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Thread: means testing or universalism

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    means testing or universalism

    have been surprised to see a few bouncers advocating means testing as an approach the government should be taking in an effort to making sure benefits are targeted at the most needy - bus passes, winter fuel allowance and free prescriptions have all been mentioned iirc? I don't think means testing for benefits/services works for a number of reasons

    1) it is enormously bureaucratic and expensive to run
    2) it creates winners and losers around the margins of where the cut-off line is drawn
    3) it stigmatizes those who receive benefits
    4) when only a small proportion of the community are receipt of a public benefit or service for free - it undermines what might be a broad consensus that the state should be providing it at all. i.e. support for it often evaporates for those not in receipt.

    personally I'd be for removing means testing much more completely from our society with the creation of a universal citizens income something along the lines of this LINK

    so thoughts? c'mon the universalists
    "The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms can appear"

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    the knock impact of making things cost can harm the system further down the line - be it health or education.

    if you cant afford antibiotics you don't get them, 4 wks later you have a 4 day hospital stay at 4K per bed per night - free antibiotics pays for themselves pretty quickly.

    same with the free bus passes
    - removes the barriers from having elderly people meeting on a regular basis, improves mental health
    - keeps folk active (walking to the bus stop)
    in turn stops people getting lonely and going to the GP for chat.

    I struggle to see any benefits that justify the cost of being means tested...
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    I think that your argument about the cost of means testing - if it is accurate - is a strong one. So to is the point about people around the cut off point. On the flipside, if it werent for logistics them I do think it is daft for wealthy people to get benefits they don't need. I'd make an exception for pensioners as these things reflect a life of contribution to society and the economy.

    The universal income seems undesirable to me. If it is cost neutral it involves reallocating an existing pot to everyone, which seems like a regressive redistribution away from those who need most state support. Secondly, we must wean ourselves off the idea of welfare as an entitlement rather than a safety net - this mindset is quite literally destroying the future of society and this plan seems retrograde in that respect. Thirdly, giving people an unconditional income is not going to be encouraging those who are genuinely workshy from working - though I take the point about offsetting the effects of benefits loss when taking up a low paid job. Finally it again seems to penalise the least affluent;

    If I am on JSA of 75 pounds (round up to make sums easier) I have 1/3 buying power of someone working a 35 hour week on minimum wage. If the latter also gets the 75 as a universal income I now have a quarter of their buying power, and will lose out in the inflationary effects that result from this being applied en masse. The flipside, which again should be acknowledged is it incentives work - but by imposing a de facto benefit cut, which seems w bit right wing.

    I really don't get the logic of this plan which I presume is from left of centre thinkers - it seems regressive in more than one way. In fact, for everyone above a certain income - can't figure out the arithmetic to work out the income level - this is equivalent to giving them a tax cut. If it was framed in that way, it would seem like a clear cut populist right wing policy.

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    Justify to me why someone with 1,000,000 in the bank should get jobseekers allowance and a council tax exemption.
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    I wasn't sure about the bus pass for over 60s to be honest. I saw a programme on the telly about it one afternoon. What I didn't appreciate, in addition to what's already been mentioned, is the benefit to the rural economy. Quite literally some small towns and villages would die without the silver visitors.

    In two and a half years I'll be on the explorers trail :-)

    Also, as has been said on this thread and others, free prescriptions is a no brainer. The amount of preventative drugs being prescribed these days is huge. This will mean that ill health at the end of life is drastically reduced. I can't remember the figures exactly but it used to be the case the average person was heavily into the NHS for 5 or 7 years before they popped their clogs. With the help of these drugs that reduces to 2 years on average. Also folk are able to spend more time in their own homes, where they want to be, rather than in care homes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by egb_hibs View Post
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    I think that your argument about the cost of means testing - if it is accurate - is a strong one. So to is the point about people around the cut off point. On the flipside, if it werent for logistics them I do think it is daft for wealthy people to get benefits they don't need. I'd make an exception for pensioners as these things reflect a life of contribution to society and the economy.

    The universal income seems undesirable to me. If it is cost neutral it involves reallocating an existing pot to everyone, which seems like a regressive redistribution away from those who need most state support. Secondly, we must wean ourselves off the idea of welfare as an entitlement rather than a safety net - this mindset is quite literally destroying the future of society and this plan seems retrograde in that respect. Thirdly, giving people an unconditional income is not going to be encouraging those who are genuinely workshy from working - though I take the point about offsetting the effects of benefits loss when taking up a low paid job. Finally it again seems to penalise the least affluent;

    If I am on JSA of 75 pounds (round up to make sums easier) I have 1/3 buying power of someone working a 35 hour week on minimum wage. If the latter also gets the 75 as a universal income I now have a quarter of their buying power, and will lose out in the inflationary effects that result from this being applied en masse. The flipside, which again should be acknowledged is it incentives work - but by imposing a de facto benefit cut, which seems w bit right wing.

    I really don't get the logic of this plan which I presume is from left of centre thinkers - it seems regressive in more than one way. In fact, for everyone above a certain income - can't figure out the arithmetic to work out the income level - this is equivalent to giving them a tax cut. If it was framed in that way, it would seem like a clear cut populist right wing policy.
    thanks for the considered reply

    for those that want to pay (e.g. tv licence, bus fare) or don't want a payment from the state (pension, child benefit, JSA) it should be made easy enough to either opt out or divert the money to registered charities. I'd have no problem with that. The key issue is universal entitlement not receipt.

    i hadn't thought about a potential inflationary impact of a citizens income scheme there may be something in that but I am not sure its impact would be significant? hard to judge. the incentivisation for work is a strong argument for this model and may in any case outweigh the negative impacts of possible significant inflation.

    I agree in isolation this is basically a tax cut for all those that don't receive tax credits or other income linked benefits (if it truly would be cost neutral then that's not terrible) BUT I absolutely take the point on inequality in society. The benefits system to my mind is really not the way to implement a progressive tax policy. we should be looking at land value tax, financial transaction tax, capital gains tax, income tax bands etc to answer questions of inequality and fairness in society.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The__Proclaimer View Post
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    Justify to me why someone with 1,000,000 in the bank should get jobseekers allowance and a council tax exemption.
    Fairness is not about denying services to some people to 'punish' them for being better off, but its about agreeing to pay for universal services through progressive taxes that gets the better off to contribute a larger proportion. Trying to deal with inequality via the benefits system is a fools errand. A fundamental principle that could bind our country together (be that Scotland or the UK) is that there is a citizens contract - no matter who you are from birth to grave, sick or healthy you will be backed up by the rest of us (through the mechanics of the state if necessary). The erosion of these ties are disadvantageous to us all in society especially the vulnerable and less well off. why do we create a horrible bureaucracy to sit on high and ponder on who is worthy and who is not when for the same money we could say - look we're all worthy of support?

