Monday, January 23, 2012

Quote of the Day

It seems that your humble Devil missed the sixth birthday of this blog, which occurred on the 13th of this month—still limping on!

Anyway, here's a quick quote of the day from Dumb Jon, regarding the Benefits Cap.
See, that's the penalty of basing your policy platform on appealing to a tiny slither of North London. You really do start to think that an income equivalent to £34K gross is the equivalent of Dickensian poverty.

Meanwhile, that creaking sound is one of the central pillars of the left's platform collapsing into dust. They've spent years telling everyone that the Tories are heartless. Now they've got to explain that by 'heartless' they mean 'opposed to taxing people with jobs so they can give some other people more for watching TV than most of the country earns working full time'.

Quite—it is an utter scandal. As far as I am concerned, this state of affairs simply isn't defensible in any way. And it seems that, according to Liberal Voice of the Year (by a massive margin) Mark Littlewood, the majority of the country agrees...
Only around 10% of the electorate oppose the principle of an annual cap on benefits. Approximately 80% support the cap being no more than £26,000 and about 60% think Iain Duncan Smith’s policies are, if anything, too generous.

However, I also think that the Tories are shying away from the most necessary reform—we must cease paying for the unemployed to have children.

If you would like to be kind about it—we don't want retrospective taxes, etc.—then you announce, very publicly, that nine months from now there will be no child benefit of any sort.

Obviously, the unelected and utterly irrelevant Bishops will kick up a stink but fuck 'em, frankly. We cannot afford to keep paying those who will not work to have children (preventing many of them working for another 18 years) who will then also not work—but who will beget yet more offspring who will also not work, and so on and so forth.

Stop all Child Benefits now (or in nine months)! You know it makes sense.

Anyway...

In the meantime, the massive piece of software that your humble Devil has been working on has just been through it's first alpha testing phase—and received an average score (from actual customers) of 4.5 out of 5. Needless to say, we are very happy!

We are now moving into beta and we should be finished, a little behind schedule, in mid-February. And then comes the challenge of the full release...

In addition to this, I have been inveigled into taking part in another Barnes Charity Players production—this time playing the irrepressible, and slightly sociopathic, Frank in George Bernard Shaw's Mrs Warren's Profession. This is already proving to be fun but, with the run starting on 20th of February (until the 25th), life is a little full right now!

Anyway, your humble Devil hopes to be a little more active around mid-February, although I shall attempt to post a little more frequently in between now and then.

Even should I fail to do so, I hope all of you have lots of fun in the meantime!

UPDATE: A Very British Dude opines on the Coalition's tactics here, and then finishes up with the kind of sentiment that the vast majority of the people in this country agree with.
The idea that an income equivalent to a salary of £34,000 "will thrust families into poverty" is absolutely abhorrent to the people who are forced, by the threat of expropriation and violence, to pay for it, people who are sneered at as "middle class". I would not be surprised if the Government quietly persuaded enough of its supporters in the Lords to stay away from yesterday's vote, to ensure a right royal battle on ground on which it is absolutely certain of the public's support.

Good luck, lefties, trying to persuade anyone that an income equivalent £34,000 a year salary is going to thrust anyone into "poverty". I suspect the Government is absolutely delighted to have this in the news for a few more weeks. "Labour wants to pay its voters more than you earn".

Quite.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's about time these Bishops were taught a jolly good lesson.
Bash the Bishops I say, bash the Bishops.
Somehow I'm going to do my bit in bed tonight.
Somehow.

Anonymous said...

lol @ anonymous!

Seriously those biships do need sorting out. If I were in charge I'd kick 'em all out of the HoL.

We're not a Christian country any more, we should be completely secular.

Z.

JuliaM said...

"However, I also think that the Tories are shying away from the most necessary reform—we must cease paying for the unemployed to have children."

Spot on! And yes, the current crop of 'Tories in name only' lack the balls to do it.

K.R.Lohse said...

"The irrepressible and slightly sociopathic ..."
Looks like a bit of inspired casting to me :) The bishops have little to do with religion any more. Belief in God is no longer obligatory, and has been overtaken by a social conscience which is ethically underdeveloped and therefore hypocritical

Woman on a Raft said...

the most necessary reform—we must cease paying for the unemployed to have children.
...

At least three years ago it was being discussed in the softest of contexts, the Alan Titchmarsh chatshow, that child benefit needed reforming.

What was surprising in that show, and similar, was that the audience had a clear idea that it wanted generous benefits for the replacement rate i.e. the first two children of any woman (meaning citizen, not just anybody).

The benefits would be transferable to whoever was looking after the child but only for the first two.

Thereafter, no cash benefits to be paid to the parent. The audience felt this was an ethical approach; if a parents decides to share the benefit between more children, that is their affair and the state should not interfere, but at the same time satisfied them they were acting reasonably to protect children.

The audience still wanted this paid universally, though. If it is going to be paid at all they didn't want to get in to arguments about family income.

NielsR said...

Isn't there a big hurdle to clear separating those who would have extra children because benefits will pay for it (or even turn a profit!), and those who have supported a large family while employed, and then lose that job temporarily or permanently through injury, illness, recession+lack of skills, etc, etc?

