Just when I think that David Cameron's Tories can't get any worse, up pops a economically ignorant socialist nutbag who, in attacking the Tories, makes me think that the Conservatives aren't that bad.
As you know, I get extraordinarily irritated at all of this posing about "families"; I object to my lifestyle being curtailed simply because my money is being stolen in order to fund someone else's lifestyle choice.
My lifestyle choice is occasional relationships, hard work, drinking a fairly hefty amount of alcohol and occasionally taking drugs. There's no Tax Credits here, no breaks. Someone else decides to have a baby and suddenly its Tax Credits, Child Allowance, Social Housing and such.
Why is one lifestyle worth more than the other?
Some people might accuse me of being callous, especially in describing the decision to have a baby as "a lifestyle choice". But what the socialists have done, with their Welfare State, is even worse: they have made having children into a financial investment.
Some people might argue that we need to have lots of babies in order to pay for our pension funds. Leaving aside the fact that this is, again, viewing children as a financial investment, it is not even true.
Let us say that we need a fixed amount in order to pay for pensions. Now, we can make that fixed amount up in one of two ways. We can take a small amount from more people, or we can take a bigger amount from fewer people.
Which one you favour is actually irrelevant; what I am saying is that we do not need to have lots more babies in this country. We could just as easily fulfill the pensions requirements by making everyone richer per capita.
Economics is not a zero sum game but, if it were, would you rather have lots of people sharing a smaller fraction of the economic pie, or fewer people sharing a bigger fraction of said pie? Would you prefer, for instance, to be living in Britain or India?
Economics is not a zero sum game, of course; our economy tends to grow but the question is still the same. Would you prefer fewer, richer people or many more, poorer people?
Babies are therefore fairly irrelevant to the economic argument(altough the level of attainment of those babies as they grow is not).
So, having removed that particular argument, I ask again: why am I milked to pay for someone else's lifestyle choice? This was the source of my irritation with Cameron's maternity and paternity pay announcements.
Luckily for the Conservatives, up pops Kerron Cross, "voice of the delectable Left", to make Cameron not look like such a moron.
The fact is that the Tories don't really believe in the merits of paternity and maternity leave (and never have), like they don't really believe in providing families with the Minimum Wage, Working Families Tax Credits, increased work-life balance and so forth. They just want you to talk about whether it is right for Cameron to use his family (and what a nice family they are too) in this way.
Well, thank fuck for that. For a moment, I thought Cameron and his Tories were sincere in their plans to ruin businesses. But, in order to justify my label of Cross as an economic moron, let us take a look at Kerron's virtuous policies, shall we?
- National Minimum Wage: fucking hell, where to start? OK, you rent your labour to someone for a certain amount of money. The reason that the employer can afford to pay you that money is because you are going to help the business make a profit. In other words, your labour needs to be worth more—and with NI, office overheads, etc. it needs to be considerably more—than you are paid.
Some people are never going to be worth paying at all and will thus remain unemployed (unless they retrain, for instance, thus adding to their human capital worth). If you introduce a Minimum Wage of, say, £4, anyone who's labour is worth less than £4 an hour will never have a job.
As you raise that Minimum Wage (especially if you do so above the level of natural wage inflation) then you increase the number of people who labour is not worth that amount. As such, you increase the number of people who will never be able to get a job.
The consequences of this are fairly plain. That person will, for starters, never have the chance to better themselves at the expense of their employer, through in-job training, etc. They are left very poor and so their chances of being able to go and study to improve their human capital, and therefore their labour rent value, is also reduced.
So, you contribute to an ever-increasing underclass, an üntermensch, who will never get a job. As such, you propagate an increase in the number of people who will always be living solely off benefits. As you increase those benefits, you make it even less likely that getting a low paid job will be more profitable, given the time outlay involved in working, and thus further reduce the probability that these people will ever work again.
If you then introduce Child Benefits, your unemployed person can afford to have children (they become, in fact, an investment), and you end up with children being brought up in a home where no one has ever worked. And so, you increase the number of people who, in turn, will probably never work.
And the stupid thing is that you don't have to take my word for it: we have seen this happen over the last sixty years. We now have a reported 3 million households in Britain that are entirely dependent on benefits.
And as Labour ramps up the Minimum Wage, the number of households will only increase as you increase the number of people whose labour is not worth the wage that you have insisted must be paid.
It is social and economic lunacy, and yet Kerron Cross thinks that it is a good thing. Ergo, he's a moron.
There's another aspect to this, of course, and it lies in the name National Minimum Wage. We know that the National Pay Deal is a disaster because those who live in the cities are able to afford less than those who live in poorer areas. For just one example, here's Timmy at the ASI on a new paper on nursing pay deals [PDF].