    I'd scrap council tax and replace with something a lot more progressive but that may be a different thread - one i tried to start a couple of months ago but panned =)
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    The money should be targeted to those that most need it. I'd abolish child benefit and put every penny into child tax credits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
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    The money should be targeted to those that most need it. I'd abolish child benefit and put every penny into child tax credits.
    Im deffo on the universal side, however this would appear to be a v good idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
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    The money should be targeted to those that most need it. I'd abolish child benefit and put every penny into child tax credits.
    An area where much could be done. Child raising should be massively recognised in the system, because the system itself is going to fail through people not having children .... Which in large part is because the system enables them not to.

    One of the most straightforward ways in which the politics of envy expose themself is amongst people who demand anyone earning more than them is soaked by the tax man, but furiously reject that the vastly greater discretionary income of the childless should be taxed more than that of those supporting the system and society through raising the next generation.

    Not only is the economic sustainability of welfarism under threat as a result, but it also threatens the 'common weal' sentiments that underpin it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
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    The money should be targeted to those that most need it. I'd abolish child benefit and put every penny into child tax credits.
    so you are an advocate of means testing - can you elaborate on why its better than the universalist approach that is child benefit? its all very well stating that as fact/opinion but the idea is to debate why

    Tax credits are a really f'cked up system and are a perfect example of the type of benefit that suffers from the general argument I made in the OP. Which isn't to say that they don't help people only that those folk could be helped in a better way.
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    I think tax credits could work but even that has its flaws.

    I'm thinking getting credit where it's due, when it's needed. If someone pays steady PAYE it's reasonably sound but will invariably fall flat on its erse in every other scenario; irregular contracts, zero hour contracts, self employed, unemployed and all that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    so you are an advocate of means testing - can you elaborate on why its better than the universalist approach that is child benefit? its all very well stating that as fact/opinion but the idea is to debate why

    Tax credits are a really f'cked up system and are a perfect example of the type of benefit that suffers from the general argument I made in the OP. Which isn't to say that they don't help people only that those folk could be helped in a better way.
    Child benefits are means tested R. What is wrong with tax credits by the way? (Apart from the name - if I steal your wallet and give you a little bit of the contents back it's not really a 'credit'!)

    In any case it's all rendered a bit moot by the inadequacies of what's involved. A parent or guardian should be paying around 5k - 10k less tax per year, per child, than a childless person on the same income. Most of that would need funded by increasing the taxes paid by the latter but if we want a fair society in the socialist sense, this is where we need to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by egb_hibs View Post
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    An area where much could be done. Child raising should be massively recognised in the system, because the system itself is going to fail through people not having children .... Which in large part is because the system enables them not to.
    Classic bell shaped distribution in terms of who is having kids (or lots of them) - rich people can afford as many as they want and those who are not in work have more than those who are working but not earning a lot or even earning an average income. Childcare costs for those working, housing costs etc all put those who are earning into a position where they end up making "a lifestyle choice" that is reinforced by the sentiment a significant cohort believe...that you should only have kids "you can afford".

    The end result is skewed numbers of kids being born into a benefits situation where parents don't work and they have no experience of people working OR kids being born to the very affluent and not enough born in the middle ground that we really need to be supporting. Anyone complaining about immigration cannot ignore the link between our own "squeezed middle" (for want of a better expression it is the one that gets bandied about) continuing to "not be able to afford" kids and our need to grow the population to support our pensions when we (maybe) get to retiral age.

    The price of housing in some places in this country makes having kids meaning a massive financial hit for people earning a fairly modest income. There is not enough affordable housing, nowhere near enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by egb_hibs View Post
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    Child benefits are means tested R. What is wrong with tax credits by the way? (Apart from the name - if I steal your wallet and give you a little bit of the contents back it's not really a 'credit'!)

    In any case it's all rendered a bit moot by the inadequacies of what's involved. A parent or guardian should be paying around 5k - 10k less tax per year, per child, than a childless person on the same income. Most of that would need funded by increasing the taxes paid by the latter but if we want a fair society in the socialist sense, this is where we need to be.
    Do parents and guardians get that 5k -10k for life? They've done their bit re your future generations and as parents know we keep on paying well beyond age 16 or 18?
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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    have been surprised to see a few bouncers advocating means testing as an approach the government should be taking in an effort to making sure benefits are targeted at the most needy - bus passes, winter fuel allowance and free prescriptions have all been mentioned iirc? I don't think means testing for benefits/services works for a number of reasons

    1) it is enormously bureaucratic and expensive to run
    2) it creates winners and losers around the margins of where the cut-off line is drawn
    3) it stigmatizes those who receive benefits
    4) when only a small proportion of the community are receipt of a public benefit or service for free - it undermines what might be a broad consensus that the state should be providing it at all. i.e. support for it often evaporates for those not in receipt.

    personally I'd be for removing means testing much more completely from our society with the creation of a universal citizens income something along the lines of this LINK

    so thoughts? c'mon the universalists
    Why don't I get housing benefit?

    But seriously, I don't think means testing is as expensive as you suggest. We do it for income tax and I'm sure you're not suggesting we abolish progressive rates of that?
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    But seriously, I don't think means testing is as expensive as you suggest. We do it for income tax and I'm sure you're not suggesting we abolish progressive rates of that?

    I havent done the sums but would be interested to see them - the common weal suggest that this would be cost neutral, has anyone been able to refute that? having dealt with a few local and national authorities that do these assessments in my time I can easily believe the cost involved are astronomical, particularly when you build in the database purchase/licence etc

    income tax isn't mean testing really is it? we are talking about services and benefits not how we pay into the system

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    Quote Originally Posted by egb_hibs View Post
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    Child benefits are means tested R. What is wrong with tax credits by the way? (Apart from the name - if I steal your wallet and give you a little bit of the contents back it's not really a 'credit'!)
    I didn't know that must have change recently? we are in receipt of CB as well!

    In any case it's all rendered a bit moot by the inadequacies of what's involved. A parent or guardian should be paying around 5k - 10k less tax per year, per child, than a childless person on the same income. Most of that would need funded by increasing the taxes paid by the latter but if we want a fair society in the socialist sense, this is where we need to be.
    i'd advocate an appropriate level of universal child benefit not start fannying around with tax credits and the like for the reasons mentioned above. Do you buy into the universalist pov that it has a positive impact on society (in terms of social cohesion) as one who oft laments the crumbling of common identity and mutualism?
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    Quote Originally Posted by egb_hibs View Post
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    Child benefits are means tested R. What is wrong with tax credits by the way? (Apart from the name - if I steal your wallet and give you a little bit of the contents back it's not really a 'credit'!)

