Thursday, 19 August 2010
Nothing progressive about cutting middle class benefits..
At first glance it seems like such an obvious way of saving money without penalising the less well off. Surely the comfortable middle class have no need of winter fuel payments, child allowance and similar benefits? We can all relate tales of unpleasantly wealthy multiple property owners who can't wait to get their hands on the state pension, Freedom Pass and the rest of it and the erosion of middle class benefits is likely to have very few lefties crying into their beer and many will be rubbing their hands and chortling with glee. Well I think that they are making a big mistake. When benefits are means tested they are immediately reduced to the level of hand-outs to the poor. This has become the trend with both state education and the NHS with both these "benefits" increasingly being seen as second class services for those who can't afford the private option. This is a backward step that takes us yet further away from the inclusiveness that is at the heart of socialism. Far from cutting the benefits of the middle class we need to actually increase them. I am in favour of a social wage, paid to rich and poor alike, and a health and education system so good that the private sector would become irrelevant. How would all this be paid for? By taxing the better off of course. This would lead to something else that is supposed to be at the heart of socialism - the redistribution of wealth.