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Thread: means testing or universalism

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    Yes indeed, thats money for new nuclear weapons! Stop all freebies at once, who do these people think they are ffs, only worked all there days and they want a free bus into town to meet there pals? $#@! that eh, Trident must ne renewed!
    BetterTogether x

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    Quote Originally Posted by MixuDave View Post
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    Yes indeed, thats money for new nuclear weapons! Stop all freebies at once, who do these people think they are ffs, only worked all there days and they want a free bus into town to meet there pals? $#@! that eh, Trident must ne renewed!
    BetterTogether x
    You know, at least I assumed you do, I'm no unionist and I voted Yes. But, it's not about your lifetime contribution. A guy in my stair is absolutely loaded. He gets all this $#@! for free. Even he thinks it's bonkers. The cash this stuff costs could go to our schools, our NHS, where it's needed. Not on pointless schemes that can only be about votes.
    Happythankyoumoreplease.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brainwrong View Post
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    You know, at least I assumed you do, I'm no unionist and I voted Yes. But, it's not about your lifetime contribution. A guy in my stair is absolutely loaded. He gets all this $#@! for free. Even he thinks it's bonkers. The cash this stuff costs could go to our schools, our NHS, where it's needed. Not on pointless schemes that can only be about votes.
    And what about my auld ma, who if it wasnae for these things would be well below the poverty line, instead of managing every month? Punish the many to save pennies on the few? Better idea imo, scrap trident and HS2, properly go after companies like Starbucks, and leave poor auld Mrs Corcoran to get her meds for nowt aye? Cheers x

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by MixuDave View Post
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    And what about my auld ma, who if it wasnae for these things would be well below the poverty line, instead of managing every month? Punish the many to save pennies on the few? Better idea imo, scrap trident and HS2, properly go after companies like Starbucks, and leave poor auld Mrs Corcoran to get her meds for nowt aye? Cheers x
    But the point is that means testing would ensure that your mum still gets it but others who are well off don't.

    The work I'm doing involves the argument that politicians suck up to old people because they vote and youngsters don't. So rich old people get to enjoy freebies under the banner of universalism while young people see their benefits cut.

    The wider point is in the context of the discussion in the thread about whether means testing can ever save money. This would suggest it can, but as I say I haven't had a source as yet.
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    But the point is that means testing would ensure that your mum still gets it but others who are well off don't.

    The work I'm doing involves the argument that politicians suck up to old people because they vote and youngsters don't. So rich old people get to enjoy freebies under the banner of universalism while young people see their benefits cut.

    The wider point is in the context of the discussion in the thread about whether means testing can ever save money. This would suggest it can, but as I say I haven't had a source as yet.
    Watch it mate.

    You too will be old one day.







    Unless of course you keep on pissing off the more mature Bouncers, in which case your life expectancy could shorten dramatically.
    Jack has plenty spare time on his hands you know.

    He could be on your doorstep pretty damn quick.



    Particularly with all the subsidised travel available to him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brainwrong View Post
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    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.
    You're joking bringing up this stuff again, right? Has Smurf copied his autotext to you?

    It's been debated to death on here many times and shown that it is more beneficial to society as a whole, economically crucial to rural economies and not least the NHS, where there are much reduced hospital admissions and other interactions for these things to be free.

    It would be very interesting to see how @HenryLBs 3bn is arrived at; how much profit Dave and his pals would make from substantially more NHS resources being needed while patients suffered; how many people would die as a result and if there would be the equivalent of the Highland Clearances in the Lakes and the likes.
    Space to let

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Shrink View Post
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    Watch it mate.

    You too will be old one day.







    Unless of course you keep on pissing off the more mature Bouncers, in which case your life expectancy could shorten dramatically.
    Jack has plenty spare time on his hands you know.

    He could be on your doorstep pretty damn quick.



    Particularly with all the subsidised travel available to him.
    *piles furniture against front door and loads blunderbuss

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
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    It would be very interesting to see how @HenryLBs 3bn is arrived at; how much profit Dave and his pals would make from substantially more NHS resources being needed while patients suffered; how many people would die as a result and if there would be the equivalent of the Highland Clearances in the Lakes and the likes.
    Maybe it's nonsense. But this figure is being put forward as part of a progressive campaign to get young people to vote. It's not part of some Tory plot to cut welfare.

    Apologies for not having a source yet. I'm speaking to the guy tomorrow so I'll try and find it.
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    Maybe it's nonsense. But this figure is being put forward as part of a progressive campaign to get young people to vote. It's not part of some Tory plot to cut welfare.

    Apologies for not having a source yet. I'm speaking to the guy tomorrow so I'll try and find it.
    am sure its possible to save money by means testing particularly if you set the bar very low for qualification and you reduce the assessment process costs as far as possible. that's not really my point though. (although its been demonstrated that a citizens income would be cost neutral based on current spend). The arguments for universalism are well rehearsed above so its a bit frustrating seeing stuff about 'getting $#@! for free' - yes there's an income gap but benefits aren't the way to address it - it should be addressed by other means and I suggested a few possibilities in an earlier post.

    for those that support means testing - would that also apply to the schooling of children? if not why not? am sure we could save a lot of money if we only paid for the schooling of kids whose parents couldn't afford the 5-10K per annum tuition fees? its mental surely to give all those kids something for free when their parents are loaded?
    Last edited by gun ainm; 08-03-15 at 10:33.
    "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 MixuDave View Post
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    And what about my auld ma, who if it wasnae for these things would be well below the poverty line, instead of managing every month? Punish the many to save pennies on the few? Better idea imo, scrap trident and HS2, properly go after companies like Starbucks, and leave poor auld Mrs Corcoran to get her meds for nowt aye? Cheers x
    Sorry for delay in response, been smashed all weekend in London!

    Man, I said exactly the same about my mum in original post navies she's in exactly the position as you. Dunno if you missed that or thought I meant something else.
    Happythankyoumoreplease.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
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    You're joking bringing up this stuff again, right? Has Smurf copied his autotext to you?

    It's been debated to death on here many times and shown that it is more beneficial to society as a whole, economically crucial to rural economies and not least the NHS, where there are much reduced hospital admissions and other interactions for these things to be free.

    It would be very interesting to see how @HenryLBs 3bn is arrived at; how much profit Dave and his pals would make from substantially more NHS resources being needed while patients suffered; how many people would die as a result and if there would be the equivalent of the Highland Clearances in the Lakes and the likes.
    Not been a party to any of these discussions.

    And what I said, unless you misunderstood, makes absolute sense.

    I think there are far bigger hitters like Corp tax avoidance, and trident / HS2 (as Mixu mentioned) but to suggest that wealthy OAPs should by default get free travel and more ridiculously folk with plenty cash not paying for prescriptions is just plain daft.

    And, id agree with Gun; the bar should be set very low, for means testing.
    Happythankyoumoreplease.

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    I think in regards to children's education, that is definitely something that should be a universal right. Just as the NHS is.
    Happythankyoumoreplease.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brainwrong View Post
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    I think in regards to children's education, that is definitely something that should be a universal right. Just as the NHS is.
    fair enough I agree with yuo on that one but the question is really why? what is the cut off point where some services/benefits should be universal but some means tested?
    "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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    fair enough I agree with yuo on that one but the question is really why? what is the cut off point where some services/benefits should be universal but some means tested?
    Because we as a society are responsible for the care and protection of the voiceless and vulnerable.
    Happythankyoumoreplease.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brainwrong View Post
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    Because we as a society are responsible for the care and protection of the voiceless and vulnerable.
    sorry K that's not really an answer

    the question was why should some services be universal (such as schools and the NHS) but others not (e.g. in your view prescriptions and pensioner travel)? My own view is that we should have more universal services and less means testing.