    In any case it's all rendered a bit moot by the inadequacies of what's involved. A parent or guardian should be paying around 5k - 10k less tax per year, per child, than a childless person on the same income. Most of that would need funded by increasing the taxes paid by the latter but if we want a fair society in the socialist sense, this is where we need to be.
    Oh, $#@!ing Reilly?

    So, as a since leaving school tax-payer, as is my wife, with no children, we should be fiscally punished in order to pay for those that squat out a bairn once a year?

    Don`t read me wrong here. I am more than happy that my tax `s go towards child benefits and free school meals, better future etc. But yet you would have us pay more than you, or for you to pay less?

    Howzat work?
    Last edited by Zitellis Heid; 08-02-15 at 19:24.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    I didn't know that must have change recently? we are in receipt of CB as well!
    High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge - GOV.UK

    was reported widely and much debated when they changed it? There is an anomoly where a family with one earner only, in the 50K + bracket won't get CB but a family with two parents working and earning more than that combined DO get CB
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    Quote Originally Posted by SKII View Post
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    High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge - GOV.UK

    was reported widely and much debated when they changed it? There is an anomoly where a family with one earner only, in the 50K + bracket won't get CB but a family with two parents working and earning more than that combined DO get CB
    thanks - rings a vague bell now you mention the 50k individual cut off right enough - have never had to declare our earnings for it to continue - not that it'd matter with that threshold...
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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    I havent done the sums but would be interested to see them - the common weal suggest that this would be cost neutral, has anyone been able to refute that? having dealt with a few local and national authorities that do these assessments in my time I can easily believe the cost involved are astronomical, particularly when you build in the database purchase/licence etc
    If you think for a nano second any UK government anytime soon is going to introduce anything that involves taking on staff (unless that can be contracted out to some Tory mates) you're bonkers!

    IMO :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
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    If you think for a nano second any UK government anytime soon is going to introduce anything that involves taking on staff (unless that can be contracted out to some Tory mates) you're bonkers!

    IMO :-)
    universalist benefits would take a lot less admin therefore less staff
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zitellis Heid View Post
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    Oh, $#@!ing Reilly?

    So, as a since leaving school tax-payer, as is my wife, with no children, we should be fiscally punished in order to pay for those that squat out a bairn once a year?

    Don`t read me wrong here. I am more than happy that my tax `s go towards child benefits and free school meals, better future etc. But yet you would have us pay more than you, or for you to pay less?

    Howzat work?
    Still waiting on this golden nugget reply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zitellis Heid View Post
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    Still waiting on this golden nugget reply.
    If this is a "watch this space" scenario. They are normally only seen in the "SITK" section so it's quite exciting.

    I'm in

    They're gone, not here, forgotten
    The maroon brigade now cry
    The city is now Hibernian
    The team that would not die


    [© Daddy O'Hibee]



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    Quote Originally Posted by Zitellis Heid View Post
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    Oh, $#@!ing Reilly?

    So, as a since leaving school tax-payer, as is my wife, with no children, we should be fiscally punished in order to pay for those that squat out a bairn once a year?

    Don`t read me wrong here. I am more than happy that my tax `s go towards child benefits and free school meals, better future etc. But yet you would have us pay more than you, or for you to pay less?

    Howzat work?
    It's quite simple really. The welfare state depends on new generations of workers being created to keep the system going (it actually depends on each generation being far bigger than the last but let's leave that additional unsustainable factor to the side for now).

    The welfare system is the only thing that means producing ones own children is not essential - before it people depended on their kids to look after them in their infirmity. Therefore people who don't have them are enabled in that by people who do. The latter have to absorb the cost - circa 10k per child per year - that the former do not, but which they benefit from. That's not even going into all the work involved.

    Anyone who believes in socialism or even welfarism would demand this burden be shared. If they didn't then claims that people who earned more should contribute more would just seem like grasping, envious, demands for punishment and hand outs, no? After all, it is considered progressive for such people to pay more tax as they have greater discretionary income - just as does a childless person next to a parent on the same income level, indeed hugely so.

    Some people cannot have children, and this is a great shame, though doesn't change the economics one iota. However, were it possible to identify the childless by choice then I think you could mount an argument that they should pay more - based on the fact they are actively choosing a lifestyle only made possible by other peoples contribution.

    Really Z you are highlighting the issue with the system - everyone wants something out but not to pay their share, while the system itself fosters unsustainable lifestyle choices and also the idea they are an entitlement or right. This is why welfarism is failing and western economies are collapsing.

    It's hard to think of a more depressing result than seven decades of welfarism producing the notion that reproducing the species, society and indeed welfarism is 'squatting' out babies or a lifestyle choice on a par with prioritising a second holiday and a better car. I realise you are speaking jest but many hold such views in absolute seriousness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by egb_hibs View Post
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    It's quite simple really. The welfare state depends on new generations of workers being created to keep the system going (it actually depends on each generation being far bigger than the last but let's leave that additional unsustainable factor to the side for now).

    The welfare system is the only thing that means producing ones own children is not essential - before it people depended on their kids to look after them in their infirmity. Therefore people who don't have them are enabled in that by people who do. The latter have to absorb the cost - circa 10k per child per year - that the former do not, but which they benefit from. That's not even going into all the work involved.

    Anyone who believes in socialism or even welfarism would demand this burden be shared. If they didn't then claims that people who earned more should contribute more would just seem like grasping, envious, demands for punishment and hand outs, no? After all, it is considered progressive for such people to pay more tax as they have greater discretionary income - just as does a childless person next to a parent on the same income level, indeed hugely so.

    Some people cannot have children, and this is a great shame, though doesn't change the economics one iota. However, were it possible to identify the childless by choice then I think you could mount an argument that they should pay more - based on the fact they are actively choosing a lifestyle only made possible by other peoples contribution.

    Really Z you are highlighting the issue with the system - everyone wants something out but not to pay their share, while the system itself fosters unsustainable lifestyle choices and also the idea they are an entitlement or right. This is why welfarism is failing and western economies are collapsing.

