Monday, 22 May 2017
Have you ever noticed that the more you try and eradicate poverty, the more poverty there is? Maybe it would make more sense to just eradicate the poor? I mean, seriously, given that a crap start in life fails so often to serve as an incentive to improve your lot – poor parenting skills, bad examples, being educated alongside others from the same gutter, the inbred hatred of others’ success – there’s a lot to be said for suppressing their urge to reproduce. Perhaps making people entirely financially responsible for their own life choices would be a step on the way?
Of course, propose this eminently rational piece of pragmatism and you will have a riot on your hands. How dare you take back their unearned ‘wages’? Nasty party, etc, etc, etc... But have you ever noticed that wherever you get poor people you get squalor? The same with certain sectors of the non-integrating immigrant population; you house them in half-decent accommodation and within a few very short years you have yet another shithole sink estate, with rows of sleazy takeaways, dodgy taxi firms, money transfer shops and bag-headed multi-wives, popping out home-grown jihadis faster than you can say ‘ally-ally-akbar!’
Of course there is always a blurred line between correlation and causation but whether it’s the chicken or the egg that first started the rot the correlation is relentlessly sky high. And the answer always seems to be spend. Spend more on encouraging integration. Spend more on improving the social housing stock. Spend more on education. Spend more on outreach and social work. Spend more, spend more, spend more... How is it that despite the £trillions pissed into the welfare pot, the poor, the squalid and the undesirables go on multiplying?
Like the NHS, the welfare system will NEVER be 'properly funded'. There is always more demand for free stuff than the stuff itself. The money-go-round is a political beast that has made a habit of repeatedly biting the hand that wields it. Relative poverty is a rent-seeking business – throw money at it and increase the supply. And perversely, as people get richer, relative poverty comes to be redefined; the poor of a century ago would view today’s poor as rich beyond imagination. Poverty should be a hellish, deprived state to be avoided, not a lifestyle option.
Behind all of this are the self-same economic driving forces which will render any attempt to make most people pay for their end-of-life care just as chaotic as any other top-down imposition of responsibility. Those who have the means and the motivation will not be affected at all as they will pay for it anyway, just as they have throughout their life – rich people are not the problem. Those who have nothing, through their own inability, will pay nothing, just as they have throughout their life.
The inevitable outcome of universal welfare...
For all the rest, the real outcome of the so-called ‘dementia tax’, if it ever makes it to statute, will be an evolution of the way in which property ownership is defined. Clever accountants and lawyers will find and develop legal loopholes so that by the time one needs social care beyond what is already available, there will no longer be any assets to seize. While Theresa May wants to appear ready to make the tough decisions and many will back the Tory manifesto proposals you would have to be demented to think it wasn’t going to come with an electoral price.