    I outlined for example how the costs associated with current means testing are enormous and that for the same cost we could pay out an income to all citizens - instead of only the jobless for example. as well as being cost neutral the societal benefit that would have in my opinion dramatically tips the balance in favour of universalism.

    school meals is a classic case

    Most people can afford to feed their kids lunch, some cannot.
    Most feed their kids a healthy range of food, many do not.

    Should we use parental income as a way to test whether kids should get a free healthy daily school meals or give them to all children? a means tested approach may give vouchers to kids who have parents on benefits. In my view that approach stigmatises those families and annoys others - normally the question is are they deserving of this benefit and look at those who are equally as deserving but not entitled. The support in society for the benefit is weak because of that. Better to give all kids free school meals (if its viewed as important) in my view because you firstly remove the stigma and resentment but you also cover all the gaps that a means tested approach fails to deliver against (the single mum working a low wage for example). Now that approach may cost more even though administration costs are likely to be much lower but in my view the benefits would be worth paying for - all kids get at least one hot healthy meal per day - that benefits their health and ability to learn.

    How we pay for them is another debate but i would argue we need to address streams of government income more urgently than continually lowering the bar for benefits like free school meals, prescriptions, job seeker's allowance, schooling etc. And yes i'd be more progressive in the collection of that income to address the inequality of wealth
    "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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    Absolutely bang on the money Gun.

    I've mentioned free school meals pilots before and the evidence is compelling. In this one, for example, they had one area where it was universal and one means tested but extended beyond that which had been the case.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/upload.../DFE-RR227.pdf

    for those who don't want to read it all, can't blame you, some of the main findings are, and i quote directly

    The universal pilot had a significant positive impact on attainment for primary school
    pupils at Key Stages 1 and 2, with pupils in the pilot areas making between four and
    eight weeks more progress than similar pupils in comparison areas. These effects
    could have arisen either through the provision of free school meals directly or through
    the wider activities that accompanied the pilot (such as the promotion of school meals
    and healthy eating to pupils and parents) or both.

    The universal entitlement pilot appeared to improve attainment by more amongst
    pupils from less affluent families than amongst pupils from more affluent families. It
    also appeared to improve attainment by more for pupils with lower prior attainment
    than for those with higher prior attainment. It should be noted that the effects for
    different types of pupils are not always significantly different from one another.

    By contrast, the extended entitlement pilot did not significantly affect attainment for
    either primary or secondary school pupils.

    The improvements in attainment found in the universal pilot areas do not appear to
    have been driven by an increase in the amount of time children spend in school, as
    neither pilot approach led to a significant reduction in absence rates from school. This
    suggests that the increases in attainment evident in the universal pilot areas must
    arise as a result of improvements in productivity whilst at school.

    So the evidence is that free school meals has a positive impact on pupil attainment. The longer term costs of low attainment are well known so the outlay is dwarfed by longer term savings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    sorry K that's not really an answer

    the question was why should some services be universal (such as schools and the NHS) but others not (e.g. in your view prescriptions and pensioner travel)? My own view is that we should have more universal services and less means testing.

    I outlined for example how the costs associated with current means testing are enormous and that for the same cost we could pay out an income to all citizens - instead of only the jobless for example. as well as being cost neutral the societal benefit that would have in my opinion dramatically tips the balance in favour of universalism.

    school meals is a classic case

    Most people can afford to feed their kids lunch, some cannot.
    Most feed their kids a healthy range of food, many do not.

    Should we use parental income as a way to test whether kids should get a free healthy daily school meals or give them to all children? a means tested approach may give vouchers to kids who have parents on benefits. In my view that approach stigmatises those families and annoys others - normally the question is are they deserving of this benefit and look at those who are equally as deserving but not entitled. The support in society for the benefit is weak because of that. Better to give all kids free school meals (if its viewed as important) in my view because you firstly remove the stigma and resentment but you also cover all the gaps that a means tested approach fails to deliver against (the single mum working a low wage for example). Now that approach may cost more even though administration costs are likely to be much lower but in my view the benefits would be worth paying for - all kids get at least one hot healthy meal per day - that benefits their health and ability to learn.

    How we pay for them is another debate but i would argue we need to address streams of government income more urgently than continually lowering the bar for benefits like free school meals, prescriptions, job seeker's allowance, schooling etc. And yes i'd be more progressive in the collection of that income to address the inequality of wealth
    Firstly, I've not been involved with the rest of the thread, so, if I've missed anything you've said earlier, apologies. I'm not being obtuse.

    Why can't you see that folk getting $#@! for free when they can easily pay for it is utterly bonkers? I'm socialist as $#@! but that's just idiotic.

    If it's cost neutral, fair enough, I've no idea as I've not read any financial analysis on it. Did you already link that info?

    School meals? Again, why should I get them for free when I can easily pay for my kids meals? Is there really such crippling stigma and bitter resentment attached to others getting food for free? (which I'll add isn't healthy; school meals were $#@!e when I was a kid and they're still $#@!e now).

    Should the government be making my kids tea as well? Some parents are $#@!e at making healthy meals. Should we have state sponsored child walkers, so kids are unaffected by their feckless parent's inability to engage with them and get them out and about?

    To be honest, I'd tackle Corporation Tax before any of this $#@!. None of it would even be a consideration if the uber wealthy actually contributed rather than spout pish about trickle down theory.
    Happythankyoumoreplease.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brainwrong View Post
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    Firstly, I've not been involved with the rest of the thread, so, if I've missed anything you've said earlier, apologies. I'm not being obtuse.

    Why can't you see that folk getting $#@! for free when they can easily pay for it is utterly bonkers? I'm socialist as $#@! but that's just idiotic.

    If it's cost neutral, fair enough, I've no idea as I've not read any financial analysis on it. Did you already link that info?

    School meals? Again, why should I get them for free when I can easily pay for my kids meals? Is there really such crippling stigma and bitter resentment attached to others getting food for free? (which I'll add isn't healthy; school meals were $#@!e when I was a kid and they're still $#@!e now).

    Should the government be making my kids tea as well? Some parents are $#@!e at making healthy meals. Should we have state sponsored child walkers, so kids are unaffected by their feckless parent's inability to engage with them and get them out and about?

    To be honest, I'd tackle Corporation Tax before any of this $#@!. None of it would even be a consideration if the uber wealthy actually contributed rather than spout pish about trickle down theory.
    no worries on the rest of the thread its not required reading

    let me start off by stating that the idea that any service is free is obviously incorrect - those that can pay do so, the key question is should the user pay at the point of service or should society pay? If I am paying into the pot and we as a society have decided that ensuring healthy meals are available to all kids then I am totally a) happy to pay and b) happy for my kids and everyone else's to benefit from that. If i lost my job I'm really grateful to my fellow citizens that they'll cover for my kids meals for a while till i get back on my feet. I'd rather not have to fill in a form and have some bureaucrat poking around to test our entitlement.

    an advantage of this approach is that the government has the opportunity to make me pay more at present than a single mother on a low wage but less than a millionaire through the tax system (imperfect as it is). I have absolutely no compunction in accessing services that we all pay for - that is the point of government IMO - to effectively manage a social contract between citizens. We do all also pay for kids to have regular exercise via the provision of PE although clearly there is a question whether it is enough and well directed.