As we're all told so often of the connection between (relative) poverty and bad health we would expect the rates to be higher in poor areas. Quite the contrary: the richer the area surrounding the hospital the worse the survival rate. The reason for this is that nurses' wages are set centrally, to be the same (with very little geographic variation) right across the country. However, wages in general are not the same across the country...
Everyone suffers. In this case, patients have a higher mortality rate, but nurses who work in more expensive places in the country also suffer because, although they are paid the same as someone living in a poorer area, prices are higher and so they are poorer. The same applies to the National Minimum Wage.
So, what should be done about it? Well, here's Timmy again, this time at The Business.
There will be a small rise in unemployment as a result of the rise, certainly, but probably too small to see in the gross figures.
But as you can see, the major effect is to reduce the levels of benefits, while raising the income from the business employing them, leaving the workers themselves only very marginally better off. It's a shift in who is paying those benefits in other words: from taxpayers to the business.
And that's something of a problem. We have market wages, that's simply what some people's labour is worth. It might be (and I share it to an extent) that we need a welfare safety net, or that we regard, at least sometimes, the market wages on offer to some groups as being too low.
Now, who should be paying the cost of remedying that situation? The businesses who are paying what the labour is worth? Should they be forced to pay more than it is worth? Or perhaps it is more honest to say that if we as a society don't like the results of that market, then we as the society should be paying the cost of mediating that result.
That is, we shouldn't be raising the minimum wage and making business pay the costs of our moral decision, we should be raising tax credits and making ourselves carry the burden of that moral decision.
Quite so. And in doing that, we will actually get more people into work because we allow businesses to pay even those who labour is worth less than a "living wage" to have a job. This is turn allows them to gain in-job training and thus, hopefully, to move up the job ladder and thus get paid more and so taking them out of the benefits system. I mean, even having a job makes them instantly more employable!—a long period of joblessness is very unattractive to potential employers.
- Working Families Tax Credits: first, why on earth should everyone else pay for that family's lifestyle choice?
Second, you should not be taxing poor people at all. If Labour really cared about the poor, they would not tax them and then make them fill in vast amounts of forms in order to beg for some of their own money back.
If people like Kerron Cross actually gave two shits about the poor, they would advocate raising the Income Tax threshold to, say, £12,000 (which would currently take those working full time on the Minimum Wage out of the income tax system entirely) and lambast Gordon Brown for failing to raise the Personal Tax Allowance in any significant way.
Kerron doesn't because Kerron doesn't actually give a fuck about the poor: he just likes his gesture politics. If you want to help the working poor, Kerron, stop taking their fucking money in the first place, you dishonest, thieving bastard.
Working Tax Credits are a joke: fraud and overpayments, not to mention the cost of employing the staff to do the assessments, cost us billions of pounds a year; billions of pounds that, were you so inclined, could be put to better use by actually helping the poor.
But people like Kerron aren't bothered; his mindless tribalism stops him being able to criticise his political heroes at all, despite the fact that it is the poor who suffer most from his vacuous loyalty. In fact, I can sum up what I think of JKerron and his Labour masters in Kerron's own words:
I am sorry, boys, but it just doesn't wash. In fact it's rather insulting that you think you can get away with it at all.
Quite so, Kerron; quite so.
- Increased work/life balance: this is almost the most insulting of all. You see, so arrogant is Kerron Cross, ladies and gentlemen, that he believes that he and his NuLabour paymasters know, better than you, what your work/life balance should be.
Not only do they think that they know better than you, but they've got legislation and they aren't afraid to use it.
Well, the EU has the legislation actually, in the form of the Working Time Directive, but Labour doesn't want to tell you that. The EU wants to tell you and me how many hours a week we are allowed to work in order to "increase the work/life balance" and Labour are enthusiastic cheerleaders for it.
The arrogance is overwhelming. I am a single bloke who likes buying booze, fags and technology. I will happily work overtime in order to pay for that technology. I don't have a wife or children so if I choose more work than life (especially as I tend to enjoy my work) then why should the government dictate how many hours I am allowed to work?
It shouldn't. Full stop. To try to dictate to you how you live your life, including your "work/life balance", is incredibly intrusive. From the point of view of someone who believes in liberty, it's fundamentally wrong.
But Kerron is proud of it, because Kerron knows better than you do: please, bow down and worship Kerron, you thick bastards, because Kerron is better than you are. Kerron knows how you should live your life, for Kerron is your master.
I am sure that there are many other things that Kerron is proud of, but I think that the above will do as an introduction to the moronic, economically illiterate, illiberal world of Kerron Cross, wouldn't you say?
Fuck off, Kerron; fuck off and weep for the lives you've ruined, and continue to ruin. You will get what you deserve.
P.S. Don't get me wrong: I still think that Cameron and Co. are statist idiots. It's just that, relative to some people, they look like radiant intellectual beacons of freedom.