    It's hard to think of a more depressing result than seven decades of welfarism producing the notion that reproducing the species, society and indeed welfarism is 'squatting' out babies or a lifestyle choice on a par with prioritising a second holiday and a better car. I realise you are speaking jest but many hold such views in absolute seriousness.
    I'm sympathetic to the view that a welfare state should look to encourage people to have children. Obviously too there should be support mechanisms that ensure the welfare of those children is good. There are (cheaper?) alternatives i suppose (immigration) but these have costs associated with them too and achieving the right balance is important. There is a risk here of descending into quota's for kids and social engineering if taken too far but its a basic truth that as a country we need to produce children to sustain society and living standards. I am not convinced that tax credits of 10k per child per year (if that's what you're suggesting) are warranted however and clearly only the affluent would qualify for that - who else pays over 20k tax p.a. and has 2 kids? Free childcare, flexible working, (paid) parental leave, a universal child benefit, free school meals all have merit.
    "The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms can appear"

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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    I'm sympathetic to the view that a welfare state should look to encourage people to have children. Obviously too there should be support mechanisms that ensure the welfare of those children is good. There are (cheaper?) alternatives i suppose (immigration) but these have costs associated with them too and achieving the right balance is important. There is a risk here of descending into quota's for kids and social engineering if taken too far but its a basic truth that as a country we need to produce children to sustain society and living standards. I am not convinced that tax credits of 10k per child per year (if that's what you're suggesting) are warranted however and clearly only the affluent would qualify for that - who else pays over 20k tax p.a. and has 2 kids? Free childcare, flexible working, (paid) parental leave, a universal child benefit, free school meals all have merit.
    Mass immigration for these reasons is cynical beyond description; outsourcing baby making to the developing world then harvesting off their best and brightest. It's also certainly not cheaper. It's also a perverse advert for welfarism - in a few short generations it makes society not viable without bringing in others to breed for it. It's also not conducive in itself to the system maintaining as it discards the mutuality aspect, without which welfare cannot survive for long - no longer is it about putting in and getting out, it's about shipping in people from less privileged places so I don't have to put in.

    Meanwhile, recognising the costs of child raising is hardly social engineering, or at worst is a minimal example in context. The most epic piece of social engineering in history is the breaking of the reproductive cycle to a significant degree; and it is directly the result of welfarism.

    Secondly, it is not social engineering to commandeer less of people's money.

    Thirdly, I suggested 5k per year, by way of sharing the cost. If it seems impractically steep, then parents have to find twice that per head at the moment. Clearly for many this is already subsidised and likewise the contribution from many childless contributors not on high enough incomes would need moderated.

    All the things you suggest as alternatives would cost a lot of money - this could be an alternative way of allocating the tax on the childless.

    I'm not saying this is the only way. Nor am I even saying it's the best thing to do. But I cannot understand how it can be objected to by those who claim a socialist outlook. Fully realised socialism controls choices in so many things precisely to ensure such examples of inequality don't arise. I'm not a socialist of any stripe and even I think the inequity is intolerable in this case - especially because the circular nature of it, ie the unfairness of the system can only exist because of the unfairness of the system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by egb_hibs View Post
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    Mass immigration for these reasons is cynical beyond description; outsourcing baby making to the developing world then harvesting off their best and brightest. It's also certainly not cheaper. It's also a perverse advert for welfarism - in a few short generations it makes society not viable without bringing in others to breed for it. It's also not conducive in itself to the system maintaining as it discards the mutuality aspect, without which welfare cannot survive for long - no longer is it about putting in and getting out, it's about shipping in people from less privileged places so I don't have to put in.

    Meanwhile, recognising the costs of child raising is hardly social engineering, or at worst is a minimal example in context. The most epic piece of social engineering in history is the breaking of the reproductive cycle to a significant degree; and it is directly the result of welfarism.

    Secondly, it is not social engineering to commandeer less of people's money.

    Thirdly, I suggested 5k per year, by way of sharing the cost. If it seems impractically steep, then parents have to find twice that per head at the moment. Clearly for many this is already subsidised and likewise the contribution from many childless contributors not on high enough incomes would need moderated.

    All the things you suggest as alternatives would cost a lot of money - this could be an alternative way of allocating the tax on the childless.

    I'm not saying this is the only way. Nor am I even saying it's the best thing to do. But I cannot understand how it can be objected to by those who claim a socialist outlook. Fully realised socialism controls choices in so many things precisely to ensure such examples of inequality don't arise. I'm not a socialist of any stripe and even I think the inequity is intolerable in this case - especially because the circular nature of it, ie the unfairness of the system can only exist because of the unfairness of the system.
    and breathe M....

    I didn't propose immigration replace reproduction and I'm lost with your 'points' on social engineering.

    I was merely alluding to the dangers of the state controlling the birth rate. clearly incentivising having children by paying them (or returning to the wealthy) 5k per annum will result in some people making a lifestyle choice to have more. How many children do we need and when do we stop paying are legitimate questions if its about ensuring we have enough workers in the future to pay for our care during infirmity. i dont think a flat rate of 5k or 10k is appropriate but I do think we should help offset costs (free childcare) and ensure child welfare (free prescriptions, school meals etc).
    "The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms can appear"

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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    I havent done the sums but would be interested to see them - the common weal suggest that this would be cost neutral, has anyone been able to refute that? having dealt with a few local and national authorities that do these assessments in my time I can easily believe the cost involved are astronomical, particularly when you build in the database purchase/licence etc



    income tax isn't mean testing really is it? we are talking about services and benefits not how we pay into the system
    I can't really see the difference to be honest - they assess your means and then tax you accordingly, surely? So my point was why can't they use that and apply it to which benefits you receive. You wouldn't even need to do the operation twice.

    I get what you're saying about the costs of bureaucracy but we're both in the dark a bit I think. My instinct is that there must be a point at which it becomes worth means testing, even if it's only for larger sums (which are, you're of course right, likely to be debit as opposed to credit items). If there isn't then the logical conclusion is that I would get housing benefit which is pretty absurd, really.
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    I can't really see the difference to be honest - they assess your means and then tax you accordingly, surely? So my point was why can't they use that and apply it to which benefits you receive. You wouldn't even need to do the operation twice.

    I get what you're saying about the costs of bureaucracy but we're both in the dark a bit I think. My instinct is that there must be a point at which it becomes worth means testing, even if it's only for larger sums (which are, you're of course right, likely to be debit as opposed to credit items). If there isn't then the logical conclusion is that I would get housing benefit which is pretty absurd, really.
    although any assessment of means that relied solely on income would undoubtedly be simpler, it wouldn't capture the whole picture (not even close). That's the problem - an assessment of need compared with an assessment of means is complex. It also delivers stupids ideas at an alarming rate - e.g. the bedroom tax. It doesn't work well with the complexities of life and its very inefficient. I agree there will be a theoretical point where the profit and loss columns would lead an accountant to conclude means testing is desirable (although whether that happens in reality is at the very least open to debate) but that ignores the wider social implications of a universalist vs means tested approach. I'll try and find some figures, in the meantime I think this summarises the approach well .

    There are two possible views of how a welfare system should operate. One sees welfare as a bare minimum safety net which should always be calibrated to push people towards work by creating an environment of fear, anxiety and insecurity. This view is taken by the UK Government which actively promotes benefit withdrawal, aggressive means-testing and continual downward pressure on levels of benefit payment to incentivise people to work. This view is wilfully disconnected to the facts: most people in poverty are already working; most people out of work or facing under-employment say they want to work or work more; there is plentiful evidence that a punitive approach to welfare does not increase economic participation. It is also contains within its ideology an inherent inhumanity.