    The reason we pay however is because it is of benefit to society and the individual. If I am sick i should get healthcare (including the drugs i may require) free at the point of need, if i am lucky enough to be well i am happy to pay to make others better, in the knowledge that one day I may need their help. If I am relying on having money when I am sick then not only am i less likely to support others who get sick and cant afford treatment but my whole view of society changes - the bonds are weaker - I may give to charity but i may be reluctant to contribute as much as what i would through tax because i'll need to make sure when i do get sick i have plenty of savings for myself to live off. For me the same is true for housing, education, participatory sport and a whole host of other aspects of life that are essential to our well being - not luxuries. The stigma of the meals voucher, the food banks, the dole and means testing in general is real, it creates social division and conflict, it makes us less as humans (and i dont mean only those that access those services i mean all of us). That's my case for universalism.
    "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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    no worries on the rest of the thread its not required reading

    let me start off by stating that the idea that any service is free is obviously incorrect - those that can pay do so, the key question is should the user pay at the point of service or should society pay? If I am paying into the pot and we as a society have decided that ensuring healthy meals are available to all kids then I am totally a) happy to pay and b) happy for my kids and everyone else's to benefit from that. If i lost my job I'm really grateful to my fellow citizens that they'll cover for my kids meals for a while till i get back on my feet. I'd rather not have to fill in a form and have some bureaucrat poking around to test our entitlement.

    an advantage of this approach is that the government has the opportunity to make me pay more at present than a single mother on a low wage but less than a millionaire through the tax system (imperfect as it is). I have absolutely no compunction in accessing services that we all pay for - that is the point of government IMO - to effectively manage a social contract between citizens. We do all also pay for kids to have regular exercise via the provision of PE although clearly there is a question whether it is enough and well directed.

    The reason we pay however is because it is of benefit to society and the individual. If I am sick i should get healthcare (including the drugs i may require) free at the point of need, if i am lucky enough to be well i am happy to pay to make others better, in the knowledge that one day I may need their help. If I am relying on having money when I am sick then not only am i less likely to support others who get sick and cant afford treatment but my whole view of society changes - the bonds are weaker - I may give to charity but i may be reluctant to contribute as much as what i would through tax because i'll need to make sure when i do get sick i have plenty of savings for myself to live off. For me the same is true for housing, education, participatory sport and a whole host of other aspects of life that are essential to our well being - not luxuries. The stigma of the meals voucher, the food banks, the dole and means testing in general is real, it creates social division and conflict, it makes us less as humans (and i dont mean only those that access those services i mean all of us). That's my case for universalism.
    I'm not really arguing with any of that other than the fact that, specifically; where's the benefit in wealthy pensioners getting free travel? Where's the benefit in folk getting prescriptions free no matter what they earn? I'm happy to pay more, I want to support my fellow human, I'm happy to pay more tax and also pay for my own prescriptions. But, the money wasted giving me free prescriptions could be far better spent elsewhere. On the overburdened NHS. On geriatric care. On our schools. On the free school meals you mention, perhaps. Far more sense than me not paying for my prescription.

    Free at point of service NHS & Schools is a cornerstone of any civilised society.

    I wasn't even really fighting the case for means testing. But, for anyone to not see that free stuff for folk that can easily afford it is just wilful blindness or intentional ignorance to the fact that that money or those services to be better spent elsewhere on folk that actually can't afford it.

    If I were, however, suggesting things were means tested, all you'd have to do was run a feed off the HMRC database and hey presto, you've got your feckin' household income data.

    Very uncomplicated set of calcs taking amount of kids, amount of earning adults at said address.

    All academic if we just chase the corporation tax though...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brainwrong View Post
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    I'm not really arguing with any of that other than the fact that, specifically; where's the benefit in wealthy pensioners getting free travel? Where's the benefit in folk getting prescriptions free no matter what they earn? I'm happy to pay more, I want to support my fellow human, I'm happy to pay more tax and also pay for my own prescriptions. But, the money wasted giving me free prescriptions could be far better spent elsewhere. On the overburdened NHS. On geriatric care. On our schools. On the free school meals you mention, perhaps. Far more sense than me not paying for my prescription.

    Free at point of service NHS & Schools is a cornerstone of any civilised society.

    I wasn't even really fighting the case for means testing. But, for anyone to not see that free stuff for folk that can easily afford it is just wilful blindness or intentional ignorance to the fact that that money or those services to be better spent elsewhere on folk that actually can't afford it.
    its not free they are paying for it (or have done previously)

    If I were, however, suggesting things were means tested, all you'd have to do was run a feed off the HMRC database and hey presto, you've got your feckin' household income data.

    Very uncomplicated set of calcs taking amount of kids, amount of earning adults at said address.
    you think? what about savings, what about debts, what about unearned income? what about cost of living variations, what about ability to work, what about out of work responsibilities, what about - you get the picture?
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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    its not free they are paying for it (or have done previously)

    you think? what about savings, what about debts, what about unearned income? what about cost of living variations, what about ability to work, what about out of work responsibilities, what about - you get the picture?
    What do we pay our taxes for? We could go round in circles all day. But, pointless altruism is just that; pointless. And, worse still; it's costs money. Money better spent elsewhere.

    Ok, perhaps slightly simplistic but a perfect starting point.

    Savings: Your own business.
    Debts: Your own business.
    Unearned income: Do you mean from renting out properties your own [which has to be declared anyway] or selling weed?
    Cost of Living: Yes, happy for things to be augmented if you live in London vs. Skegness or whatever.
    Ability to Work: Shirley means they'd be getting disability or welfare of some kind and be well below any logical threshold?
    Out of Work Responsibilities: Do you mean childcare / clubs your kids go to and things like that? That would obviously (to me) be calculated in your household income / outgoings mini-demographic.

    I don't think any of this is hard to answer. Unless I'm utterly missing your point.

    Apologies for delay in response too, violently sick & preggars bint and two existing kids and mental work schedule making fitting this in rather more challenging than usual!
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    Universalism with the expense (where it occurs) paid for with higher taxes is the obvious answer to most of these problems shirley?

    Plenty pensioners who would fall foul of means-testing, who can afford to put the heating on but might go chilly if it cuts into what they can spend on their grandkids at christmas. Meanwhile, free school meals for everyone destigmatises them for the poor kids - kids from more affluent backgrounds will have them too, cos nobody pays twice if they don't have to - and also means the sharp-elbowed mums are more likely to kick off about crap food being served. And of course in all these cases, cost and demand are linked. Schools won't be producing extra dinners for the kids bringing in a quinoa sandwich every day, councils will get lower costs on the bus passes if there's only half a dozen biddies on them. And old folk should have the heating on.

    For the life of me I can't see why anyone would argue for means-tested prescriptions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brainwrong View Post
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    Apologies for delay in response too, violently sick & preggars bint and two existing kids and mental work schedule making fitting this in rather more challenging than usual!
    I was wondering where you have been.Not seen you mooching about Junction strasse recently.


    I'd make school meals free and compulsory for all kids btw, from p1 to s5.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FTJT View Post
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    Universalism with the expense (where it occurs) paid for with higher taxes is the obvious answer to most of these problems shirley?

    Plenty pensioners who would fall foul of means-testing, who can afford to put the heating on but might go chilly if it cuts into what they can spend on their grandkids at christmas. Meanwhile, free school meals for everyone destigmatises them for the poor kids - kids from more affluent backgrounds will have them too, cos nobody pays twice if they don't have to - and also means the sharp-elbowed mums are more likely to kick off about crap food being served. And of course in all these cases, cost and demand are linked. Schools won't be producing extra dinners for the kids bringing in a quinoa sandwich every day, councils will get lower costs on the bus passes if there's only half a dozen biddies on them. And old folk should have the heating on.

    For the life of me I can't see why anyone would argue for means-tested prescriptions.
    I don't think increased taxation is obvious at all. When I use the example of non parents paying more tax than parents as a way of equalising socio-economic contributions people get really hot under the collar. It's a good test IMHO as it moves the argument from what should other people give to me to what should I give. It exposes a lot of rhetoric as being a little simplistic.

    Secondly, where do you draw the line where more taxes creates more dependency demands more taxes and all the while further growing the power of the state. I don't think the answer to social justice concerns is to have everyone dependent on an all encompassing state. It's pretty dystopian actually.

