The UK government plans to “overhaul” the benefits system. A scheme to cut the enormous deficit caused by the misbehaviour of the very rich (the banking crisis) by taking from the very poor.
“Some unemployed people say they are better off on benefits than working – leading to accusations that the current system encourages long-term welfare dependency.” (from the BBC
The words “some..people say” are like a big red flag to indicate “we made this up on the spot.”
However, I’m going to take this at face value and pretend – purely for the sake of argument – that there are a fair number of people who are better off on benefits and who aren’t too physically or mentally ill to work. (These must be people who can magically pay for food, heat, light, water, fares, cleaning products, household goods and clothes from less money than the average City worker spends on an evening out and a few lattes.)
There are however many millions more people who are desperate to stay in work or to find work. Any alleged “recovery” will be sustained only until the full force of the threatened October cuts. The cuts will mean that workers from both the public and private sectors will massively increase the numbers of the unemployed.
Precisely the time when you’d think that a government stick to force the unwilling into work was least necessary. Not to mention, reducing the number of taxpayers by converting them to benefit recipients seems to be exactly opposite to the actions of a government that plans to cut its debt.
So, who would benefit by forcing the unemployed to seek work – thus making sure that there are EVEN more people fighting for every job?
I can’t see any sane answer to this. The immediate answer would seem to be “employers,” who will be able to force down wages. But, at the moment, even this doesn’t make sense. We barely produce anything in the UK. All goods and services that can be produced by cheap labour are already produced by cheap labour abroad.
UK business generally now expects to make its profits, not by producing and selling goods but by brokering foreign-made goods and services to the UK population. Which depends on there being a critical mass of the UK population with disposable income.
Despite the bullshit emanating from the government and the media, welfare benefits barely cover frugal heat, light and food. Replacing a winter coat constitutes a major drama. There’s precious little left to put toward a Bang and Olufsen home cinema or an i-Pod.
In fact, there’s bugger all left for any retail spending. Which must be a major issue for a country which has long been acting as if building massive new retail outlets constitutes a sustainable development strategy.
Even the financial sector – pandered to for twenty-odd years – will be hard pushed to get blood from a few million stones. Although the appearance of tv ads offering loans of derisory sums at rates of interest so high that you assume they’ve got the decimal point wrong (2,265% APR, ffs) suggests it’s going to have a bloody good try.
So English capital as a whole isn’t going to benefit by massive job cuts. It goes without saying that workers aren’t going to benefit. And, no matter how much I try to bend my head round this, I can’t see any rational way to see hammering the longterm unemployed as anything but a true anti-solution.