I absolutely agree choices should be constrained while on benefits. But perhaps child benefit should be capped based on family size when you first sign up?

The Stigler said...

It is completely ridiculous to have people who live on benefits within the M25. If you live on benefits then you can live anywhere, and we have plenty of parts of the UK that are currently depopulating.

Yes, you're not going to be near your "community", but I really don't give a fuck. We all make sacrifices for the money we earn (stress, time away from the kids, customers that give us a mouthful of shit), and I don't see why people who get it handed to them shouldn't do the same.

The simple remedy is Citizen's Income. Give people a monthly income, regardless of means that has to pay for food, shelter and whatever else you like. The poor that want to sit around smoking and eating pasties all day will simply move to the cheapest parts of the country where they have low rents, which allow them more pasties.

Anonymous said...

The real problem with the Bishops and the reason the CofE is dying on its arse is that they have exchanged moral absolutism (thou shalt not kill) for moral relativism (thou shalt not kill, but I'll understand if your Dad was an alcoholic)

I don't know that God will look kindly on them for perverting his message...

the a&e charge nurse said...

If benefits ARE capped how on earth will the army of landlords be able to maintain their portfolio of grotty properties, second home in the shires and regular golfing trips to Portugal?

"The entire benefits system is expected to be defunct by early March, making thousands of people unemployed who were formerly employed in preventing bedsit-based malnutrition. However, most of them are expected to quickly find work as racing drivers or astronauts" - smashing.
http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/ok%2c-we'll-get-jobs%2c-say-poor-people-201201244803/

Devil's Kitchen said...

A&E,

"If benefits ARE capped how on earth will the army of landlords be able to maintain their portfolio of grotty properties, second home in the shires and regular golfing trips to Portugal?"

Yep—that's an added bonus, eh? With, of course, the extra bonus of reducing rents for everyone else too (as outlined by Mark Wallace).

DK

the a&e charge nurse said...

Average rents in London
http://www.londonpropertywatch.co.uk/average_rental_prices.html

Mind you Stigler wants to deport all scroungers to special camps the other side of the M25 - any chance of diverting a % Hester's bonus in order to improve amenities slightly?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9028840/RBS-boss-Hester-unfairly-targeted-over-bonus.html

Devil's Kitchen said...

Uncapped HB scenario (the past)

Landlord: "... and the rent is £550 per week."
Prospective tenant: "I can't afford that."
Landlord: "Never mind—I can find someone who can claim housing benefit to pay. So piss off."

Capped HB scenario (now)

Landlord: "... and the rent is £550 per week."
Prospective tenant: "I can't afford that. I'll pay you £420 per week."
Landlord: "Buggeration. Since that's £20 more than I can get from someone on HB, I'll accept."

In the future, as HB is capped ever lower

Landlord: "... and the rent is £550 per week."
Prospective tenant: "I can't afford that. I'll pay you £370 per week."
Landlord: "Buggeration."

DK

the a&e charge nurse said...

Within a generation there will be towns and cities all over the country where there is "no accommodation with a rent within the reach of people whose income is supported by benefits", according to the Chartered Institute of Housing, if measures in last month's emergency budget to save £1.8bn from housing benefit and allowances to the poor are enacted.

In a briefing paper the institute says it cannot support the chancellor's proposals "because they will hit low income households hard during the recession precisely when they are most in need of support".
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jul/15/housing-benefit-poverty-emergency-budget

Perhaps the poor old CIH are simply unaware of Stigler's grand plan for a network of arbeitslager's?

The Stigler said...

a&e,

We can't seem to do much about single mothers with a couple of kids of questionable parentage that want to sit at home smoking and watching Jeremy Kyle.

But if they're going to do it, I don't see much difference between them doing it in Lincolshire as doing it in London, and Lincolnshire would cost the rest of us a lot less.

Robert said...

The anonymous Blind Bishop Basher sidled up to JM and said,
"Lets make children suffer, lets get like minded people to stop the Child Benefit."
J.M. smiled, " Ah, if only you really had balls to go with your Bishop, we could deprive millions of children."
The ghost of Lohse appeared rattling a steel chain, on the chain were tokens in gold and silver, inscribed thereon were words, 'sociopathic, social, conscience, ethically, hypocritical'.
The Blind Bishop Basher and J.M. looked at each other and exclaimed, "Uh."
Surreally a 'woman on a raft' floated past on a river of hypocracy, which they all bathed in. She sang a soft song about rich, poor people, and salacious men and women, who had the audacity to indulge in (s.e.x).
Not one of the quartet realised they were rich, that they would not be any richer by taking money off children, yes, its called CHILD benefit.
You have read the Devil and have been influenced, in keeping with this modern society you have seen a fly shit on a crumb of cake, so you declare the cake toxic, and a perfectly edible cake is wasted. So it is with benefits, one shit does not mean the whole cake is toxic.
God Bless you, if he no longer exists, I'll bless you.
R.D.J.

Anonymous said...

