A random CIF commenter nails it on Tory welfare lies

Just came across this comment under this article by a commenter called “Jack Jazz”. Don’t know who they are, but thought he nailed it with his (?) comment on the real motivations for welfare changes, so thought I’d share it here. I have a slight quibble with the assertion that the rich pay for services for the poor through their taxes, but it’s true the rich want lower taxes, and these are more achievable if the government spends less. Anyway, here’s the comment:

“The ignorance that lies at the core of Tory welfare policy reform is not an ignorance of unawareness, or an absence of knowledge, but rather one of calculated disinformation. Probably the most disgusting thing about this coalition is the deliberate spreading of lies to facilitate a systematic assault upon the sick, the poor and the disabled. They have lied to and misled the public in order to promote a squalid agenda, an agenda to dismantle the welfare state.

For those who wish to destroy the welfare state, the first move is to create ‘the undeserving poor’. By constant repetition, they construct a cultural underclass via the media, with the tabloid press, much of it owned by multi-millionaires, at the forefront. Each day they fill their pages with accounts of people “living on hand-outs,” living in ‘mansions’, ‘daring to have children’, ‘laying around doing nothing’, all the while emphasising that it’s your taxes letting these scroungers live in ‘luxury.’ By this drip drip feeding, the words ‘welfare’ and ‘scrounger’ become intertwined.

The next phase is to question the idea of a universal welfare state itself. As the welfare state is dismantled, as more and more, due to ever greater reductions in funding, the quality of these services deteriorates, the middle classes begin to ask why they are paying into a system that gives them so little back. This gradual exclusion of the middle classes from the welfare state leads to the middle classes being persuaded to seek private options to deal with old age, pensions and health care, urged on by a government that tells them that it is the only solution. And of course, as private provision takes over, the cycle of dismantling can continue. Public services now become a service solely for the poor, as the middle class abandon the system.

Why dismantle the welfare state? Who benefits from this progressive degradation of the welfare state? Obviously not the lower classes. But nor do the middle classes, as the new private systems are more expensive, often of poorer quality, and invariably far more complicated than what existed previously.
No, the real reason behind the cuts is simple.

The real beneficiaries are the very rich, who no longer have to pay for services they never used anyway.

And all the cuts are ideologically driven. None of it is to save money. The welfare reform bill won’t save a penny, because the costs will just be passed onto somewhere else. It’s all about crushing the welfare state. The Tories have for years hated the fact that ‘their’ taxes should be used to help the sick and the poor. Based upon no evidence whatsoever, they truly believe there is a vast horde of scroungers out there who are living a life of luxury on benefits. The most shameful thing about the Tories, though, is that to promote this idea, they peddle downright lies as truth and feed it to the masses, who regurgitate this bullshit ad infinitum, no doubt much of which has been posted on forums like this by people like you!”

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28 thoughts on “A random CIF commenter nails it on Tory welfare lies

  1. Excellent comment, thanks for sharing. But in regards to his one possible bit of negativity, I think he was being ‘ironic’ with the ‘their’, because they don’t pay them anyhow.

  2. And that readers is Fascism, it’s started. What will it be like if these swine get another 5 years in power. We have witnessed in the last few months an accelerated increase in divisive regulations promoted as reforms introduced. this is a democratic country which prides its self on the offer of a helping hand to those who need it which includes us, we have one last opportunity to stop the Tory rot, disintegration of our NHS,and the creation of huge division and marginalisation of our Country leading to the almost inevitable anarchy and potential huge civil unrest. At which time protesters will be jailed as terrorists.

  3. Really good analysis of the process, and really well written but I would take issue with the conclusions. To say the real beneficiaries are the rich, who ‘no longer have to pay for services they don’t use’ is a misunderstanding of how our economy works. They are huge beneficiaries of the services for which they pay proportionately very little.

    Firstly the rich send their children to public schools which have ‘charitable’ status, subsidised with tax breaks to over £1 million a year. Obviously teachers pre tuition fees were trained at the expense of the state, now subsidised by the state.

    Doctors and nurses, educated by the state, trained by the NHS. Indeed many ‘private’ doctors are in the NHS as their main employment, minimising private sector employment costs. Many private facilities are based in NHS hospitals, their rentals being minor costs compared the the built infrastructure costs of the NHS. Insurance premiums for health are held artificially low by this process, as private health care becomes effectively a ‘top up’ not a real cost. Anyone in a serious accident or collapsing in the street with a heart attack isn’t asked first ‘do you have private insurance’, they are simply taken to an NHS A&E. (Many private hospitals are not equipped for major trauma cases.) They will be transferred to their private service once they are well enough. NHS bears the major cost and major risk.

