Saturday, 8 August 2015
‘The most vulnerable in society’ is fast becoming a cliché and a devalued one at that. What does it mean anyway? Poor? Stupid? Weak? Sick? Any or all of the above? It seems that all you need do is evoke ‘the most vulnerable’ and hey presto you care... whether you actually care or not. And the rich are to blame, by all accounts, for not giving more, says Jeremy Corbyn, which he also believes they would willingly do if asked.
All of this, of course ignores a couple of realities. First, ‘the rich’ already pay much more than ‘the most vulnerable in society' and would do so even if we had a flat tax rate. A so-called progressive tax system demands not only more tax from ‘the rich’ but a higher proportion of the rewards for their endeavours. There quickly comes a point, as France has learned, where this acts as a disincentive and throttles domestic wealth creation. Yet Corbyn would follow François Hollande’s aborted lead and push for 75% tax and more if he could.
Also, we used to know what poor was; it meant not having food and shelter and eking out a thoroughly miserable existence with mere survival being a significant goal. But now ‘we’, that is western governments, define poverty as less than 60% median income and garnish that sacred figure with the redundant term ‘child poverty’; there appears to be no quantitative assessment of that state lest it be the children of parents who already fall into the ‘poor’ category. I would love to see the reaction of a Victorian street urchin to the lifestyles of poor children in Britain today. Child poverty is an emotive shill for the con of creating an ever larger dependent class and the 60% figure ensures we will always have a significant number of ‘poor’, even if they lived gilded lives of leisure.
But what, actually, is rich? Is there some figure above median income that suddenly makes you rich, regardless of need? Because, if median income is £25k, somebody earning below £15k is officially poor yet they may work for six months then party the rest of the year away in some far eastern paradise; a life most median earners could only ever dream about. So is, say, four times median income ‘rich’ if you have four children and to earn that you have to live where housing is cripplingly expensive and being in work means there is no subsidised social housing available to you? Yet if you are single, living in a debt-free home and that income is not the result of back-breaking drudgery you might be comparatively rich indeed.
It’s this ‘relative’ thing, isn’t it? Those who scream about poverty and vulnerability are driven partly by altruism, that’s true, but they also appear to believe that it is somehow socially unjust for vast wealth and genuine poverty to exist in the same society. As there is no way you can enable the sick and disadvantaged, the stupid and feeble of mind and body... and the bone idle, all to achieve wealth, their answer is always to hobble ‘the rich’ without ever addressing the clear fact that the truly rich can escape all their sanctions. By upping sticks and leaving.
Look! I'm sitting! All. By. Myself!
A short article in the Daily Mirror addresses the loss of what used to be basic life skills to navigate society; these skills are increasingly being replaced by a dependence on technology. How chaotic would a ‘tach-savvy’ teen’s life become if denied the guiding hand of the Internet? Would they then, also, be classed as vulnerable? This is analogous to the poverty trap; if you live your whole life on crutches that others tell you you need, soon you’ll believe you can’t survive without them. You want to escape from poverty? Have a stab at becoming invulnerable for a change.