It is no use faffing around with child benefit, that is relatively minor. The welfare queens aren't having babies just to get that. They are doing it for the free housing, the income support, and the subsequent freedom from ever having to do a days work. The baby unlocks the full range of benefits for a workshy singleton who would otherwise be entitled to very little.
Our society is never going to countenance making that baby homeless, or consigning it to be brought up in a bed-sit or a B&B.

So what is the answer? If a baby is born with no breadwinner, and no suitable home, she shouldn't get to keep that child. Fast track adoption. The baby isn't her property, she has no means of providing for it.
Once they learn that they just went through 9 months of pregnancy just to end up back in the same old bed-sit, the baby boom will peter out. But we would have to show the resolve to do it. And make no mistake, it would raise hell. But that is what it would take, as a minimum, to address this problem.
We could put safeguards in place for people with a track record of employment, so they wouldn't be in the same jeopardy. But if you're not ready to block this channel, don't bother doing anything else.

Monty

the a&e charge nurse said...

"So what is the answer? If a baby is born with no breadwinner, and no suitable home, she shouldn't get to keep that child. Fast track adoption. The baby isn't her property, she has no means of providing for it" - would this exciting principle apply in later stages of life, lets suppose a single parent lost his/her income and had 5 year old twins ....... what then, would it be the arbeitslager for them all?

Anonymous said...

the a&e charge nurse said...
... a load of dishonest codswallop.

It seems the best you could you, having read what I said, was to pretend I had said something else and attack that.

Monty

the a&e charge nurse said...

Well, perhaps you could explain a bit more how babies will be removed for 'fast track adoption' - I mean supposing a baby is taken for fast track adoption and the distraught parent finds a job a few months later - will the baby be fast tracked back again - the mind literally boggles at how such a system might work, especially if the child has been whisked away to places like Lincolnshire?

Simon Jester said...

A&E:

Godwin. You lose.

the a&e charge nurse said...

"Godwin. You lose" ........ I thought commentators might be slightly more concerned about the short step from curtailing benefits to fast track adoptions and provincial arbeitslager's ......... apparently not?

Anonymous said...

"If benefits ARE capped how on earth will the army of landlords be able to maintain their portfolio of grotty properties, second home in the shires and regular golfing trips to Portugal?"

So all landlords have grotty properties, a second home in the shires and go on regular golfing trips to Portugal? Is that what you are saying?

Simon Jester said...

A&E:

So ... are you so ignorant that you haven't heard of Godwin's law, or so stupid that you don't understand it?

Anonymous said...

And let us consider the future of this baby, little Chardonnay, should she be left to the tender mercies of her feckless, bone idle, single mother.

First, gloss over all the standard neglect/ abuse/ exposure to whichever unemployed lowlife who just moved in with mama, and complete absence of any kind of upbringing, and assume she survives. The day this bairn leaves school with no qualifications, pram-face is going to throw her out of the council house. There's just no money in it any more, because the child benefit has ended. As a profit/loss centre, Chardonnay has gone into the red. And mummy is a capitalist, red in tooth and claw. The kid will be sent off to the social, their problem now. They will find her a B&B place. Until she gets pregnant....

It is high time we recognised these hapless babies as the hostages they really are. They are being held to ransom by manipulative women whose mercenary instincts would make your head spin. They wouldn't pass muster with the animal shelter if they applied for a hamster, yet we let them walk out of hospital with a baby and a helium balloon, and kid ourselves they are "earth mothers".

We have an underclass, and an appalling child abuse problem, because we are nurturing both.

Monty

the a&e charge nurse said...

"We have an underclass, and an appalling child abuse problem" - yes, but how does making thousands of families homeless help solve any of these problems?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-15674031

According to the London councils report "about 133,000 households (in London) will be unable to afford their rent if proposed changes to the welfare system go ahead".

It must be a great relief to know that forced resettlement and fast track adoptions are just some of the exciting solutions being bandied about by commentators on the far right?

bewick said...

Small village. Woman of 36 - 3 kids, 3 non contributing fathers. Never worked a day in her life. Her eldest, now 18, says that she is trying to get pregnant again. Why? Well the youngest is about to reach 7 so the gravy train reaches terminus. With luck she can manage a further 2 pregnancies and have free housing, and all found until aged 50.That's 34 years of taking and not giving. And NO her parents were never scroungers.
If she were the only one here it wouldn't be so bad but there are loads of 'em at it - and they swap tricks in the village shop.I hear it.The latest is to get one of the kids diagnosed with autism and/or ADHD. Disability benefit, even higher DLA, beckons if the kid can follow the instructions. I remind you - This is a small village and there are jobs nearby. Bishops haven't a bloody clue - nor it seems does DWP

Anonymous said...

"According to the London councils report "about 133,000 households (in London) will be unable to afford their rent if proposed changes to the welfare system go ahead.

It must be a great relief to know that forced resettlement and fast track adoptions are just some of the exciting solutions being bandied about by commentators on the far right?"

People who choose to work but can't afford to live in London, decide to move to where they can afford to live. Someone who has spent a lifetime living off the tax payer in the NHS might call that forced resettlement. Most normal people call it living within your means.