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    Quote Originally Posted by southfieldhibby View Post
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    I was wondering where you have been.Not seen you mooching about Junction strasse recently.


    I'd make school meals free and compulsory for all kids btw, from p1 to s5.
    Been thinking of this recently and I would introduce a Sugar Tax to fund it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
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    Been thinking of this recently and I would introduce a Sugar Tax to fund it...
    Not the worst idea I've heard. I think schools should become a wee bit more than just schools, if that makes sense.Maybe a sugar tax ringfenced to help schools run mandatory breakfast clubs and lunches is a good idea.Could possibly help with health but also foster more ties within the school.

    I see St.Marys a couple of times a week have a cross country team running about the links.Obviously the PE teacher taking it, but fund more things like that...the school strikes of the 80's have alot to answer for I think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by egb_hibs View Post
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    I don't think increased taxation is obvious at all. When I use the example of non parents paying more tax than parents as a way of equalising socio-economic contributions people get really hot under the collar. It's a good test IMHO as it moves the argument from what should other people give to me to what should I give. It exposes a lot of rhetoric as being a little simplistic.

    Secondly, where do you draw the line where more taxes creates more dependency demands more taxes and all the while further growing the power of the state. I don't think the answer to social justice concerns is to have everyone dependent on an all encompassing state. It's pretty dystopian actually.
    I think everyone should pay more tax. Therein, I don't think there should be tax breaks for parents but prominent in what the increased haul funds there should be an expansion in key family services - increased child benefit, more nursery hours, serious funding for free summer/after school clubs, and I'd like to see children's social care and mental health services drowning in cash.

    I think the basic idea that the state should provide what people need and the market should provide what people want is a good one. 'Dependency' in my view tends to translate fairly well to 'poor people shouldn't have it as good as me', and where the conversation involves bairns and grannies I think that's a hard position to take seriously.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FTJT View Post
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    I think everyone should pay more tax. Therein, I don't think there should be tax breaks for parents but prominent in what the increased haul funds there should be an expansion in key family services - increased child benefit, more nursery hours, serious funding for free summer/after school clubs, and I'd like to see children's social care and mental health services drowning in cash.

    I think the basic idea that the state should provide what people need and the market should provide what people want is a good one. 'Dependency' in my view tends to translate fairly well to 'poor people shouldn't have it as good as me', and where the conversation involves bairns and grannies I think that's a hard position to take seriously.
    No offence but if your translate things in such bizarrely distorted ways then you are not going to have a particularly good purchase on any of the issues at stake. The original architects of welfarism feared a dependency culture and that is exactly what has been created in a lot of places - I actually think cultivated to some extent. If you think people being steered into dependence on the state over self sufficiency is a good thing then you have a pretty bleak vision IMHO (and the orignal labour would have agreed with me.

    I think your formula about the state providing everything we need is remarkably reactionary as not having learned much from history, and a recipe for more state power as well as poor and expensive services. Governments purview as a provider of goods and services should surely be in providing only what cannot be done better by free enterprise?

    Finally why all these services for parents but not tax breaks - why is it better to prescribe services rather than provide parents the means to choose them? In any case my original point was not just about taxing parents less but taxing non parents more; far more. Peoples socialism can run out rapidly when they're asked to cough up.

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    resurrecting an old thread to add this article on Finland's experiment with a universal basic income

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...ome?CMP=twt_gu

    makes for fascinating reading and clearly captures some of the benefits associated with the idea
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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    resurrecting an old thread to add this article on Finland's experiment with a universal basic income

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...ome?CMP=twt_gu

    makes for fascinating reading and clearly captures some of the benefits associated with the idea
    It's been trialled a few times, to my knowledge, and is currently being trialled here in the Netherlands (Utrecht, I think).

    The problem is that both Finland and the Netherlands have far stronger economies than we do, and they're built very differently. Both nations prioritise a high-wage, high-tax, high service economy while Britain and Scotland is tied to low-wage, low-tax, low service priorities. Prices are generally higher, but a far higher percentage of the population are wealth generators - something that's at the root of this entire issue, when you think about it. In-work poverty is a particular scourge, because the government is effectively picking up the slack for low-paid work that they have the ability to legislate for (and refuse to).

    For me, while I generally support the idea of a basic income, I do accept that it's an upwards transfer of wealth in the same way that free university tuition is. When push comes to shove, I'd never be completely comfortable with a universal system that also puts money into the hands of those that don't need it. It makes the whole issue complicated and, what's worse, we already live in a political information environment where individual policies are deliberately shoved into a vacuum where they are robbed of their context and, therefore, given no real chance to actually work.

    I've said it before, but it bears repeating - this is the crux of why anyone who wants a decent economy should support independence. It's utterly impossible for Scotland to achieve one while parliament legislates on the behalf of English constituencies by default, and on behalf of those already rich by political will. It's also vital that any attempt to create progressive* policies are done from a position where you can influence all of the outcomes. The Scottish parliament, for example, shouldn't have (in my opinion) control over income tax; because it can't control any of the other political levers that are required to successfully run an economy, the ability to change a laughably small part of it is completely pointless.

    Earlier in the thread, it was put to contributors that a cultural view of welfare falls into two camps; those who think it should be a temporary safety net, and those who think it should be an embedded part of how an economy is run. To me, clearly, it's both. It's both because the two terms aren't mutually exclusive, depending on what you think should be a reasonable way of providing for your people. Look at it like this...

    I believe that a person who works full-time should be able to afford a basic life for him or herself. That means a reasonable rent, basic utilities (electricity, gas, Internet) and access to travel and healthcare. Under this view, I could apply a universal income in order to ensure that this is the case, in tandem with rent controls, a living wage and publicly owned utilities. The government's Living Wage is £14,400 per annum, and average rent in Scotland is £7,500 over the same time frame (52%, if you're interested). Let's say £5,000 to eat properly every year, plus another £240 for your Internet and phone; we may as well throw on £150 for your TV licence. Lastly for this round, we need to travel to work - let's give that an average of £1,800 a year for your commute.

    So, we're sat at almost £14,700 in costs for the year... Which is more than our full-time, living wage employee is earning. We haven't asked him to have a night out, save a few quid for his old age or maybe buy some clothes or furniture - and he certainly can't absorb a financial hit of any kind. That being said, however, let's just trim the fat of £300 a year and say that this fellow is merely making ends meet. The erudite will also note that there's a glaring omission in his outgoings, however.

    I've not directly taxed him a penny.

    That means he's generating no wealth, outside of the margins of corporation tax or VAT. What's important to note, however, is that he's also not COSTING anyone anything. His wages are effectively covering his life, and the government isn't having to step in and make sure he can get by. The snag, of course, is that if we want public services, then he needs to be contributing... And he's not. So, how do we fix that?

    The obvious answer is "tax him", but he's got no more money. He can't pay whatever rate we choose to apply. If we want to tax him, we need to put more money in his pocket. The problem with a universal income at this point is that it's absurd - give him £3,000 a year, only to take it back from him in tax? Nobody gains anything, and the government obviously loses because it needs to administrate both. We need to come up with a way of ensuring that he has more money, and handing it to him doesn't help.

    At the very heart of the entire debate about macro-economics in Britain, this is why more people are coming around to what are ultimately socialist conclusions; better wages, lower costs (rent particularly) and public ownership of utilities all put more money into our random guy's bank account, and the government doesn't have to cough up to make it happen. It's then free to tax an individual who has the means to pay. He's now a national wealth contributor, and the government isn't out of pocket by impoverishing someone it then has to pay for directly (housing benefit etc) or indirectly (healthcare provision, crime etc).

