This is a deeply strategic move, one designed to set in train the gradual transformation of the welfare state into an American-style safety net.
Yes, it is. And one wholly to be welcomed.
Gone is any sense that social security is about collectively insuring ourselves as a community.
You\’ve not quite grasped the meaning of the word \”insurance\” there, have you?
You pay some cash in (the premium) so that if event x happens (could be fire with fire insurance, theft with theft insurance, health with health insurance) then you get some dosh to help you out of the hole created by x happening.
In this case the premium is the tax being paid. Event x is that your income will drop below the upper rate tax bad. If your income does so fall then you get child credit.
You are insured.
For example, one of the things that national insurance (nominally at least and you do have to pay it before you\’re eligible) insures you against is being unemployed. If you become unemployed then you get whatever it is they are calling the dole now.
You are insured against becoming unemployed.
Surely you\’re not suggesting that because we don\’t pay unemployment benefit to everyone, including those who are not unemployed, we therefore are not collectively insuring ourselves as a society?
History teaches us that nothing could be worse for the long-term interests of the poorest.
Err, no actually. History is littered with proofs that there are far worse things that could happen to the poorest. Letting the communists gain power is one of them, electing a madman who tries to invade Russia being another, Africa is awash with evidence that giving power to the local megalomaniac ain\’t all that wise an idea and it\’s hardly controversial to point out that a lack of economic growth in general, given the effects of compounding, is the greatest threat to the long term interests of anyone at all.
In short, you\’re employing twattish hyperbole.
Yes, universal benefits are expensive, but paying for them is popular.
That\’s an assertion which is being rather severely tested right now, isn\’t it? Look at the responses to your colleague, Joseph Harker, when he moaned that cutting child benefit to the rich would mean no more music lessons for his kiddies.
The general reaction was \”fuck you!\”
The idea of safeguarding universal benefits through a higher levy on the banks has both popular and moral force.
No it doesn\’t, it\’s gobshite idiocy. The levy on the banks is not, in any way shape or form, to be used to pay for current spending. Its aim is to build a fund so that the next time they all fall over (which they will, it\’s inherent in fractional reserve banking) then the State has the wherewithall to prop them up again. To make them pay for the implicit insurance which we as a community are providing them with.
This means that the levy is used to pay down the public debt so that, next time around, there\’s the flexibility in that public debt to be able to raise the funds to prop them up.
To decide to spend that levy on child benefit to the richest 15% of households in the country is, well, it\’s gobshite idiocy, isn\’t it?