    The second view of how a welfare system should operate is that it should be an integral part of a national strategy to pursue the interests of citizens by emphasising their social security. This view accepts research which shows that at the top of what people say they want from life are a decent job, somewhere nice to live and the security of knowing you can pay your bills and feed your family. This view accepts that people want to work and participate in their society and draws from the evidence which shows that people are better able to participate in the economy from a base of individual security than from collective anxiety. It notes that societies which have achieved high rates of economic participation and low rates of poverty are ones which integrate the concept of social security into all government actions....

    In the end the best response to welfare payments is to create an economy which does not rely on welfare payments to address these problems of low pay, inequality and insecurity. And welfare policy should itself encourage the development of such an economy.


    on housing benefit specifically

    The size of the housing benefit bill in the UK is a response both to low pay and what are among the highest housing costs in Europe. Housing benefit has been used only as a subsidy which has been paid to the private and public rental sector. Not only has this failed to address the issue of affordable housing it has in fact helped to inflate rental costs. Housing benefit should instead be integrated with a housing policy that seeks to invest in large volumes of new social housing with the aim of decommodifying housing and over time reducing rental costs in the housing sector. The goal must not be to use public money in a way that inflates housing costs and then seeks to mitigate those high costs but to do the opposite and make housing affordable again.
    "The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms can appear"

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    ok heres the figures for the costs of the illustrative Citizens Income scheme as proposed here http://reidfoundation.org/portfolio/inplaceofanxiety/

    the figures are based on several assumptions: assume that the basic rate of tax on earned income remains the same as now, at 32 per cent (20 per cent Income Tax plus 12 per cent Employees National Insurance Contributions), with higher and additional rates as at present on higher earnings. Rates of 20 percent are assumed for pensioners and for unearned income. In practice, it may be necessary to have a slightly higher rate of income tax to finance a reasonable scheme in the future


    Age______________Popn. 2011 Census_____Citizens Income per week_____Cost
    0 to 15____________11.9 million___________56.25____________________35bn
    16 to 24___________7.5 million____________56.25____________________22bn
    25 to 64___________33.4 million___________71.00___________________124bn
    65 and over________10.4 million__________142.70____________________77bn
    State pension entitlements
    in excess of 142.70_______________________________________________15bn
    Cost of Citizens Incomes and pension
    entitlements_____________________________________________________273bn
    Running costs (1 per cent)__________________________________________ 3bn
    Total annual cost___________________________________________276bn


    The total cost of the proposed scheme is approximately the same as the total cost of benefits and tax relief and allowances that would be replaced, i.e. 275 billion per year in 2012-13

    thoughts as they say?
    "The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms can appear"

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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    although any assessment of means that relied solely on income would undoubtedly be simpler, it wouldn't capture the whole picture (not even close). That's the problem - an assessment of need compared with an assessment of means is complex. It also delivers stupids ideas at an alarming rate - e.g. the bedroom tax. It doesn't work well with the complexities of life and its very inefficient. I agree there will be a theoretical point where the profit and loss columns would lead an accountant to conclude means testing is desirable (although whether that happens in reality is at the very least open to debate)
    But if it happens with regard to income tax it must also happen with regard to benefits, no? I've seen some strange views expressed here in support of independence particularly, but flat tax as a progressive approach would take the biscuit and the plate.

    I get your point re income not being the whole picture, but it's most of it, surely? And when doing tax returns on income one routinely includes capital anyway, so as I say most of the work is done. I just think it's perhaps not quite as onerous a task to means test as you say, and doing without it is perhaps also not just a green light to sack half a million pen pushers.

    Completely willing to be proved wrong though. I'd love to see some figures.

    but that ignores the wider social implications of a universalist vs means tested approach. I'll try and find some figures, in the meantime I think this summarises the approach well .

    There are two possible views of how a welfare system should operate. One sees welfare as a bare minimum safety net which should always be calibrated to push people towards work by creating an environment of fear, anxiety and insecurity. This view is taken by the UK Government which actively promotes benefit withdrawal, aggressive means-testing and continual downward pressure on levels of benefit payment to incentivise people to work. This view is wilfully disconnected to the facts: most people in poverty are already working; most people out of work or facing under-employment say they want to work or work more; there is plentiful evidence that a punitive approach to welfare does not increase economic participation. It is also contains within its ideology an inherent inhumanity.

    The second view of how a welfare system should operate is that it should be an integral part of a national strategy to pursue the interests of citizens by emphasising their social security. This view accepts research which shows that at the top of what people say they want from life are a decent job, somewhere nice to live and the security of knowing you can pay your bills and feed your family. This view accepts that people want to work and participate in their society and draws from the evidence which shows that people are better able to participate in the economy from a base of individual security than from collective anxiety. It notes that societies which have achieved high rates of economic participation and low rates of poverty are ones which integrate the concept of social security into all government actions....

    In the end the best response to welfare payments is to create an economy which does not rely on welfare payments to address these problems of low pay, inequality and insecurity. And welfare policy should itself encourage the development of such an economy.
    It would be hard to disagree with that, but it is not precisely a comparison of universalist vs means tested benefits, is it? How would me receiving benefit to help pay for my six-bedroom central London house and my kids (two of whom are in private school) emphasise anyone's social security?*

    I suppose I could pay more tax and then get it back, but I don't see how that would reduce bureaucracy.

    *note I don't actually live in a six-bedroom London house or have two kids at private school


    The size of the housing benefit bill in the UK is a response both to low pay and what are among the highest housing costs in Europe. Housing benefit has been used only as a subsidy which has been paid to the private and public rental sector. Not only has this failed to address the issue of affordable housing it has in fact helped to inflate rental costs. Housing benefit should instead be integrated with a housing policy that seeks to invest in large volumes of new social housing with the aim of decommodifying housing and over time reducing rental costs in the housing sector. The goal must not be to use public money in a way that inflates housing costs and then seeks to mitigate those high costs but to do the opposite and make housing affordable again.
    Can't disagree with that. but again it seems to be arguing for a root-and-branch reform of society, not necessarily a universalist benefit system.
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    But if it happens with regard to income tax it must also happen with regard to benefits, no? I've seen some strange views expressed here in support of independence particularly, but flat tax as a progressive approach would take the biscuit and the plate.
    I'm not arguing for a flat rate of income tax - not sure how you concluded that

    I get your point re income not being the whole picture, but it's most of it, surely? And when doing tax returns on income one routinely includes capital anyway, so as I say most of the work is done. I just think it's perhaps not quite as onerous a task to means test as you say, and doing without it is perhaps also not just a green light to sack half a million pen pushers.