    I'm now getting on quite a bit, have jumped all over the place, and have only tangentially answered the question. But a universal income would need to be part of a joined up economic plan that was designed to fairly generate wealth. That's not what the British economy currently does, it's not what it'll ever do while neoliberalism is the dominant orthodoxy, and that's why our economies are so precariously teetering on the edge of complete collapse.

    *An ugly political term, in my opinion - we're at the stage where it's almost meaningless.

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    That's a very good post. Will try to get time to engage with it later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zellviren View Post
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    It's been trialled a few times, to my knowledge, and is currently being trialled here ..../....to fairly generate wealth. That's not what the British economy currently does, it's not what it'll ever do while neoliberalism is the dominant orthodoxy, and that's why our economies are so precariously teetering on the edge of complete collapse.
    much to commend your post, and i do agree with your point re the soco-economic context of UBI and its importance. I'm very much for a transformative/radical approach to changing that context and do agree Indy probably offers the best of hope of delivering the step change required. I'm slightly confused by your 'general support' for UBI married to your unease about giving it to those that dont need it, those two seem at odds with each other...? I think some of the figures you've chosen and some of the assumptions you've made illustrate the need for a holistic approach but arent in themselves an arguement against UBI apart from in very specific conditions and its the principle i am interested in - the application question is interesting but as you point out there are so many considerations at play i'm doubtful a thread like this could hope to address the complexities? is your suggestion that a shift towards more socialist policies (such as increased minimum wage, nationisation of utilities and rent caps) will do away with the need to re-examine welfare? me i'm not so sure, pretty sure that in itself has been tried already...
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    I think superficially there is something very attractive about a UBI. However, I don’t think it’s the silver bullet its being painted as, not the least because it still remains reliant on the goodwill of the dominant, always a slightly fragile situation.
    However, on the broader point. I agree with Gun regarding universalism. If it’s not there for everyone it’s obviously not universal but a self-constrained form of universalism. But this also goes back to another of my concerns about UBI (that you mention later in your post), that without radical change in the distribution of wealth it does little to fundamentally change things, beyond chucking a few quid at people. Herein lies one of the great problems, among many, with New Labour. They thought giving the poor a few extra quid without changing anything structurally was enough, but then the economy tanks and those few quid are quickly removed and we’re back to square one.
    So a living wage absolutely has to be tied to a living rent (and social security has to be enough to live off). There is very little if any solid evidence of social security leading to people not wanting to work, so the idea that making life on social security less comfortable (and temporary, with all of the ramifications of that) will ‘incentivise’ people to work is nonsense. The vast majority of people in society at all levels want to work, for financial and other reasons. So we don’t incentivise work by plunging people into poverty (also reminds me of the old slogan ‘to make the rich work harder you pay them more, to make the poor work harder you pay them less).
    And of course I am writing this the day of yet more revelations of the mega wealthy in this country hoarding their wealth and avoiding taxes. A better example of why we need radical change it would be hard to find. ‘we’ pay huge amounts both directly and indirectly to encourage the mega wealthy to be here and they then spend time and money trying to find new ways of avoiding contributing to that society. All the nonsense written about migrants and the poor not integrating or contributing to society and we have yet again the wealthiest setting themselves aside from society, creating their own rules about their contribution and we pay them only periodic heed.

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    So I'm going to get 15k off the state and then it's going to be taxed off me? Can't see the point, really.
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    So I'm going to get 15k off the state and then it's going to be taxed off me? Can't see the point, really.
    So I continue to pay 40% tax on my income while Apple, Google, Starbucks just have to pay a fraction of that percenrage?

    Can't see the point really...
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    Quote Originally Posted by HaarlemShuffler View Post
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    So I continue to pay 40% tax on my income while Apple, Google, Starbucks just have to pay a fraction of that percenrage?

    Can't see the point really...
    I don't see what those two situations have in common. In one the state is providing a sum of money to everybody that it will then - presumably - immediately remove again from most of them. In the other some companies are not paying tax. Neither seems particularly desirable, but beyond that I can't see how they are related?
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    So I'm going to get 15k off the state and then it's going to be taxed off me? Can't see the point, really.
    they are taking the money of you (and others) already dude....the OP mooted a cost neutral model in an effort to separate principle from cost. By paying tax you 'purchase' a whole raft of services one of which would be a UBI no matter what your circumstance. Time we considered not what the benefit or otherwise would be at the individual level but what benefit might be realised at a societal level?

    edit - meant to quote henry not harleem
    Last edited by gun ainm; 08-11-17 at 17:31.
    "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 Zellviren View Post
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    It's been trialled a few times, to my knowledge, and is currently being trialled here in the Netherlands (Utrecht, I think).

    The problem is that both Finland and the Netherlands have far stronger economies than we do, and they're built very differently. Both nations prioritise a high-wage, high-tax, high service economy while Britain and Scotland is tied to low-wage, low-tax, low service priorities. Prices are generally higher, but a far higher percentage of the population are wealth generators - something that's at the root of this entire issue, when you think about it. In-work poverty is a particular scourge, because the government is effectively picking up the slack for low-paid work that they have the ability to legislate for (and refuse to).
    I'd be interested in seeing the criteria by which you judge the Finnish economy "far stronger" than the UK's. Their GDPs p/c are about the same, UK wages are slightly higher, and their sectoral split is similar. Finland just taxes people a lot more.
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    I'm very much for a transformative/radical approach to changing that context and do agree Indy probably offers the best of hope of delivering the step change required.
    It's not the best hope, bud; it's the only hope. Until Scotland (along with Wales and Northern Ireland) can make meaningful economic decisions, away from an English parliament and its priorities on English constituents, its economic wiggle room will never be more than meaningless window-dressing that doesn't allow the Scottish government to do much of anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    I'm slightly confused by your 'general support' for UBI married to your unease about giving it to those that dont need it, those two seem at odds with each other...? I think some of the figures you've chosen and some of the assumptions you've made illustrate the need for a holistic approach but arent in themselves an arguement against UBI apart from in very specific conditions and its the principle i am interested in - the application question is interesting but as you point out there are so many considerations at play i'm doubtful a thread like this could hope to address the complexities? is your suggestion that a shift towards more socialist policies (such as increased minimum wage, nationisation of utilities and rent caps) will do away with the need to re-examine welfare? me i'm not so sure, pretty sure that in itself has been tried already...
    I support the idea of a Basic Universal Income in general, but with caveats - and one of those caveats is who qualifies. I suppose the word "universal" is why what I'm saying appears contradictory!

    When push comes to shove, we already know that there aren't enough jobs in Britain for everyone who is available to work. We also know that a great many full-time jobs don't pay enough to see people able to live independently. What that means is that when you get down to the nuts and bolts, some people are going to need welfare payments to get by. And that number is going to increase as jobs become ever more automated, and the private sector continues to try losing workers as much as possible.

    In the end, we can only conclude that the economic model we're using can't work unless "welfare" is culturally rewired in our understanding. Sadly, with print and broadcast media the way it currently is, that cultural view won't shift - we'll continue to see those who can't work hounded and named as feckless nobodies that are stealing cash from the mouths of babes.

    Socialism is an obvious solution to some of these problems, and its perhaps no coincidence that people are more equality minded on the Internet where everyone has access to the same information. The Internet is, ultimately, a project in equality... Warts and all. And I clearly support nationalised services or rent controls, but I've always believed the minimum wage is something of a red herring. For someone on the left, like me, that'll strike some as a fundamentally bizarre thing to say. But if we rebuild our economy from the ground up, using a Basic Income that's designed to increase social mobility anyway (along with various other things we've mentioned), suddenly a floor with regard to wages can become unnecessary.

    As I've said on independence threads when the usual suspects start crying "BUT WHAT WOULD SCOTLAND'S ECONOMY LOOK LIKE EXACTLY???!!!!!11!!!????", it all depends on what you want your economy to do and how you want it to provide for everyone that participates in it.