Anonymous said...

If I had ever been ambitious enough to want a property portfolio in London, I would have bought one of those big 5/6 bedroom villas in a smart area, and joined the racket by which a large family on benefits selects my house and demands that the social pay for them to rent it, at the rental set by me. Even after paying the customary under-the-counter kickback to the arranger, I would have a steady and generous rental income to set against the mortgage. Those tenants have no intentions of ever getting a job or moving out, they are already in the best house they are ever going to get. Low risk for the landlord, cushy lifestyle for the tenants, crippling for the taxpayer.
Scams have been going on for years outside of London too, though probably not on the same scale.

As a minimum, the availability of housing benefit has driven up rents in the private sector. Worst case, it has been open to corruption. If that incentive is sharply curtailed, there is a chance of rentals becoming less expensive.

Monty

the a&e charge nurse said...

"Someone who has spent a lifetime living off the tax payer in the NHS might call that forced resettlement" - so would any other person with an IQ over 70.

Anonymous said...

"so would any other person with an IQ over 70".


Interesting you should raise the issue of IQ. I have an IQ of 145 which I suspect is considerably higher than yours. I can assure you I don't consider moving to find work and living within my means to be forced resettlement. Only a retard would think that.

As it is, I don't consider IQ to be any real measure of intelligence. It's the sort of thing people who like to think they are clever trot out (nurses who like to think they really are doctors?).

The fact that you can't actually respond with anything approaching a reasoned argument and have chosen instead to reply with what I can only assume you consider to be humour (shit humour at that)would suggest you don't have anything sensible to say on this.

Perhaps you would be better off working out how to be a better nurse by learning how to properly feed elderly patients or even just working out how to wash your hands.

the a&e charge nurse said...

An IQ of 145 and the best you can manage is a recycled version of Tebbit-lite ..... disappointing
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/7858570/Norman-Tebbit-my-father-got-on-his-bike-to-look-for-a-job.html

I cite a couple of authorities (above) who set out in simple terms why they are unable to support the tory's latest bit of poor bashing - may I suggest you take a moment to read them rather than trotting out tedious comments about hand washing, not least because the only hand washing being done is amongst those who seem happy to put the boot in on struggling families.

Anonymous said...

It is landlords who take the most. They are the main cause of huge welfare bills.

Tax credits are the biggest problem in our welfare system. Companies offer salaries that need to be topped up with tax credits to live. The tax payer picks up part of a living wage bill for many millions of employees and the companies benefit from lower wage costs and continue to avoid as much tax as possible. Tax credits are a great system for transferring wealth from society as a whole to the rich.

Get rid of tax credits and bring in rent controls.

ChrisM said...

Yes to getting rid of Tax Credits, not to rent controls. Not only is is immoral to order landlords what price they have to rend their properties at, it will also lead to shortages, as rent controls (and price controls in general) always do.

the a&e charge nurse said...

So once the population is reduced to units of economic production are most of us better off - a few clues here
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2092277/Apple-Poor-working-conditions-inside-Chinese-factories-making-iPads.html

A world without tax credits or rent controls, marvelous

ChrisM said...

"So once the population is reduced to units of economic production are most of us better off"

You really do like shroud waving rhetoric rather than arguing don't you. In the entire thread rather than debating or arguing you have just engaged in rants and manufactured outrage.

the a&e charge nurse said...

I have produced a Daily Heil article and asked a question, that's all.
The minimum wage, tax credits, and indeed housing benefit are all anathema to those in thrall to the market - and when the 1% have almost complete control of the work place certain conditions are bound to arise.

It may not worry you, but it worries me that some seem to regard this as the general direction WE ought to be going in- I say ask the Chinese workers (the end point of such an ideology) if most ordinary people are better,or worse off when regulation and safety nets are removed?

ChrisM said...

Sorry, you are too smug and sanctimonious to bother arguing with. Anyone who disagrees with you obviously does it in bad faith. People couldn't possibly disagree with you because they beleive you are wrong, no it has to be because they want to see the enslavement of 99% of people.

The idea that China is the end ppoint of free markets is also too stupid for words.

the a&e charge nurse said...

Working conditions in China are a DIRECT consequence of lack of regulation, rights and social security - wherever such conditions exist ordinary people suffer - we can look further afield than China if the I-pod factories upset you?

ChrisM said...

The iPod factories don't upset me in the slightest, you are the one that seems to have a problem with them.

How poor countries develop is an interesting discussion in itself, but has little to do with tax credits or rent control.

Rent control has lead to shortages of properties available for renting wherever it has been implemented. Apple workers conditions in China have no bearing on the effect of rent controls.

the a&e charge nurse said...

"The iPod factories don't upset me in the slightest". Of course they don't, you are not directly affected (other than paying slightly less for an electronic gadget) - but the road to such conditions is made all the more likely when those out of work are demonised.

The tories are playing the oldest trick in the book by turning one lot of poor against the other (divide and rule) - how the CEO's must be chuckling as they award themselves monster bonuses despite the climate of, err, austerity.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15487866

Devil's Kitchen said...