    Completely willing to be proved wrong though. I'd love to see some figures.
    when you get a chance it'd be good to hear your views on the In Place of Anxiety report

    It would be hard to disagree with that, but it is not precisely a comparison of universalist vs means tested benefits, is it? How would me receiving benefit to help pay for my six-bedroom central London house and my kids (two of whom are in private school) emphasise anyone's social security?*

    I suppose I could pay more tax and then get it back, but I don't see how that would reduce bureaucracy.

    *note I don't actually live in a six-bedroom London house or have two kids at private school

    Can't disagree with that. but again it seems to be arguing for a root-and-branch reform of society, not necessarily a universalist benefit system.
    the argument is fundamental to helping choose what approach we take to welfare, off course there are other elements of government policy that should be addressed that impinge on this but i am only trying to advocate for the second approach described above. A gradualist approach could start the shift in emphasis from a cost neutral perspective by providing a suitable citizen's income at the rate's quoted. We can iron out the other stuff sooner or later thereafter.
    "The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms can appear"

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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    and breathe M....

    I didn't propose immigration replace reproduction and I'm lost with your 'points' on social engineering.

    I was merely alluding to the dangers of the state controlling the birth rate. clearly incentivising having children by paying them (or returning to the wealthy) 5k per annum will result in some people making a lifestyle choice to have more. How many children do we need and when do we stop paying are legitimate questions if its about ensuring we have enough workers in the future to pay for our care during infirmity. i dont think a flat rate of 5k or 10k is appropriate but I do think we should help offset costs (free childcare) and ensure child welfare (free prescriptions, school meals etc).
    I don't know what you mean with 'and breathe'. Regarding social engineering points, let me try again. Social engineering is, surely, when the state or other powers that be, manipulate things within society to a desired end - or try to anyway.

    Tax credits are not social engineering. They are simply the state limiting the amount of money it takes from someone in order to fund its various projects, including social engineering ones. It's closer to the opposite of social engineering, including redistribution of tax monies towards incentivising something.

    Meanwhile, the breakdown in the reproductive cycle - large scale election to remain childless - is surely tone of the most profound examples of social engineering ever achieved; it fundamentally could not happen without state engineering and it is such a fundamental and profound change.

    Finally, I think it is confused to talk of children as a lifestyle choice. Not only is it as close to a secular meaning of life that there is, but as previously noted it is essential to the continuance of society and the welfare system. It is only within the context of the latter that choices not to do so become available.

    As to how many children 'we need' - I presume you mean how many welfare needs? Well it's a huge and unsustainable amount, but the inherently unsustainable nature of the welfare model is another topic.

    I'd welcome it if you would address the point about progressive taxation recognising the cost of child rearing versus level of income. In short, how can only possibly argue that those earning more should pay more without supporting massive recognition for those contributing through reproducing the system?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    I'm not arguing for a flat rate of income tax - not sure how you concluded that
    Maybe I didn't explain it very well. If means testing at some point becomes worthwhile for income taxation then it must theoretically also become worthwhile at some point for benefits. Because they are both just amounts of money plus or minus to the exchequer.



    when you get a chance it'd be good to hear your views on the In Place of Anxiety report
    I'll have a look.



    the argument is fundamental to helping choose what approach we take to welfare, off course there are other elements of government policy that should be addressed that impinge on this but i am only trying to advocate for the second approach described above. A gradualist approach could start the shift in emphasis from a cost neutral perspective by providing a suitable citizen's income at the rate's quoted. We can iron out the other stuff sooner or later thereafter.
    It could start there. But based on the excerpts it would need to start everywhere, all over public and economic life, because this would be a huge change to how we do things. In order to get the full result you're after you'd need to completely alter taxation of both income and capital and the planning system just for starters.

    That doesn't feel like 'ironing out' to me. It feels like a massive - possibly desirable - root and branch alteration that not enough people will ever vote for.

    And I don't doubt the good intentions of the goals, but I can't really see how giving a person with 40 million in the bank a citizens income is going to reduce bureaucracy and increase fairness. And where do you draw the line? Not everything can be universalist, surely? You aren't genuinely going to give Roman Abramovich housing benefit for his penthouse in Mayfair, are you?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    ok heres the figures for the costs of the illustrative Citizens Income scheme as proposed here http://reidfoundation.org/portfolio/inplaceofanxiety/

    the figures are based on several assumptions: assume that the basic rate of tax on earned income remains the same as now, at 32 per cent (20 per cent Income Tax plus 12 per cent Employees National Insurance Contributions), with higher and additional rates as at present on higher earnings. Rates of 20 percent are assumed for pensioners and for unearned income. In practice, it may be necessary to have a slightly higher rate of income tax to finance a reasonable scheme in the future


    Age______________Popn. 2011 Census_____Citizens Income per week_____Cost
    0 to 15____________11.9 million___________56.25____________________35bn
    16 to 24___________7.5 million____________56.25____________________22bn
    25 to 64___________33.4 million___________71.00___________________124bn
    65 and over________10.4 million__________142.70____________________77bn
    State pension entitlements
    in excess of 142.70_______________________________________________15bn
    Cost of Citizens Incomes and pension
    entitlements_____________________________________________________273bn
    Running costs (1 per cent)__________________________________________ 3bn
    Total annual cost___________________________________________276bn


    The total cost of the proposed scheme is approximately the same as the total cost of benefits and tax relief and allowances that would be replaced, i.e. 275 billion per year in 2012-13

    thoughts as they say?
    Is the cost the same purely because the running costs are lower?
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by egb_hibs View Post
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    I'd welcome it if you would address the point about progressive taxation recognising the cost of child rearing versus level of income. In short, how can only possibly argue that those earning more should pay more without supporting massive recognition for those contributing through reproducing the system?
    i agree that the state should recognise the cost burden on parents and even positively incentivise having children - at the very minimum it should off set the necessary costs to ensure welfare. whether that should be done through income tax rebate is something I'd question however, clearly not all those who have children will pay enough into the system to get the 5k per annum you propose. I'd go with the 56.25 pw citizen's income for under 25s with services such as free schooling, childcare etc and flexible working and other benefits for parents. Obviously the actual amount of payment could be varied if we choose to pay more or less tax. The breadwinner in the family is also often not the main carer and therefore maybe not the best person to provide money to to ensure child welfare (unfortunately that's often the case)?

    for clarity I didn't mean to portray the idea of having children was a lifestyle choice only note that it is an element (to a greater or lesser degree) in (nearly?) all our personal decisions when we actively decide to have sprogs.
    "The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms can appear"

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    Thanks R. Can I ask your view of a worked example. Should someone with two kids earning 45k be taxed more than someone with none earning 25k? We can split that question further into whether they should pay more by ratio of salary and whether they should be part of the higher tax bracket.