    This is a good example:

    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    So I'm going to get 15k off the state and then it's going to be taxed off me? Can't see the point, really.
    Exactly. It seems pointless to me and, in fact, is costly to administrate when compared to alternatives. Then again, simply raising the floor of income tax makes it harder for those on low incomes to generate wealth; something they're technically doing when they earn past £11,000 (lower in the case of National Insurance).

    Quote Originally Posted by HaarlemShuffler View Post
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    So I continue to pay 40% tax on my income while Apple, Google, Starbucks just have to pay a fraction of that percenrage?

    Can't see the point really...
    Corporation tax is another thing that needs properly reviewed. It's supposed to be a 20% tax on profits, but it's been made awfully easy for businesses to call their profits something else and, thus, pay a lot less than they should be. The real problem is that changing it can be needlessly punitive on small businesses, which is what we presumably want to encourage.

    Honestly, I've yet to see a good argument against scaling corporation tax the way income tax is scaled. But that's perhaps a topic for another thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    they are taking the money of you (and others) already dude....the OP mooted a cost neutral model in an effort to separate principle from cost. By paying tax you 'purchase' a whole raft of services one of which would be a UBI no matter what your circumstance. Time we considered not what the benefit or otherwise would be at the individual level but what benefit might be realised at a societal level?

    edit - meant to quote henry not harleem
    I don't understand, sorry. You're suggesting I will 'purchase' a UBI from them? Isn't that just another way of saying what I said, that they will give me money which I will immediately give back? What are the benefits at a societal level?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Zellviren View Post
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    Exactly. It seems pointless to me and, in fact, is costly to administrate when compared to alternatives. Then again, simply raising the floor of income tax makes it harder for those on low incomes to generate wealth; something they're technically doing when they earn past £11,000 (lower in the case of National Insurance).
    What do you mean by wealth? Do you mean tax revenue for the state? People generate that before 11k through indirect taxation.
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zellviren View Post
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    It's not the best hope, bud; it's the only hope. Until Scotland (along with Wales and Northern Ireland) can make meaningful economic decisions, away from an English parliament and its priorities on English constituents, its economic wiggle room will never be more than meaningless window-dressing that doesn't allow the Scottish government to do much of anything.
    my worry would be indy wouldn't be the transformative event we both seem to aspire to - I'm hopeful that it would be (at least in part) but a yes vote next time far from secures it.


    I support the idea of a Basic Universal Income in general, but with caveats - and one of those caveats is who qualifies. I suppose the word "universal" is why what I'm saying appears contradictory!,,,.

    Honestly, I've yet to see a good argument against scaling corporation tax the way income tax is scaled. But that's perhaps a topic for another thread.
    ok thanks I now better understand your point of view and find myself in agreement n a number of points, rather than go through those i'll just point out my quibbles

    UBI as proposed in OP is not more expensive than our current alternative to social security - its cost neutral

    income tax, corporation tax etc are all worthy of analysis however unless we do 're-wire' welfare specifically I think it will continue to be a trap for its recipients (even if their needs are more properly identified and addressed).

    on the internet yes its a project in equality but a threatened one summed up well by this quote - Information is power but like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves... Those with access to these resources... have a duty to share it with the world (freely).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    I don't understand, sorry. You're suggesting I will 'purchase' a UBI from them? Isn't that just another way of saying what I said, that they will give me money which I will immediately give back? What are the benefits at a societal level?
    seriously - have you read any of the above? in summary it does away with many of the negative aspects associated with the current welfare model -
    "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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    seriously - have you read any of the above? in summary it does away with many of the negative aspects associated with the current welfare model -
    There seem to be three basic benefits mentioned.

    1 That it removes the need for means testing.
    I don't believe this because I don't believe it will be cost neutral. How could it not expand the welfare bill to give everyone welfare? And if it is to be taxed back off me how will they know about me without means-testing me?

    2 That it will incentivise people to work by making sure they get more money the more they work
    This is not a fashionable idea when mooted by the right. We're told that widening the difference in incomes between people in and out of work is ineffective when applied by Tories but not when Common Weal are suggesting it?

    3 That people in precarious work will feel reassured
    It's not clear to me how this is a benefit of UBI over a well-functioning, traditional welfare system.
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    There seem to be three basic benefits mentioned.

    1 That it removes the need for means testing.
    I don't believe this because I don't believe it will be cost neutral. How could it not expand the welfare bill to give everyone welfare? And if it is to be taxed back off me how will they know about me without means-testing me?

    2 That it will incentivise people to work by making sure they get more money the more they work
    This is not a fashionable idea when mooted by the right. We're told that widening the difference in incomes between people in and out of work is ineffective when applied by Tories but not when Common Weal are suggesting it?

    3 That people in precarious work will feel reassured
    It's not clear to me how this is a benefit of UBI over a well-functioning, traditional welfare system.
    its the centre right that are trialing UBI in Finland - i am not obsessing over leftist rightist ideas....

    calculation done by an other

    abolishing tax free incomes, currently £11k in the UK, and using BI instead led me to do a quick ‘back of the envelope’ calculation of my own (please forgive the rounding!) assuming a person, of age 25, worked, at the current ‘minimum wage’ of £7.50/hour, 33 hours a week, earning £12k a year (before tax), and paid 20% tax on their income, they would pay £2400 in tax for a total earned income of £9600. With BI set at £600/month (£7200/year) that person would in total have an income of £16,800. (of which £2,400 would be the equivalent of a tax rebate or tax free earnings under the current system, but with zero paperwork). Compare this to the current situation, where the same person would earn £11,000 tax free, and pay £200 tax a year, giving a total income of £11,800, a full £5,000 less than under BI.
    This effectively means that everyone earning under £36,000 will have their income topped up by BI, which can only be a good thing.

    and to save time here is a list of benefits from a campaigning website

    1) Basic Income will help us rethink how & why we work
    A basic income can help you do other work and reconsider old choices: It will enable you to retrain, safe in the knowledge that you’ll have enough money to maintain a decent standard of living while you do. It will therefore help each of us to decide what it is we truly want to do.

    2) Basic Income will contribute to better working conditions
    With the insurance of having unconditional basic income as a safety net, workers can challenge their employers if they find their conditions of work unfair or degrading.

    3) Basic Income will downsize bureaucracy
    Because a basic income scheme is one of the most simple tax / benefits models, it will reduce all the bureaucracy surrounding the welfare state thus making it less complex and costly, while being fairer and more emancipatory.

    4) Basic income will make benefit fraud obsolete
    As an extension of (3), benefit fraud will vanish as a possibility because no one needs to commit fraud to get a basic income: it is granted automatically. Moreover, an unconditional basic income will fix the threshold and poverty trap effects induced by the current means-tested schemes.

    5) Basic income will help reducing inequalities
    A basic income is also a means for sharing out the wealth produced by a society to all people thereby reducing the growing inequalities across the world.

    6) It will provide a more secure and substantial safety net for all people
    Most existing means-tested anti-poverty schemes exclude people because of their complexity, or because people don’t even know how to apply or whether they qualify. With a basic income, people currently excluded from benefit allowances will automatically have their rights guaranteed.

    7) Basic Income will contribute to less working hours and better distribution of jobs
    With a basic income, people will have the option to reduce their working hours without sacrificing their income. They will therefore be able to spend more time doing other things they find meaningful. At the macroeconomic level, this will induce a better distribution of jobs because people reducing their hours will increase the jobs opportunities for those currently excluded from the labor market.

    8) Basic Income will reward unpaid contributions
    A huge number of unpaid activities are currently not recognized as economic contributions. Yet, our economy increasingly relies on these free contributions (think about wikipedia as well as the work parents do). A Basic Income would recognise and reward theses activities.