A&E,

*sigh*

We're not "in thrall to the market"—markets exist naturally, whether you want them to or not.

Of course, if by "market" you mean "free market", I don't think that an authoritarian Communist dictatorship like China is necessarily the best example to make your point.

Oh, and nice to see you jumping on the Occupy bandwagon, with your mention of the 1%. It's weird, isn't it? Because if you are earning over the median UK wage (which I'll assume you are), you are in the top 1% richest people in the world.

One might argue that because of this vast wealth, we can afford our Welfare states, and our regulations, and our other assorted luxuries. But the fantastically huge debts racked up by Western economies would suggest that we can't.

So, I'll resort to asking you whether you agree with this...

Do you, A&E, believe that those who do not work should be able to live in the kind of conditions that those who are paying for them could not possibly afford?

Do you, for instance, agree that we should pay the £2,000 per week rent for a family in Maida Vale—giving that non-working family an income equivalent to £180,000 even before any other income is taken into account.

I don't earn £180,000—and nor does anyone I know personally (as far as I know). And yet I must pay for that cost.

Do you think that is right?

DK

ChrisM said...

That China is now following the route that all countries have ended up following in order to lift themselves out of poverty is a cause for celebration as far as I am concerned. I think "what works" is more important than what makes me feel better.

"The tories are playing the oldest trick in the book by turning one lot of poor against the other"

They are pushing at an open door then aren't they. Poor doesn't equal stupid or mindless. If some poor people are paying taxes to support other people to have a better lifestyle than they themselves have, I am pretty sure they are capable of thinking this unfair without the aid of the tories.

" how the CEO's must be chuckling as they award themselves monster bonuses despite the climate of, err, austerity."

Utterly irrelevant. Regardless of whether one thinks CEO bonuses "fair" or not (I personally think it none of my or your business when the CEO in question works for a private company), one can't justify one instance of unfairness by reference to another instance of unfairness.

the a&e charge nurse said...

The guys who run China are not overly concerned about working conditions for ordinary people, but then again neither are the guys from Nike, nor it seems Apple - such groups have more in common than there are differences (power, wealth, and of course an obsession with fabulously sexy russian prostitutes).

You are correct to point out MY relative privilege, although I have never had a problem with a % of my wages being used for the common good.

The issue in my mind is not so much turning one lot of poor against the other but rather addressing why there is an such uneven distribution of wealth and resources - for example, despite the economic downturn the rich keep getting richer (see earlier link) - while the poor .... well, we all know what happens to the poor.

Perhaps a good place to start tackling such thorny issues would be with the Maida Vale landlords who have no qualms about pocketing such exorbitant rents - in some cases that is your money and my money feeding their addiction with second homes and golfing excursions - would it be so wrong for them to hit little balls in places like Scotland, rather than traveling to Portugal, say?

ChrisM said...

Lets get off of China, because a discussion of China takes us way off topic.

A large part of the reason (but not all of it) that there are such differences in wealth is that there are larege differences in the ability of people to create wealth.

The rich get richer, and the poor also get richer; maybe at different rates, but long term the poor have gotten richer too. Indeed worldwide, more people have been lifted out of poverty in our lift times than at any point in human history.

If " tackling such thorny issues would be with the Maida Vale landlords" involves not inflating the market with ridiculous levels of houseing benefit, then yes, lets do it.
If it means rent control, then no, this always leads to house shortages.

BTW, where people play golf, Scotland or Portugal is no business of mine, or of yours.

Devil's Kitchen said...

A&E,

1) Apple, for one, are trying to improve the conditions in the factories that they use. They have recently published a report into how they are attempting to ensure better conditions in their supply chain, and how effective these have been.

It's worth noting that these efforts are driven by a commercial company responding its customers' disgust. Such changes are not being driven by a benevolent Chinese state (or, indeed, by ours).

2) Yes, but what percentage, A&E? Surely you should give away everything but the barest minimum that you need to live—I would suggest that around the £12,000 NMW level would be appropriate. Otherwise you are simply perpetuating the "uneven distribution of wealth and resources".

3) The rich get richer whilst the poor also get richer (albeit at a slower rate). Yes, even now.

4) You may think the landlords are greedy—fine. But there are two approaches to take:
a) for the government to stop paying whatever exorbitant rents the landlords demand. This might take the form of some kind of... well, some kind of rent cap.
b) the government mandates what rents must be. And if that is the approach that you advocate, then you had better hope that I never, ever get into power.

Because, in order to make a point, I will make it illegal for you—yes, you personally, A&E—can never rent your labour for anything above whatever level I set (and it'll certainly be no more than the NMW).

Or is it OK for you to rent your labour for as much as you can get, and not OK for a landlord to rent his property for as much as he can get...?

DK

the a&e charge nurse said...

