The one on inequality, basic income and anger.

wealth inequality

Source: Oxfam.

Seriously. 5 families are wealthier than 12.6 MILLION people put together.

Does this strike you as a good idea?

And it appears that the welfare state created after the second world war, to even out the chances of all of society, to provide health care, actual affordable housing instead of Affordable Housing™1 and education is being steadily eroded. We have a Conservative chancellor referring to National Insurance as a jobs tax. National Insurance was the contribution that people made towards getting benefits BUT not all benefits rely on contributing.

And quite frankly, that’s how it should be. Not everyone *can* contribute. And as a society, we look after the poor and the vulnerable. But right at the moment, with divisive rhetoric spilling from politicans’ lips and screaming from newspaper headlines, we seem to be forgetting that.

We seem to be forgetting that we could all pull together to make a stronger society. That each person has individual worth just by virtue of being an individual. (If you don’t believe that, I suggest you click away now, you’re wasting your time reading here.)

So yesterday, I tweeted a stream of consciousness.

And as a response to that last tweet, mentioning Basic Income, I got “you mean we who work should pay taxes to support those who could work but chose not to?”

Seriously. That’s your takeaway from my stream?

I’d point out that I was recommending land value tax and tobin tax, neither of which are income based taxes. And in Basic Income trials around the world, there was a very small drop in employment – mainly students who remained in education, and new mothers who spent time with their children. In both cases those are long term investments that will pay off – the student will be better educated, and better able to support themselves in future. The mother will be healthier, and her children happier and healthier, and again, more likely to be better members of society. (If you subscribe to the theory all children should be in institutional child care from the word go, jog on.)

So no, I’m not talking about taxing “hard working” individuals so that some people can put their feet up. I’m talking about exploring a variety of ways to address the drop in jobs as technology increases. I’m talking about recognising that some people work really hard in things that don’t get paid, like caring for elderly or disabled relatives. I’m talking about maybe sharing out the work opportunities a little better, instead of having some people working 60 hours, and others on zero hours contracts trying to figure out how to pay the (not so affordable) rent.

I’m talking about having an enlightened discussion on how we can pull together as a society instead of behaving like a wolf pack and turning on the weakest to drive them out.

So, if you want to have that discussion, pull up a chair. Otherwise, there’s a big red x somewhere in your browser that will work really well as an exit.

Angry? Yes, actually, I am. I’m furious that it’s next to impossible to find out the truth of what’s going on all around us, with having to unpick propaganda and bias from every bit of information I find. I’m mad as hell that this country is sitting back and letting an out of touch parliament turn us against each other, while the European parliament works on legislation that will make it illegal NOT to privatise the NHS. (TTIP. Look it up. Fight it. Tell your MP and your MEP you’ve heard of it, you don’t want it, and you’re watching them.)

What are we doing? I feel like apologising to Harry Leslie Smith and the memory of all those men and women who died in WWII fighting for our freedom. For a while, we were working on a better society. It was never perfect, but it was heading in the right direction. What do we do to reverse the rot?

1Please note, to the best of my knowledge, the government has NOT trademarked Affordable Housing. It would help if they did, as it would eradicate confusion between their meaning and the original meaning of the words. Did you know that Affordable Housing is defined in relation to the median income in society? No, neither did I until this week. The median salary, incidentally is the middle, and it’s a whole lot higher than the mean (average) salary. Don’t you love newspeak and statistics?

About Jax Blunt

I'm the original user, Jax Blunt I've been blogging for 14 years, give or take, and if you want to know me, read me :)

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  1. Has there ever a conscious time when the government struck a balance , it is such a hornets nest .
    You are right to be angry
    Ninjacat recently posted…Failure Is The Ultimate SuccessMy Profile

    • Jax Blunt says:

      No, I don’t think they’ve ever struck the balance completely, but there have been times they’ve been headed in the right direction I think, and this manifestly is not one of those times.

  2. The three things we need to do are:

    1. Update the 1844 banking act (which forbade private banks printing their own money) and create government-issued ‘digital bank notes’ to counter the reality that 97% of money is created as loans by private banks – essentially the same thing as the previously forbidden money printing. This needn’t be done overnight but banks can be required to have bigger reserves and be required to buy digital banknotes at face value in the same way they must purchase paper notes and coins – the profit on which goes to the treasury, reducing the need for tax.