    If the cost of raising kids is 10k pa per head - let's say it is for illustration cos its around that - then I would argue under a progressive tax model they ought not to on both counts.

    Progressive taxation is surely based on discretionary income so in my view arguing that the parent should pay more is a de facto argument for a flat tax of sorts. Even then it is regressive in effect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by egb_hibs View Post
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    Thanks R. Can I ask your view of a worked example. Should someone with two kids earning 45k be taxed more than someone with none earning 25k? We can split that question further into whether they should pay more by ratio of salary and whether they should be part of the higher tax bracket.

    If the cost of raising kids is 10k pa per head - let's say it is for illustration cos its around that - then I would argue under a progressive tax model they ought not to on both counts.

    Progressive taxation is surely based on discretionary income so in my view arguing that the parent should pay more is a de facto argument for a flat tax of sorts. Even then it is regressive in effect.
    Not being wide here eeg, but I`m still digesting your answer in a sensible fashion, yet failing, as yet, to comprehend.

    Could be a herbal issue, but thus far I`ve deduced...

    Can you factor in the cost of state savings on the childless? Whilst still paying tax to the max. but not actually gaining, in child-care, education etc. (I`m happy to donate 25% of my earnings to cater for that, amongst other things) but what you are suggesting is indeed means-testing. As is covered above.

    I`ll give you a side by side comparison tomorrow now, it would appear, but, as I stated above, I/We are more than happy to pay tax, a slice of which is dedicated to those with children, in the hope that what we DON`T take out, we have hopefully covered our share for those who do, and are entitled to.
    I`m all for that.

    To however ask me to do this, whilst equal earners would pay 5-10K less in tax than myself, for having kids...... leads directly to means-testing.

    The comparison I have in mind is rather breath-taking, which is why I choose universal.

    I`ll explain later, and publically.

    A few issues also need looked at. Tax relief for high earners, big businesses like mobile companies, and of course tax-avoidance by the upper echelons, which has never been fully investigated here.

    Surely Universal and fair would thus be the mandate?

    Let`s imagine, for a moment, although that moment sadly has been lost, Wee Nikki states... "We are upping income tax on a fair scale, dependant totally on fairness and ability to pay, on ALL levels, and we can negate this issue"

    I`d be all for that. But that`s means-testing again, and would be deemed unworkable.

    If it was presented in a fashion that was indeed fair, across the board, and included income as a staple, then I`d buy into that too.

    Means-testing again.

    In short, my method would be fine at the lower levels, but would ensure big business would pay it`s share, and what a happy and fair society that would create.

    As you read this, I know you are reading, "Communist with Capitalist views"

    Replace Capitalist with Realist, and we may be closer to the issue.

    However, and I would like this big and bold, I will pay whatever it takes to fund our countries ideals, as long as Vodaphone etc. pay their dues, at a level deemed fair.

    What that $#@!ing company (one of soo many) have been allowed to get away with, is not only criminal, it is perverse.

    Sure, they may $#@! off with a lot more following, but for how long do we allow business`s to get bigger whilst the customer decides on fuel of food?

    There`s a lot wrong here. It can be fixed with the right Governance, and right now I only see one way out.

    My post is indeed contradictory in many ways, but there IS a solution.

    We need to vote for it.

    Sorry for the ramble, but, hey, you know what I`m getting at.

    Oh, and don`t dissect this post, into lines, address it in full please.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh and that phone company? It`s due tax would have paid for the welfare state for seven years, and that`s only one of them.

    Ministerial expenses and loop-holes would cover it yet further. What to do indeed?

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    z too whacked to bite off this tonight especially as I just lost my first reply. I'll get to it tomorrow at which point I'll dig out the actuals figures for the following, but just quickly; when the British welfare state was founded there were several tax paying workers per state dependent (eg pensioners) - that number has collapsed, with the same pattern all over the western world. And back then state services were nowhere near as broad and there was nowhere near the demand we have today from family breakdown etc.

    That is why we have economic collapse having exhausted the use of credit to paper over the cracks. As was posted (with document) on here back in the day, the eu or UN or one of these bodies calculated that to maintain European welfare deficits as they were in the mid 90s (already huge) Europe would need 700 million immigrants by mid century.

    The failure to reproduce new workers is literally causing welfarism to meltdown in front of is. The cost and value of producing such future contributors to the system dwarfs the cost of funding schooling through tax (which is best thought of as paying for ones own education in retrospect).

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    The paying for kids' education is a bit of a red herring. We all get a free education at the point of source. It is when we are adults we all pay back into the system (if economically active) to keep the education system going that educates the next generation...who will then also pay back into the system themselves.

    It is us paying for our own education, after the event, when we become economically active...and not funding the education of our/someone else's kids.
    Hibs are standing on the brink of history...

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    Is the cost the same purely because the running costs are lower?
    thats what it looks like yes - costs reflect the benefits, in work allowances and administration costs that would be directly replaced by a single system - pretty mind blowing really
    "The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms can appear"

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    Quote Originally Posted by egb_hibs View Post
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    Thanks R. Can I ask your view of a worked example. Should someone with two kids earning 45k be taxed more than someone with none earning 25k? We can split that question further into whether they should pay more by ratio of salary and whether they should be part of the higher tax bracket.

    If the cost of raising kids is 10k pa per head - let's say it is for illustration cos its around that - then I would argue under a progressive tax model they ought not to on both counts.

    Progressive taxation is surely based on discretionary income so in my view arguing that the parent should pay more is a de facto argument for a flat tax of sorts. Even then it is regressive in effect.
    I've said i don't fancy using income tax as the means to support the welfare of children or to incentivise having children. Rather I'd look to put support and services in place to offset the costs and allow parents to experience the joys of parenthood without having to make undue sacrifices be that to their career, their health or other aspects. I too am superficially jealous of those childless friends (through choice) who take advantage (in your terms) of the security society will offer them in old age to live what appears to me to often be a fun but fairly shallow and hedonistic life - foreign trips, skiing, dinner at fancy places etc. but ultimately i wouldn't swap it. One thing i would ensure is that children aren't expected/obliged to be carers of their elderly relatives and if they choose to be they should be properly recognised in the social security system. That said the proposed citizen's income of 56 per week for under 25s comes in at around 3k a year, i'd be open to a case being made to the 95 per week per child (level required for 5k per annum) if we could fund that reasonably either by raising taxes or cutting spending from elsewhere. I'd be uncomfortable penalising the childless through income tax banding, it maybe amounts to almost the same thing in the end but the univeralist approach is my preference - we all pay in for the common good, those that can pay more do.
    "The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms can appear"

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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    thats what it looks like yes - costs reflect the benefits, in work allowances and administration costs that would be directly replaced by a single system - pretty mind blowing really
    It is. And I think that's where I'd like to see some firm figures. Maybe they are in there to be fair, I haven't had time to look.