    9) Basic Income will strengthen our Democracy
    With a minimum level of security guaranteed to all citizens and less time in work or worrying about work, innovation in political, social, economic and technological terms would be a made more lively part of everyday life and its concerns.

    10) Basic Income is a fair redistribution of technological advancement
    Thanks to massive advancements in our technological and productive capacities the world of work is changing. Yet most of our wealth and technology is as a consequence of our ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’: We are wealthier not as a result of our own efforts and merits but those of our ancestors. Basic income is a way to civilize and redistribute the advantages of that on-going advancement.

    and one more….
    11) Basic Income will end extreme financial poverty
    Because we live in a world where we have the means (and one hopes, the will) to end the kinds of suffering we see as a supposedly constant feature of our surroundings. Basic income is a way to join together the means and the 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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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    What do you mean by wealth? Do you mean tax revenue for the state? People generate that before 11k through indirect taxation.
    In the most general terms, yes; a wealth creator is someone who generates more tax revenue than they receive in public spending. You're absolutely right that indirect taxation, VAT being the obvious example, still lets them contribute. But I'd imagine that someone trying to live on £11,000 PA will require state assistance of some kind, assuming they want to live on their own (given that the minimum wage earns roughly £14,000 to £15,000 and we know you can't live on it).

    I think, ultimately, this is why increased wages are so popular. They mean less state dependence, and more income liable for tax (as well as the passive taxation you mentioned). It puts the impetus on wage payers rather than government, which is why neoliberal Britain or America don't go for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    my worry would be indy wouldn't be the transformative event we both seem to aspire to - I'm hopeful that it would be (at least in part) but a yes vote next time far from secures it.
    That's obviously a fair concern, but it's not really my point.

    What I'm saying is that Scotland simply cannot restructure its economy prior to independence. It hasn't the power to do so, because it controls next to none of the economic levers required. Any argument to the contrary is ignorant of the basic facts about how Scotland is financed.

    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    UBI as proposed in OP is not more expensive than our current alternative to social security - its cost neutral

    income tax, corporation tax etc are all worthy of analysis however unless we do 're-wire' welfare specifically I think it will continue to be a trap for its recipients (even if their needs are more properly identified and addressed).
    That's a fair shout. I agree. But then, a Universal Income could only be "cost neutral" if we rebuilt an economy that was designed to support it.

    Does that sound a little chicken and egg? Maybe.

    As for the benefit discussion:

    To me, traditional welfare both promotes and entrenches the benefit trap (when increased earning through work doesn't increase earning overall) - Universal Income doesn't. It, in fact, removes it entirely. Work should pay - I think we all agree to that, whether we're hardcore right or hardcore left. But for too many supported by welfare at the moment, work doesn't pay... So why work?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gun ainm View Post
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    its the centre right that are trialing UBI in Finland - i am not obsessing over leftist rightist ideas....

    calculation done by an other

    abolishing tax free incomes, currently £11k in the UK, and using BI instead led me to do a quick ‘back of the envelope’ calculation of my own (please forgive the rounding!) assuming a person, of age 25, worked, at the current ‘minimum wage’ of £7.50/hour, 33 hours a week, earning £12k a year (before tax), and paid 20% tax on their income, they would pay £2400 in tax for a total earned income of £9600. With BI set at £600/month (£7200/year) that person would in total have an income of £16,800. (of which £2,400 would be the equivalent of a tax rebate or tax free earnings under the current system, but with zero paperwork). Compare this to the current situation, where the same person would earn £11,000 tax free, and pay £200 tax a year, giving a total income of £11,800, a full £5,000 less than under BI.
    This effectively means that everyone earning under £36,000 will have their income topped up by BI, which can only be a good thing.
    Sorry, I don't understand what this calculation is supposed to show

    and to save time here is a list of benefits from a campaigning website
    How do any of those address my point? Almost all of them could be achieved without the universal aspect - they just read like a list of 'why it would be nice if benefits were higher'. And as I say, I don't see how there will be no means testing at all because how will it be paid for otherwise? The situation these advantages describe simply can't cost the same as what we have now, can it?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Zellviren View Post
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    In the most general terms, yes; a wealth creator is someone who generates more tax revenue than they receive in public spending. You're absolutely right that indirect taxation, VAT being the obvious example, still lets them contribute. But I'd imagine that someone trying to live on £11,000 PA will require state assistance of some kind, assuming they want to live on their own (given that the minimum wage earns roughly £14,000 to £15,000 and we know you can't live on it).

    I think, ultimately, this is why increased wages are so popular. They mean less state dependence, and more income liable for tax (as well as the passive taxation you mentioned). It puts the impetus on wage payers rather than government, which is why neoliberal Britain or America don't go for it.
    Higher wages are likely to be popular. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by neoliberal here though. Upward wage pressure has been strongly resisted in Germany, for example, and as I wrote earlier one of your other examples - Finland - has similar relative wages to the UK. Their economies might tax somewhat (or quite a bit) more - thus lowering effective wages - but they aren't in any meaningful way run along different economic lines than the UK, which is why I'm puzzled by your characterisation of them. And Germany in fact inarguably uses it's domination of the EU's fiscal framework in order to enrich itself at the expense of others which looks quite neoliberal to these eyes.

    Broadly I'm in agreement though. I think it's absurd that we have to subsidise people who work and that it's possible to have a full-time job and effectively live in something approaching poverty.

    That's obviously a fair concern, but it's not really my point.

    What I'm saying is that Scotland simply cannot restructure its economy prior to independence. It hasn't the power to do so, because it controls next to none of the economic levers required. Any argument to the contrary is ignorant of the basic facts about how Scotland is financed.
    If for argument's sake Scotland became independent and ten years later the Shetland Islands mounted this argument but with Shetland for Scotland and Edinburgh for Westminster, would you support them if they tried to secede?
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    I'm not sure I understand what you mean by neoliberal here though.
    In most cases, if I use the term neoliberal, I'm talking about the stripping away of financial or trade regulations that protect those lower down the wealth ladder. The neoliberal argument about competition has been well and truly busted, as people are now realising that it's essentially a poker game where those with all the chips can bully those without so many out of the game at laughably low risk to themselves.

    Ultimately, this is why capitalism has failed. You can't directly or indirectly shove all your wealth up the way, and not tax wealth.

    It's also why, in this case, I wouldn't describe Germany or Finland as neoliberal. Neither are looking to remove regulations to allow the predatory behaviour we see in Britain or America; and, in fact, the Germans largely write European regulation. The reason they've done so well is the increased export market they've taken advantage of in northern Europe.

    I don't like using the Netherlands as an example, given that I live here, because a lot of what it does is difficult for British people to properly get a grip of. I, for example, was pointing out that I might support private health insurance (you can imagine how that went down), but there are hugely different ways of doing that. The Netherlands is a good example, America... Not so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    Broadly I'm in agreement though. I think it's absurd that we have to subsidise people who work and that it's possible to have a full-time job and effectively live in something approaching poverty.
    You can imagine how I felt, but I once agreed with Julia Hartley-Brewer - an argument on a late-night BBC politics show with the loathsome Andrew Neil was talking about working tax credits, and the Labour member on the couch was pretending she was horrified that they were being removed. The point was that they weren't technically a benefit, because they were to cover for extremely low wages, and so the minimum wage should be increased.

    Hartley-Brewer's argument was, ultimately, we can't say that because we don't know if it's true. If a person is working part-time, for example, they could be on well above the national living wage, but not doing enough hours to get by - as such, should government pay the shortfall when the person in receipt is short because they don't work enough?

    What's "enough"?

    This is why I find it amusing when people who worry about Scotland's economy DON'T support independence. It's the only way Scotland can ever be in control of its economy, and ask these questions on behalf of Scots. We already have overwhelming observable evidence to prove that Westminster isn't going to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    If for argument's sake Scotland became independent and ten years later the Shetland Islands mounted this argument but with Shetland for Scotland and Edinburgh for Westminster, would you support them if they tried to secede?
    Of course.