    2. Land Value Tax. At the moment it is tax efficient to hoard land and charge people rent on it. Yet no one made the land and it’s a resource that should not be in an individual’s possession without fair taxation. Ideally I’d like like this to replace income tax on labour – seems bonkers that people are taxed for slogging away in jobs while the rentier class creams off the fruits on their efforts.

    3. Basic income. Automation has rendered many jobs obsolete. Most new jobs growth is in sectors that do no pay living wage. But we must pretend that work pays and that there’s plenty to go around. By giving everyone a basic income they can work part time on occasion, there would be no benefits trap as you would get your basic income either way, and people could better live their lives without so often being forced into unsuitable work.

  3. I cannot believe that statistic about the top richest families. I pretty much agree with everything you’re saying, especially about the land value tax.

  4. I am so very glad that you’re angry and writing about it, and I hope that thousands of other people read this post and get angry too.
    looking for blue sky recently posted…Raging against the systemMy Profile

  5. I think it’s time people starting rethinking what it means to ‘contribute’. Monetary contributions arent the be all and end all of life – what about the contributions made by a child who smiles and says hello to an elderly person on the street? That contribution can make a bigger difference in a person’s day than any money, and it works the other wY round too – an elderly person who takes the time to chat to a child. The disabled or homeless person who stops you in your tracks and makes you rethink what it means to live. The experiences of others that help you lead a better life. The volunteers who give their time for free because they believe they are making a difference, even though it’s not viewed as financially valuable by society. Income tax is the theft of lives and it seems that with each hour that is stolen, it takes something far more important – our compassion and humility.

  6. Chris Green says:

    Well said Jax. I totally support this, without any doubt.

  7. Basic income is great idea and its really taking off, although I think most people dont actually understand the basic premise which is why so many people fall into ‘so you mean I pay my taxes to make poeple who dont want to work well off?’ trap. Its almost too simple an idea for people to grasp! Need to work on the EVERYONE gets BI whether they are rich, poor, working or not angle a little more. But it is a complete answer to inequality and gives so much more power to individuals when making choices, greater power to people who maybe just want to be great full-time parents, greater freedom to women, a basic level of dignity to the unemploed, sick, disabled it would also make the arts and creatve sectors of society a much more thriving and vibrant entity in the UK and last but not least it should ensure the end of poverty. There are no down sides to this at all, which is why you will probably meet a lot of resistance from the elites and well orf, it will greatly diminish their ability to control, dictate and divide, they will have a much lesser ability to set the agenda. Go Basic Income Initiative, lets get the message out there.
    The only point I would make about funding it is that a large part of it would come from the massive diminuation in the operating costs of the welfare state, which costs as much in administartion (amd maladministration) as the payments they make. There would, in fact, be no real need for a welfare state as such.

  8. Certainly we need to rationalise taxes as well as venefits, and unify the two. the prime contenders are dividends/income tax, vat, or land tax. land tax would result in people living in smaller and smaller houses. vat charges for commodity costs, so things like drugs that are expensive to produce will become very expensive although their manpower costs are low. so I vote for income tax. but I would insist that share trading and house rental are taxable at 50%, like working people’s incomes.

  9. Realize that that person out of work, his grandfather built the roads from freely given resources that that one with the opportunity for education used, as the educated are dependent on the infrastructure to become filled with words forming knowledge and information learned without any practical application, from which an ego is formed, where they actually believe that a human does not want to work, does not want to participate in life, does not want shelter, a family, an education, and health sustaining food. I mean, does that cow, a formation with four legs, teeth built for munching grass want to remain in the confined cage? Or would that cow, or that pig, or that chicken rather run and eat and peck, or dig in the dirt? Would not a biological being, as a man, rather use their arms, and legs given the means to do so?
    The belief that someone can own what is here is an illusion we all accept and allow as we become the same ego built without common sense that no man is an island, and that we are all the same.
    Knowledge and Information without application is useless. Those doing the practical application required for society are as important as those who have learned the ” code” of words, and have self aggrandized to the point where they no longer realize the real value is life and not what exists in their minds. Our for-fathers built the roads, and with growing automation, labor is no longer needed as before. THis means that there are not as many jobs, so we need to do what we call ” work” less and learn new ways to develop ourselves, to solve problems. THere is an elephant in the room, based on past ideas that no longer work in caring for earth. The master /slave ideology must come to an end, as it was an illusion to begin with. We are all life, it is time to build a system that realizes the value of this, and supports all of the physical, as it is life information.

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