    Instinctively I'd say that 1% to run even a universal scheme seems extremely low. You still need to keep checks on quite a lot of stuff, have payment processes in place, customer services for problems, have staff to organise and maintain database stuff like address and bank account changes etc etc.
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    I've said i don't fancy using income tax as the means to support the welfare of children or to incentivise having children. Rather I'd look to put support and services in place to offset the costs and allow parents to experience the joys of parenthood without having to make undue sacrifices be that to their career, their health or other aspects. I too am superficially jealous of those childless friends (through choice) who take advantage (in your terms) of the security society will offer them in old age to live what appears to me to often be a fun but fairly shallow and hedonistic life - foreign trips, skiing, dinner at fancy places etc. but ultimately i wouldn't swap it. One thing i would ensure is that children aren't expected/obliged to be carers of their elderly relatives and if they choose to be they should be properly recognised in the social security system. That said the proposed citizen's income of 56 per week for under 25s comes in at around 3k a year, i'd be open to a case being made to the 95 per week per child (level required for 5k per annum) if we could fund that reasonably either by raising taxes or cutting spending from elsewhere. I'd be uncomfortable penalising the childless through income tax banding, it maybe amounts to almost the same thing in the end but the univeralist approach is my preference - we all pay in for the common good, those that can pay more do.
    Maybe I'm confused, but in your universalist approach the childless get the same amount don't they, so there's no recognition there that I can see, it just cancels out. Have I misunderstood?

    I do wonder why you are so insistent that the answer can't be allow people to keep their own money, and it must instead involve the state taking that money and deciding what they need. But I guess that's my more libertian than thou nature, and another debate. The real point here, I think is equity. And I think we still can't escape the point I am making - the services you propose will cost money, and the childless should disproportionately bear the tax burden, no?

    I sympathise with your points on parental lifestyles versus their peers, but the actual argument here is a mostly objective economic one. I say mostly objective because progressive taxation is fundamentally a value based subjective approach, but that aside, there is the question of overall economic contribution. Raising the new workforce is an economic contribution as sure as paying taxes is. Taxation should recognise total economic contribution, and thus the childless should pay more tax in lieu of alternative contribution.

    You seem a little squeamish on this R - left liberal vs socialist instincts must be juking it out within you ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by egb_hibs View Post
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    Maybe I'm confused, but in your universalist approach the childless get the same amount don't they, so there's no recognition there that I can see, it just cancels out. Have I misunderstood?

    I do wonder why you are so insistent that the answer can't be allow people to keep their own money, and it must instead involve the state taking that money and deciding what they need. But I guess that's my more libertian than thou nature, and another debate. The real point here, I think is equity. And I think we still can't escape the point I am making - the services you propose will cost money, and the childless should disproportionately bear the tax burden, no?

    I sympathise with your points on parental lifestyles versus their peers, but the actual argument here is a mostly objective economic one. I say mostly objective because progressive taxation is fundamentally a value based subjective approach, but that aside, there is the question of overall economic contribution. Raising the new workforce is an economic contribution as sure as paying taxes is. Taxation should recognise total economic contribution, and thus the childless should pay more tax in lieu of alternative contribution.

    You seem a little squeamish on this R - left liberal vs socialist instincts must be juking it out within you ;-)
    there's a payment per child too that would go to their main carer (usually mum) - based i think on the income support payment that is currently paid to those out of work/education under 25? that's what i was talking about varying as it would pay 3k per annum per child (common weal proposal) to be cost neutral in comparison with the current welfare bill. surely you recognise that there's a difference offsetting tax for the wealthy and paying for all whether they pay tax or not? I'm really not interested in paying for 'rich' people (only) to have kids but call that authoritative/anti-libertarian if you will.
    "The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms can appear"

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    Of course I agree with you that poorer parents should not be excluded. But surely its best to do this through tax relief for those,to whom that applies, while the less well off would gain from additional state services. And all of the above would be financed by the childless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    It is. And I think that's where I'd like to see some firm figures. Maybe they are in there to be fair, I haven't had time to look.

    Instinctively I'd say that 1% to run even a universal scheme seems extremely low. You still need to keep checks on quite a lot of stuff, have payment processes in place, customer services for problems, have staff to organise and maintain database stuff like address and bank account changes etc etc.
    the 1% was proposed by a professor of economics, I'm not really sure about how best to judge that I suppose yes its open to debate but it would be fair to say admin costs would tumble with a simple system - only need to track name, address, bank account and whether alive or dead? I'm pretty sure all that data exists already! we're also dealing with what 63 million people? 1% doesn't sound like much but its 3 billion quid. economies of scale probably come into play =)

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    Quote Originally Posted by egb_hibs View Post
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    Of course I agree with you that poorer parents should not be excluded. But surely its best to do this through tax relief for those,to whom that applies, while the less well off would gain from additional state services. And all of the above would be financed by the childless.
    i don't see the need for having 2 systems if every parent is to get the same but if that'd work as effectively and it allows you to feel like you're getting your tax back rather than a sub from society, i don't really care which way its organised.
    "The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms can appear"

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    Well I start from the same position as you, I think, that the state should only be involved when there is not an alternative and that's its always better to leave people free to do their own thing where that is an option.

    It's not really two systems - it's extending state provided services to the extent they are needed, which will be less if people are allowed to keep their own money - which will likely also be cheaper over all given inefficiencies in state provision

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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    the 1% was proposed by a professor of economics, I'm not really sure about how best to judge that I suppose yes its open to debate but it would be fair to say admin costs would tumble with a simple system - only need to track name, address, bank account and whether alive or dead? I'm pretty sure all that data exists already! we're also dealing with what 63 million people? 1% doesn't sound like much but its 3 billion quid. economies of scale probably come into play =)
    Fair play that's quite a lot of money

    I guess my next question would be why does it cost so much to means test. Are we just rubbish at it or is it genuinely very bureaucratic? I suppose it must be.
    so what do I know

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    I'm doing a bit of work at the moment and I noticed a claim that means testing heating benefits and bus passes "would save 3 billion". I'll try and find a source.
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    I'm doing a bit of work at the moment and I noticed a claim that means testing heating benefits and bus passes "would save 3 billion". I'll try and find a source.
    That's an interesting one. Free travel for pensioners in Scotland no matter what their financial situation. What's the actual point in that? My mum, widowed, no income, carer for my sister (with Downs), aye, that makes sense. My mrs mum, married, two fat pensions, nope, don't see even the vaguest of points there. Abject wast of money. I'm assuming it's just to try and catch voters?

    Free prescriptions for everyone too?

    I can, and most I know, can easily pay their own way in that respect. What's the bill for that? Must be insanely huge and an utterly pointless cost to all of society.

    Plain weird.
    Happythankyoumoreplease.

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