"It's worth noting that these efforts are driven by a commercial company responding its customers' disgust" - corporations soon overcome disgust by appealing to the customers 'inner consumer' - for example, conditions in Nike factories have been known about for some time but the siren lure of a sexy new pair of runner is virtually impossible to resist it seems?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2005/apr/14/ethicalbusiness.money

Mind you, I doubt if those in poverty today are consoled by the fact they are enjoying a slightly better class of misery than yesteryear?
According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation "By mid-2011, six million people were unemployed, lacking but wanting work or working part-time because no full time job was available. Though no higher than the previous year, this was 2 million higher than in 2004".
http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/monitoring-poverty-2011?gclid=CMGQ5NCz8K0CFdQTfAodfSEAuQ

Additionally "The number of households accepted as homeless in England rose in 2010/11 for the first time since 2003/04 and now stands at 65,000. The number of court orders for mortgage repossessions in England and Wales rose to 21,000 in the first half of 2011, the first significant rise for three years".

Is it really beyond our powers as a society to ensure that people at least have decent roof over their head - if it means rip off landlords becoming slightly less well off then so be it (since their main bargaining tool is how desperate prospective tenants are).

One of the factors that has so distorted the way money moves about our society is the relative values we put on different things?
I would argue that the more useful something is then the higher the value it should have - maybe we could put such a question to those trying to assess hospital treatment for example (since you mention nurse pay) as opposed to how much slum landlord are able to trouser.

Devil's Kitchen said...

A&E,

"One of the factors that has so distorted the way money moves about our society is the relative values we put on different things?"

*sigh*

Every person in this country puts a different value on different things. That is why we need markets in the first place.

"I would argue that the more useful something is then the higher the value it should have - maybe we could put such a question to those trying to assess hospital treatment for example (since you mention nurse pay) as opposed to how much slum landlord are able to trouser."

This is the absolute/intrinsic value fallacy. As stated, every one of the 60 odd million people in this country values things differently—because we are thinking creatures with our own dreams and desires.

So, who is going to set these absolute values?

As it happens, I put more value—at this time—on having a roof over my head than I do about nurses. I haven't even been to a GP in over ten years.

So, to me, somewhere decent to live is far more important than a nurse. Do you see?

For those times when I do need medical treatment, I have paid large amounts of tax for A&E departments—and some more cash for top-hole medical insurance.

But all of the above reflects my personal priorities; the guy at the next desk has different priorities (swimming pools), and you have different ones again.

So, who is going to be setting these values, precisely? And who is this "we"?

DK

ChrisM said...

I don't have any reason to think you know more than I do about what Chinese workers think. Nor does it actually matter. The fact is that Chinese labour costs have increased substantially over the last 10 years. The fact that you have a problem with Nike factories is your problem, not Chinese workers'.

I am going to call Bullshit on that 6 million figure. I am not sure what the unemployment figure has to do with a cap on benefits either, or why it means unemployed people should receive more money than employed people.


Landlords are not ripping anyone off in getting the maximum rent they can for their properties. The solution is more houses being built, not rent controls.

You mean that when society as a whole places a value on things (ie the free market), and it doesn't tally with what you think the value should be, your opinion should prevail over society's value.

"I would argue that the more useful something is then the higher the value it should have "
That's not an argument, that is an assertion, and a silly one at that. How do you measure how useful something is, especially given that value is subjective. Not only does it vary from person to person, it varies for the same person depending on circumstance.

Still you are free to value things in anyway you wish, but not free to impose your value system on anyone else.



" maybe we could put such a question to those trying to assess hospital treatment for example (since you mention nurse pay) as opposed to how much slum landlord are able to trouser."

This sentence doesn't even make sense.
But if you really want to know how much someone values hospital treatment, make people pay for it.
As for "slum landlord" who are you to call all landlords slum landords. You are quite the bigot really aren't you.

the a&e charge nurse said...

Are you saying that we cannot even agree on core values, signified by having a roof over your head, education and access to a comprehensive health service?

I mean I'm sure we all agree that our values extend to a non-corrupt judicial system, army, etc - so why not the other stuff?

Let's continue with the slum landlord vs cost of health care 'value' - I mean supposing hospitals started behaving like Maida Vale rip-off merchants (skilled in the art of screwing the desperate) - now I know that's exactly where Lansley wants to take us but I guarantee it won't belong before there is a growing lament about how much better things used to be when we had a comprehensive, and free at the point of delivery system, irrespective of ability to pay.

You only have to look at certain Italian cruiser captains to understand how things are once we adopt an every last man for himself type of culture
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-01/18/c_122598782.htm

Devil's Kitchen said...

A&E,

"... supposing hospitals started behaving like Maida Vale rip-off merchants..."

But that, of course, would never happen: because, of course, A&E nurses and all the other altruistic medical practitioners are nothing like slum landlords. As such, they would happily opt for lower salaries so that poor people could afford treatment.

That's correct, no...?

DK

the a&e charge nurse said...

"I am going to call Bullshit on that 6 million figure" - I have supplied a link - why would the JRF make it up?

I would it have thought it obvious why I have raised this stat since we are discussing entitlement of those out of work to housing benefit, etc.

The early link I supplied have given some indication as to how many families will be affected, especially in London - I think there are more creative solutions than spreading great dollops of misery around the place, don't you?

ChrisM said...