    If the two areas have politically and culturally diverged as much as Scotland and Britain have, and Shetland was being overruled democratically by a government it didn't vote for and can't hold to account, I would of course support their view. It's the only logically consistent one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zellviren View Post
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    In most cases, if I use the term neoliberal, I'm talking about the stripping away of financial or trade regulations that protect those lower down the wealth ladder. The neoliberal argument about competition has been well and truly busted, as people are now realising that it's essentially a poker game where those with all the chips can bully those without so many out of the game at laughably low risk to themselves.

    Ultimately, this is why capitalism has failed. You can't directly or indirectly shove all your wealth up the way, and not tax wealth.

    It's also why, in this case, I wouldn't describe Germany or Finland as neoliberal. Neither are looking to remove regulations to allow the predatory behaviour we see in Britain or America; and, in fact, the Germans largely write European regulation. The reason they've done so well is the increased export market they've taken advantage of in northern Europe.
    But Europe, as led by Germany, is an entirely neo-liberal project. Germany dominates the EU's fiscal system (that as you say it largely creates itself) in order to rig the game in its favour and to suit its own economy. You're right that a market has been created for German exports, but through deregulation and notably to the expense and detriment both of Southern Eurozoners and - even more cruelly - those just outside the borders.

    That's been achieved literally through stripping away financial and trade regulations, and through using its status, its chips as you put it, to dominate others.

    You can imagine how I felt, but I once agreed with Julia Hartley-Brewer - an argument on a late-night BBC politics show with the loathsome Andrew Neil was talking about working tax credits, and the Labour member on the couch was pretending she was horrified that they were being removed. The point was that they weren't technically a benefit, because they were to cover for extremely low wages, and so the minimum wage should be increased.

    Hartley-Brewer's argument was, ultimately, we can't say that because we don't know if it's true. If a person is working part-time, for example, they could be on well above the national living wage, but not doing enough hours to get by - as such, should government pay the shortfall when the person in receipt is short because they don't work enough?

    What's "enough"?
    It's a tricky problem, and it's only going to get worse I suppose!


    Of course.

    If the two areas have politically and culturally diverged as much as Scotland and Britain have, and Shetland was being overruled democratically by a government it didn't vote for and can't hold to account, I would of course support their view. It's the only logically consistent one.
    Welcome to the atomised world, I guess. As you know I disagree with you, because I don't think people are all that different, really, or at least not in the way countries slice them up. But hey ho.
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    But Europe, as led by Germany, is an entirely neo-liberal project.
    My suspicion is that we're merely looking at this through a different lens. I could, for example, agree that Europe is a neoliberal project; and we know that it is, with perhaps the biggest indication of that coming via the Greek crisis. But the regulation that was stripped away was largely old and outdated regulations, with new ones written... Largely to the benefit of northern Europe (Germany in particular).

    And most European nations, Germany included, tax wealth. The UK and US are the two anomalies here and, as such, their economies are nowhere near as strong as northern European economies. Debt is still rising in the UK, there's still a lot of the deficit to eradicate before that changes, and the family silver has already largely been sold.

    So... What next? Shifting more of the tax burden onto the poor or lower middle classes isn't going to cut it.

    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    As you know I disagree with you, because I don't think people are all that different, really, or at least not in the way countries slice them up. But hey ho.
    If you're saying what I think you're saying, then you're making no difference between civic and ethnic nationalism - this is a error on your part, rather than merely a disagreement, because one can support one type and not the other.

    Scottish independence, and its proponents, aren't trying to slice people up along nationalist lines; we know this, because it's a movement that cares little for where you were born and promotes a franchise about where you live. Hence, EU nationals were allowed to vote in the Scottish referendum. The nationalism of Brexit was the opposite - the entire campaign was wholly ethnic, with some of its figureheads now speaking at well-known far-right rallies around the world (Farage, in particular). As we both know, EU nationals were not allowed to vote.

    Anyone who fails to distinguish between these things is simply being ignorant.

    Be it willful or accidental, makes no matter.

    It's just ignorant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    Sorry, I don't understand what this calculation is supposed to show
    its an illustration of how for those low earners UBI is NOT equal to a tax break - it is much more significant in terms of total income.

    How do any of those address my point? Almost all of them could be achieved without the universal aspect - they just read like a list of 'why it would be nice if benefits were higher'. And as I say, I don't see how there will be no means testing at all because how will it be paid for otherwise? The situation these advantages describe simply can't cost the same as what we have now, can it?
    really - lets take the first one - help us rethink how & why we work - UBI could enable those currently employed to better balance care, education, health etc with employment. imo it would liberate people from the employment trap and likely make for a better society. the current welfare model doesn't do this, so to change in this manner you need radical reform.

    the affordability argument isn't an argument against the principle of UBI - it would apply only to the rate at which UBI was set. As mentioned at the outset we have a calculation from CW that sets out what the rate would be if we were to be cost neutral. doesn't seem like you believe them but I have yet to see anyone challenge the report's figures (not just here I mean generally.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Zellviren View Post
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    To me, traditional welfare both promotes and entrenches the benefit trap (when increased earning through work doesn't increase earning overall) - Universal Income doesn't. It, in fact, removes it entirely. Work should pay - I think we all agree to that, whether we're hardcore right or hardcore left. But for too many supported by welfare at the moment, work doesn't pay... So why work?
    that's the key point - how do we reform welfare to make work pay and provide a safety net without creating/reinforcing class distinctions and creating a bureaucratic machine whose job it is to identify the worthy and unworthy?

    UBI one option that on the basis of the CW report addresses many of the current issues. I'm open to alternatives. I'm uncertain whether the whole economy does require re-structuring in the way you suggest for it to work (I am in favour of tax reform which in general should be more progressive imo) but I think we're probably agreed in so far as if we wanted to move UBI in Scotland past the theoretical we would need indy to happen first.
    "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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    its an illustration of how for those low earners UBI is NOT equal to a tax break - it is much more significant in terms of total income.
    Ah ok, gotcha. That makes sense.



    really - lets take the first one - help us rethink how & why we work - UBI could enable those currently employed to better balance care, education, health etc with employment. imo it would liberate people from the employment trap and likely make for a better society. the current welfare model doesn't do this, so to change in this manner you need radical reform.
    Totally agree with that. My problem is with the practicalities of it.
    the affordability argument isn't an argument against the principle of UBI - it would apply only to the rate at which UBI was set. As mentioned at the outset we have a calculation from CW that sets out what the rate would be if we were to be cost neutral. doesn't seem like you believe them but I have yet to see anyone challenge the report's figures (not just here I mean generally.
    But how could the benefits that you describe above ever come from a 'cost neutral' model? It's absolutely impossible to raise payments in the manner you describe for the same welfare bill we pay now.

    I'm not saying the money couldn't be found. I'm just saying that there's no way as a society you could enjoy all those things you describe without massively increasing spending. Surely that's obvious?
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zellviren View Post
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    My suspicion is that we're merely looking at this through a different lens. I could, for example, agree that Europe is a neoliberal project; and we know that it is, with perhaps the biggest indication of that coming via the Greek crisis. But the regulation that was stripped away was largely old and outdated regulations, with new ones written... Largely to the benefit of northern Europe (Germany in particular).

    And most European nations, Germany included, tax wealth. The UK and US are the two anomalies here and, as such, their economies are nowhere near as strong as northern European economies. Debt is still rising in the UK, there's still a lot of the deficit to eradicate before that changes, and the family silver has already largely been sold.
    The more I discuss things with you, the more I get the feeling that your grasp on the facts is completely at mercy to your desire for how you want things to be. