Search This Blog

Thursday, December 27, 2012

We need a megachange

In "Megachange: The World in 2050" from The Economist, the authors interestingly (to me) say that they think that the gap between rich and poor will actually shrink. They cite two reasons for this: first of all, the reduction and means-testing of welfare benefits (which tend to subsidise the middle class anyway) will reduce state spending and therefore taxes and secondly those taxes will be spread more fairly because governments will target tax evasion. To my mind, there are two rather obvious ways to do this: start taxing wealth rather than income (which means non-evadable land-value taxes rather than direct taxes that the rich can evade with ease) and start replacing cash transactions with electronic ones so that people pay their fair share. One of the reasons why my tax is so high is that heading towards a third of economic activity is "black" and none of the participants are paying their share. So it falls to PAYE slaves like me to cough up for everything.
So will there be a megachange in the way taxes work? No. The people "in charge" of the economy haven't a clue what to do, and I'm certain that one of the reasons for this is their lack of real-world experience. Take a look at the example of our Chancellor, Baronet Osborne.
Osborne's first job was entering the names of people who had died in London into a National Health Service computer. He also briefly worked for Selfridges, re-folding towels. He originally intended to pursue a career in journalism, but instead got a job at Conservative Central Office.
[From George Osborne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
So, astonishing as it might seem, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has never had a real job. If we were to ever have a constitution, this should be against it. It should be a rule that to assume any ministerial office with any power over taxation or regulation of business, a candidate should not only be more than 40 years old but should have had a real job in the private sector (not some make-work with Central Office or a Trade Union) and, preferably, been responsible for paying someone else wages for some time. You shouldn't be allowed to make decisions about spending public money until you've made some of it.
In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.

[posted with ecto]

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Age concerns

I read in one of today's newspapers a complaint that elderly homeowners may have to downsize in order to fund their care bills. This is ludicrous. It is not the function of the state to maximise the value of landowners' legacies. Given that two-thirds of our already unaffordable welfare spending goes on pensions and that a substantial proportion of health spending goes on the care of the elderly, we have to get realistic about the new age. The ridiculous pronouncements about pensions and pensioners by people without a rudimentary grasps of economics, demographics and arithmetic (e.g., MPs) must stop.

The pain that quantitative easing has caused pensioners and savers should be offset by government compensation, a report by MPs has said.

[From Compensate pensioners for savings lost to QE, say MPs | Money | The Guardian]

This twaddle comes from the same Treasury Select Committee that went medieval on the Payments Council for suggesting that they might end cheque clearing in a decade. A decade! So now we're all going to have to pay so that Joan Bakewell can carrying on writing cheques to her gardener instead of sending the money online like everyone else.

The reason for this reactionary nonsense from MPs is clear. Amongst the catastrophic impacts of universal suffrage is the age time-bomb. Old people have all the money and old people vote. So of course they mobilise against the young. The ring-fencing of elderly welfare means massive cuts in other areas. This is why the age riots of 2025 will make the Watts riots look like a picnic.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Proof that the UN is a complete joke

There's a fun game out there on the interweb, stimulated by the Chinese media's inability to distinguish satire from news, called "Real or Onion".

Quiz: Are These 2012 Headlines Real Or From “The Onion”?

[From Quiz: Are These 2012 Headlines Real Or From "The Onion"?]

Fun game. Sadly, it won't work in Britain because our degraded society is so far beyond satire than it cannot even see it in the rear-view mirror. I cano no longer distinguish between "The Thick of It" and "Today". We're through the looking glass, people. If you don't believe, try and convince yourself that the following headline is satire.

Gordon Brown has been appointed the new United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education.

[From Gordon Brown takes on UN education role - Telegraph]

It isn't. In common with every other ludicrous and ridiculous and absurd action of the UN, this is an appointment that no rational person could hear about without laughing. Under the Blair/Brown junta, Britain's edukashun system collapsed.

Our blistering debut was the OECD survey of 2000, when we ranked 8th for maths, 7th for literacy and 4th for science in the thinktank's Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa).

England's difficult second album was Pisa 2006, when we fell to 24th for maths, 17th for reading and 14th for science.

And when the results of the 2009 survey came in, we risked parting ways with our record label. England's 15-year-olds ranked 28th for maths, 25th for reading and 16th for science.

[From Top of the flops: has England really tumbled down school league tables? | Education |]

Let's hope Gordon can weave the magic on countries such as South Korea. Unless we can make them stupider really quickly, we're never going to catch up.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]