"Are you saying that we cannot even agree on core values, signified by having a roof over your head, education and access to a comprehensive health service?"

You start then, tell us how much a roof is worth to you. (Doesn't that depend on how big the rood is, and whre it is). You tells us how much education is worth. (To what level? where? to Whom). How much would you pay for a comprehensive health service.

"Let's continue with the slum landlord vs cost of health care 'value' - ", no lets not. Rather than pointless digressions lets stick with the point at hand.

"You only have to look at certain Italian cruiser captains to understand how things are once we adopt an every last man for himself type of culture"

Ah yes, the old "Italian cruise ships" model of society.

ChrisM said...

I am not after a "creative" solution, I am after one that does not result in non-working people having more money than working people. Yes, I can imagine that if someone is used to receiving lots of money and goodies courtesy of the tax payer and then you doesnt't get as much, that might make them miserable. That hardly in itself makes a policy unfair.

ChrisM said...

A cap on benefits of 26K per household will not affect 6 million people (a figure which itself I don't beleive), so it is a meaningless stat.

the a&e charge nurse said...

"You start then, tell us how much a roof is worth to you. (Doesn't that depend on how big the roof is, and where it is). You tells us how much education is worth. (To what level? where? to Whom). How much would you pay for a comprehensive health service" - all perfectly reasonable questions, but none with solutions so difficult that we, as a society, could not resolve them (if we really wanted to).

I believe the main reason for persistent inequality is that the beneficiaries of the wealth have become rather adept at manipulating the rest of us (so they can hang to as much dosh as possible) - here big bad Noam discusses corporate propaganda, an issue far more important than the odd somali family who find themselves on the front of the Daily Heil
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHjfDcQjl-M&feature=related

ChrisM said...

You said "Are you saying that we cannot even agree on core values, signified by having a roof over your head, education and access to a comprehensive health service?"


When challenged to do just this, you were not able to do it. If these core values we all agree on exist, then you should be able to tell me what they are.

Society can no more answer questions of value than it can answer what is society's favourite colour.

Choamsky is as wrong as it is possible to be on most things.

The reason for persistant inequality is people are unequal in all sorts of ways. If all weatlh were split equally right now, and then no further changes made, in a very short period of time in equality will return.

Anway, if you are such a fan of inequality you should be in favour of capping benefits; it reduces the inequality between those on benefits, and the lowest paid.

Devil's Kitchen said...

The Joseph Rowntree Report linked to above uses that wonderful measure of relative poverty—which the report describes thusly...

"A household is deemed to be in poverty if its income is less than 60% of median (average) household income for the year in question."

So, if the rich get richer faster than the poor do, more people are deemed to be in poverty—even if those "poor" were richer this year than last.

It's a fucking crazy metric that justifies all sorts of ludicrous rent-seeking and hand-wringing.

Oh, and it is a total lie—you are not in poverty just because you are earning less than someone else. What kind of twisted morality could possibly conclude that?

I am considerably less well-off than lots of people, but it would be a joke to describe me as living in poverty.

DK

Devil's Kitchen said...

The Joseph Rowntree Report linked to above uses that wonderful measure of relative poverty—which the report describes thusly...

"A household is deemed to be in poverty if its income is less than 60% of median (average) household income for the year in question."

So, if the rich get richer faster than the poor do, more people are deemed to be in poverty—even if those "poor" were richer this year than last.

It's a fucking crazy metric that justifies all sorts of ludicrous rent-seeking and hand-wringing.

Oh, and it is a total lie—you are not in poverty just because you are earning less than someone else. What kind of twisted morality could possibly conclude that?

I am considerably less well-off than lots of people, but it would be a joke to describe me as living in poverty.

DK

the a&e charge nurse said...

"It's a fucking crazy metric that justifies all sorts of ludicrous rent-seeking and hand-wringing" - the evidence that inequality harms societies is there for all to see.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ7LzE3u7Bw

bewick said...

To the a&e charge nurse.
Please tell me your general geographical area. I really do not wish to arrive in A&E to be met by such a judgmental "200 tractors today" communist supporter. You will likely judge me "too rich" and "too intelligent" (MY IQ is 155) to be treated.
The Chinese people have little in welfare. They HAVE to work. Just as it was in the UK in the 20s and 30s and before. Since circa 1970 "welfare" has almost eliminated any work ethic for millions.
Unless you are completely blind then you, as an A&E nurse, will see the results of the now out of control welfare system. I'd sort of guess that many of your patients are welfare claimants who have no intention of ever working.

I heard just this week, from her 18 year old son, that a 36 year old who has never worked in her life is trying to get pregnant. Why? Well her youngest is approaching 7 at which point the gravy train stops.
SO, A&E charge nurse, I suppose that you are quite happy to work in a difficult job and pay tax to support this freeloader.
I'm retired. I pay tax and I'm not happy. In fact I'm totally wazzed off (Derbyshire expression) Sad thing is that this is a small village and the 36 year old is just one of many here and there ARE jobs both locally and 10 miles away. (North East).
I even hear them swapping "tips" in the village shop. The latest seems to be coach the kids in autism and/or ADHD because that can produce more free cash and perhaps a free car. (many have managed that)
Of course the fathers of the many kids are never revealed and never pay. YOU and I do.