    Housing and investment generally is massively subsidised by the state. At the moment our interest rates are being held artificially low. Catastrophic for pension funds and savers, bonanza time for property investors (and home owners) – for those with the purchasing power, ie the rich. Although they double benefit from the ability to clean up when interest rates rise and ordinary people can no longer afford their mortgage payments and have to sell cheap or get repossessed. They benefitted enormously from the sale of Council property. Most tenants in the early days bought very cheap and sold – many under market values. Some didn’t even actually buy for themselves but were effectively scammed out of their homes by companies or individuals offering to buy on their behalf. The buyer got the property, the tenant got a pay off. Most Council leaseholders are now buy-to-let landlords. Many buy on mortgages, rent to cover the mortgage and until recently were happy to receive housing benefit as payment. A subsidy of untold billions from the state. Council property, of course, having been built by the state originally.

    Tax pays for subsidies to employers in the form of working tax credit and housing benefit, driving down employment costs. The state pays (at a bare minimum) to keep the workers alive so they can be hired and fired at will.

    PFI agreements in the public sector provide business for private companies to the tune of hundreds of billions of pounds.

    The rich will continue to benefit massively from the destruction of the Welfare State as well. They always benefit. From everything. That’s why they are rich. They just don’t pay for anything. In fact these days there seems to be truly no jeopardy in their dealings, as we have privatised the profit and nationalised the debt in everything from the banks to the Royal Mail sell off…….

    1. Excellent reply and it should be added to the main article here so we can all share it and ask our friends who do not understand this and regurgitate the media message ad infinitude with no knowledge of the truth….

  4. The only thing wrong is that the motivation for the very rich isn’t to save themselves money (the marginal cost isn’t that great to them) but because as the owners and investors in the private providers to the middle class, they’ll absolutely coin it in. As David Harvey notes, when you’re in a crisis of capitalist accumulation, disposable incomes collapse and demand falls, so capital seeks rents from non-disposable spending (aka healthcare, welfare, housing, heating) rather than risking capital on innnovation, consumer durables etc.

  5. The wealthiest among us conveniently forget some very simple factors about how all too often they are net beneficiaries of taxes, rates and services.

    Take the simple fact that they live in bigger houses. Bigger houses mean large gardens and wider frontages than the average urban flat dweller. You don’t have to study economics to work out wider frontages need longer public roads. And longer roads cost more in materials, labour and maintenance than shorter roads of much smaller terraced houses and high rise blocks of flats housing many more tax-paying residents per mile.

    We use more petrol driving down longer roads, pay higher bus fares, and wear out more shoe leather. The roadsweepers have considerably more road to sweep. They cost a lot more to light. The rich consume more, and therefore produce more waste. More waste means bigger landfill sites Energy, communications, sewage disposal and water supply companies have to lay down longer cables and longer pipes. It all starts to add up to a hell of a lot of money.

    We all pay for these facilities, but we don’t all benefit from them equally. Often, quite the opposite. It’s time for the rich to cough up instead of sponging off the majority while pretending they get nothing for their money.

    These are just a few examples of how the rich leech off society with the help of local councils and national government not doing their figures properly. I’m sure there are heaps more.

    I don’t intend to write a whole article in the comments section of someone else’s blog. Nevertheless, it’s obvious economists should start taking these factors – and many more – into consideration when assessing the true financial burden the rich place on the poor, instead of always the other way round,.

  6. Wrong, the purpose is to hide the fact that unemployment is a deliberate policy decision, it is neither accidental or undesirable but a consistent policy objective of the ruling elites

  7. One should add the huge growth of private education. Some of this has been entrepreneurial and of questionable quality, but ancient grammar schools which were within the direct grant system have withdrawn from the state system.

    Where first-rate grammar schools survive within the state system, as in Lancaster, affluent parents hope to send their children there. Elsewhere, they send their children to schools that were originally set up as charities for the village poor but now are expensive feepaying schools, with lavish facilities, small classes and highly qualified teachers.

    Parents clearly have difficult decisions to make, about cost and about principles, but they feel obliged to use whatever means they can to benefit their children. In some areas, one can hardly blame them for opting out of ill-equipped and even violent environments, served by demoralized teachers who have low expectations.

