector which is full of people who just want a safe cushy job.

Nothing wrong with that, but don't start moaning about those of us who have taken a few risks to make some money.

rippon said...

What I am moaning about is the vacuous purpose in life – “to make some money” – that you ascribe to yourself, and that is so widely shared and celebrated in our materialist culture. (Of course, I do have some sympathy with this widespread worship of money and ‘stuff’ because we’re all human, so I too, like most people, feel enticed by the glossy adverts for, say, the latest smartphones – because, after all, as the adverts show, all the most beautiful people are using them, and I’d like to belong to that crowd.)

The problem with property tycoons is that, whereas society needs houses which are safe, affordable, efficient, attractive, spacious etc, none of those criteria drive them; their overriding criterion (“to make some money”) is profitability, which can (and does) easily lead to the opposite, e.g. unsafe, expensive, inefficient, grim, overcrowded.

The problem with bankers is that, whereas businesses need credit that is affordable and reliable, bankers’ overriding criterion (“to make some money”) is, again, profitability, which can (and does) lead to lending which is risky, volatile and extortionate.

Of course, many ‘entrepreneurs’ who seek to ‘make some money’, deep down, recognise that their inner purpose is vacuous, so they pretend that they do contribute to society by typically bleating ‘But I pay loads in taxes!’; but that must lead to some cognitive dissonance inside their heads because they’re aware, even as they bleat that defence of their vacuous life-purpose, that, actually, they do everything in their power to avoid/evade all taxes.

Anonymous said...

"actually, they do everything in their power to avoid/evade all taxes."

Come on Rippon, this is just another of your allegations made without any idea of whether it is true or not. It's just more 'rich people bad, poor good' stuff.

rippon said...

I’ve never said the poor are “good”; some of them are indeed feckless and lazy.

My argument, essentially, is that we should concentrate on cutting welfare to the rich (e.g. don’t bale-out city gamblers, eliminate tax havens, tax the corporations properly, don’t subsidise the MoD’s crooked £billion arms-deals with corrupt regimes, don’t allow private schools charitable status, etc, etc).

But the media, who belong to the exclusive club of rich powerful corporations, successfully divert our attention away from big cheats and toward pathetic little benefit-cheats. We follow their lead like sheep.

Anonymous said...

Rippon 'the media, who belong to the exclusive club of rich powerful corporations, successfully divert our attention away from big cheats and toward pathetic little benefit-cheats'

A quick unscientific look through last Sundays' Times reveals just the opposite.

Page 1 "Tory Minister aids Tycoon"
Page 4 More of the above article and a criticism of wealthy non doms.
Page 7 Fraudster's £20 000 gift to Baroness Udin and criticism of a curry tycoon's possible peerage.
Page 9 FIFA boss corruption.

So in reality, this bastion of the right wing concentrates on the big cheats not the little ones.

seriousteacher said...

Rippon
I'm interested to know if you think it is fair that we are paying to help people live in houses that we couldn't even dream of living in. That is Frank's main point. If things get difficult for us we will have to think about moving ourselves.

rippon said...

Anonymous above said:

A quick unscientific look through last Sundays' Times reveals just the opposite.

Page 1 "Tory Minister aids Tycoon"
Page 4 More of the above article and a criticism of wealthy non doms.
Page 7 Fraudster's £20 000 gift to Baroness Udin and criticism of a curry tycoon's possible peerage.
Page 9 FIFA boss corruption.

*******************

Those are all good signs, but, as you say, this is a quick unscientific look at one issue of one paper.

There are media analysts who perform long slow methodical scientific analyses of media output, and they conclude that rich powerful people who shape our culture and run our country are rarely, if ever, seriously challenged.

Moreover, the examples you cite are all about individuals behaving corruptly, not about endemic structural problems, which is the type of issue that Frank Chalk initiated this thread with: he asserted that there was an endemic structural problem with the disbursement of housing benefit, e.g. that the system is financing feckless lazy lifestyles.

I don’t have the knowledge to dispute that, but disputing that was never my argument. My argument is that, if people want to complain about their taxes being wasted on undeserving recipients, then chavs-on-benefits is an easy, lazy, cowardly, misdirected choice. It is the bully’s choice: go after pathetic little people instead of big powerful people.

Moreover, whilst I don’t have sufficient detailed knowledge to dispute that, the chav-haters here similarly don’t have enough knowledge to know whether housing benefit is indeed being significantly abused. You just take the word of rags like the Daily Mail as gospel.

rippon said...

Seriousteacher asks, is it “fair that we are paying to help people live in houses that we couldn't even dream of living in”? No, it’s not fair (assuming that that is even an accurate picture), but my problem with you lot is that you’re talking about pathetic little chavs. For your own reasons, you deeply resent a tiny proportion of your taxes being used to keep roofs over +their+ heads, but you don’t bat an eyelid when a massive proportion of your taxes is used to keep failed city gamblers in their penthouses. (I can speculate on your reasons; and, in so speculating, it is difficult to think of any reasons/motivations that reflect well on you.)

Many here have a very immature attitude towards taxation. If I followed your logic, then I could similarly whine: I’m very healthy and lead a healthy lifestyle. It’s not +fair+ that I have to pay taxes to treat all the ill people out there, especially the ones who +made themselves+ ill through irresponsible behaviour.

But I’m more mature than that. There are (at least) two good reasons why (we hope) our NHS treats everyone without passing judgements:
(1) We want our society to have a high standard or moral decency.
(2) It would be prohibitively bureaucratic and expensive to means-test what people ‘deserve’ instead of simply giving them what they need.

There’s a million ways in which your taxes are abused, e.g. illegal invasion-occupations abroad, privatisation of cheap essential services into expensive businesses. But, again, for reasons that can only reflect badly on them, people on this thread like to focus on small people that repel them (e.g. chavs, Muslims – who happen to receive benefits) rather than rich powerful people by whom they feel impressed/humbled/intimidated.

seriousteacher said...

Excuse me, Rippon, but I asked you a simple question, which you then answered. Despite all of your posturing on here, it turns out that you agree with the original comment on the blog, I asked if it's fair that we are paying for people to live in houses that some of us couldn't dream of living in, and you said 'No, it's not fair.' Thank you for that, but
you then spoil it all by assuming you can pigeon-hole me - and everyone else who disagrees with you - as holding certain views which then you proceed to rant against. This is extremely immature. I asked one question and I belong to 'you lot'. The fact is that I agree with you about matters of tax avoidance and many things you say about how public sevices are run. You need to get a grip and stop being so patronising.

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