No benefit

Posted: January 10, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Suppose you heard of a bank robbery. Worse than that. A charity robbery. Three men had made off with money from a local charity and were on the run. Suppose also that you were in a position of power, a position to do something about it.

You discover that the fugitives are holed up in an orphanage. After entering, you send your team to speak to the managers, who inform you that they have not seen the men, though they heard some commotion, so can be fairly sure they are hiding somewhere. There are approximately two thousand people; staff and children, on the site, on twenty or so floors, and somewhere among these are the three criminals.

What’s your next move? Perhaps you deploy more men, in order to thoroughly search each floor for the bandits. Or maybe a stakeout, until they attempt to escape, though this would mean potential casualties. Maybe issue a warning over the tannoy that they are being watched, and will be caught eventually.

How many of you though would decide to smoke them out by setting fire to the whole building?

This is my fairly simple analogy of the despicable recent benefits Bill, which has agreed to increase State benefits by less than the cost of inflation, despite warnings that it will push many people below the breadline.

Even ignoring the statistics about 60% of those claiming benefits being in work, this is completely counterproductive for so many other reasons, and, as usual with this Government, their newspaper propaganda machine went into overdrive to try and defend it.

People with so little money will spend most of it, which of course is good for the wider economy. Once they spend it in a shop, the shopkeeper or company can pay wages, order more stock, then the wholesaler can do likewise and so on. The super-rich given tax cuts will almost certainly hoard the money which they do not need to spend. It will be essentially dead, and a lot less valuable to the wider economy, except perhaps banks. Coincidence?

These are facts. Even if you do not support benefits going to the so-called undeserving poor, it is good for the wider economy. But let’s deal with the idea that there are con-artists bleeding the system while contributing very little, despite being able-bodied.

Two statistics should underline how farcical any crackdown is right now. Approximately 2.5 million unemployed. Approximately 500,000 vacancies of any kind. Two million will be unemployed no matter what happens.

And the most damning: an estimated 0.7% benefit fraud rate. That’s a similar ratio to our analogy of three criminals amidst two thousand needy children and good staff. And a similar tactic. How does reducing 99.3% needy people’s benefits aid the fraud situation? Particularly when there are practically no jobs to jump into. It doesn’t, it is divisive class warfare, and I hope most people can see straight through it.

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