I expect that you are one of the ones complaining about "child workers" in India. That country has no welfare system and having the kids work is the difference between the family eating or not eating. You may argue that that is not right but little more than 100 years ago that happened here as well. Stop it and guarantee death for many - unless that is you wish to open YOUR pocket. Feel free.

the a&e charge nurse said...

"Please tell me your general geographical area. I really do not wish to arrive in A&E to be met by such a judgmental "200 tractors today" communist supporter".

I work here
http://www.bbc.co.uk/derby/content/images/2009/05/21/accident_gallery_03_470x300.jpg

Relax ....... only kidding

bewick said...

well the a&e charge nurse I really DO hope that you are kidding because I am considering returning to my roots and the DRI would be my most local hospital.
Interesting that you have no response to everything else I said.

bewick said...

Devil. "median" is NOT "average". It is the MIDDLE of a range. That range may well have more, or less, above or below. There may be 5 million earning say £20k a year and 1 million earning £40k. the median is £30k; the average is £23.33k - as it happens likely close to the true average of UK gross (NOT net) earnings and significantly lower than the proposed (gross) "cap".

bewick said...

oops I meant "net" cap since the payments are totally tax free

Simon Jester said...

@bewick, median, mean and mode are all different types of average. I suspect you were thinking of the arithmetic mean when you said that median is not average.

Steve P. said...

"There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal." – F. A. Hayek

bewick said...

@ Simon Jester. Yes I know full well that median, mean and mode are all different types of "average". Plus there are such things as "weighted averages" which "true average" is.
I have used all in a very long career.

Consider the following - a "tutor" for maths teachers (why would maths teachers need this I wonder - isn't it basic?)-
"The term median refers to an average value indicated by the middle number or numbers in a series. It can be different from the "mean", which is the average value found by adding the numbers and dividing.

Where there is an odd number of values, the median is the central (middle) value.
For example, in the set [ 1, 2, 7, 50, 100 ] the median value is 7. There will be as many values less than the median as there are greater than the median. (if you have duplicate values, more than one may be equal to the median)

Where there is an even number of values, the median is the mean (average) of the two central values. For example, in the set [ 1, 2, 7, 9, 50, 100 ], there are two central values, 7 and 9. The median would be 8, and again there will be as many values less than the median as there are greater than the median.

To find the median : put your numbers in order by their value, and count the number of values. Divide the number of values by two to locate the center value or values. Where the number of values is even, add and average the two in the middle.

Example : values [ 27, 18, 3, 99, 55, 1, 16 ]
Ordered set : [ 1, 3, 16, 18, 27, 55, 99 ]
Median : 18

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_median_means_in_math#ixzz1krQ2GiP6"

Actually this can sometimes be simplistic.

The median is usually totally unweighted, unlike the mean,or average.
Like ALL statistics the "median" can be highly misleading as can the "mean". For example the "median salary" can totally disguise that rather more earn somewhat less than the median, or mean, than those who earn more. A bell curve would better explain but the true mathematical average - value times number per value, added, and divided by total numbers, is rather more indicative. Then again of course the number of hours worked also has value.
Depends what you want to prove and sadly the Government has bottled out of undertaking anything really radical. MY best guess is that the "cap" should be , say, £15k if it was ever to prove that working is better.
I totally agree with the Devil that working people should not fund profligate breeding by those determined never to work. At the same time I totally support giving help to honest people suffering misfortune.

bewick said...

@ Simon Jester & others




I am fortunate in that I own an inherited property in the Midlands which I rent out. The rent is just £370 a month (£4400 a year) for a 3 bed semi.I haven't increased the rent for 3 years because I was actually paying less for the mortgage and protected my tenant.
He has 3 kids who live with his ex partner. At one time he had to take 3 months off work to care for the kids when his ex partner had a serious operation. Housing benefits judged that the rent was too high for a single occupant. I gave him some slack - he later paid me back.
I know something about his financial situation. He earns nothing like £26k net (probably the median but not the mean or average) yet he pays his rent and all bills, supports his kids, and can still afford an iphone. He doesn't spread his seed!
Contrast that with the many single mothers in my village. They get everything free, the fathers don't contribute,they get pregnant again when the youngest approaches 7.

On the reverse my grandfather TWICE, in the 1930s moved his family 50 and then 100 miles, to get work. The "out of work" in my village won't even consider travelling the 10 miles where there are jobs.
Child benefit and child tax credit are outdated. Child benefit may have been near essential in 1950 when the country was trying to repopulate but no longer. Should be stopped now.
Apparently "child poverty" now means not having the latest trainers, a Wii or xbox, or a personal TV. NOT the "poverty" I experienced in the 50s when a good pair of shoes was unlikely - but then I didn't regard it as poverty.

Simon Jester said...

@bewick: You seem to be reading more into my comment than was there. I agree with DK on the idiocy of the metric.

I am also in no need of a lecture on the subject, having pointed out your mistake to you.