    Nevertheless, this leaves many affluent and articulate parents, who are best placed to exert political pressure, with no very personal stake in raising or even maintaining the quality of state education. Worse still, however, generations of young people are emerging from these schools with limited knowledge about their less affluent contemporaries, and even contempt for them. Their educational advantages are giving them a head start in gaining access to the best universities and the best jobs, and to eventual political or economic power. Few of them will see the need to maintain the welfare state, many of whose creators were educated at the leading public schools. The declining force of the old paternalist upper class (e.g. Macmillan) and of Christian concern for the poor, traditional among non-evangelical denominations, is insufficient to combat sheer ignorance about the social and economic impact of having an ill-educated and unhealthy class shaped by trangenerational poverty.

    The last chance to eliminate private education came in the 1960s. Now, EU restraint of trade rules would prevent such action. The quarrel in Cabinet was between the abolitionists — Tony Crosland (Highgate) and Tony Benn (Westminster) — and those who wished to maintain the status quo — Harold Wilson (son at Mill Hill) and Denis Healey (son at Highgate).

  8. Well that was an interesting read and while do agree with most of it.
    Some food for thought: My ex partner earnt 100k per year and was taxed 45k with no relief or anything.
    I on the other hand have two jobs, support worker and complex carer not earning a lot, and I still pay a higher rate on my second job yet I do not earn that much.
    But I like to have money and like the sense of doing an ‘honourable’ days work, if people who generally can work, work then this country would run a lot better, I have a disability yet I work, if the system was better run people like me wouldn’t have to take the options of either being signed off sick or going to work, there is no inbetween, companies will and have to employ people with disabilities yet they aren’t allowed to count in time off needed for appointments/sickness (might I add, I have a better sickness rating than most employees I work with).

    The elderly would benefit they’ve worked all their lives to keep this country alive and going would actually receive the care and time they need, not a 30 min call which is either a shower or breakfast!! It’s ludicrous….

    And watching the benefit scroungers programme, I can see why this country is falling apart, such a shame.

  9. To Candy.

    So you swallow the lies hook line and sinker. Just because you have a disability which does not affect your work and employment NOW what would happen if it became worse and your employer no longer considered you “viable” wen there are 2.5 million able bodied people desperately looking for anything which they can be employed to do. People who are being forced to apply and write for jobs often on spec wthout there even being an advertised vacancy. What is your employer sees somebody with better and more qualifications and experience who is prepared to work for less than you? What becomes of you then?

    How about the simple fact that here are 8 million people under or unemployed and there are simply no kobs for these people to do?. Does that even enter your head in your “thiose that can work should work” propaganda. For people to work there must be jobs for them to do. Jobs that pay a living wage and not just be more zero hours minimum wage propped up by housing benefits and other in work suppliments funded by the taxpayer. The reality is. For every “arbeit macht frei” workfare coerced labourer there is somebody else who should be paid a living wage for that work being excluded. One day that worker being denied may well be you. What then. Will you be happy to be called a “scrounging parasite” along with all the other ideologically and economically marginalized workers in the country?

    This is where your thinking leads, and one day be very sure it will be you thrown on the scrapheap with no healthcare, no pension, no benefits for when you become more ill or disabled. We don’t all enoy full lifetimes of perfect health. Unemployment and poverty and being hounded and called “parasite” and “scrounger” is only one trip on a badly maintained pavenment, one idiot on his phone while driving, one fall at work or home, one illness which doesn’t go away. from each and every one of us. This is the world you want is it?. Don’t be so sure that next week it isn’t you who will be the “scronging parasite, make them work for nothing” from Benefits Street propaganda.

    You are the classic example of “I’m alright jack” and people like you make me ashamed to have ever paid my taxes and thought I was, through my labour and taxes, making this land one fit for all to live in regardless of their economic circumstances. disability, race, creed, sexuality, gender, age or colour !!.

    Arbeit Macht Frei – Lest We Forget

  10. This Torie government looks to china, we all know what their society is like,
    No workers rights, No unions, No minium wage, No health and safety, No human rights, Anyone who speaks out against government gets jailed and worse, Is this what they mean by being able to compete!.

    1. Of course that is what the Tories mean. Look to China? Yeah, they want US kicked into the ground to make THEM richer. Great comments, have enjoyed reading them all.
      JEN

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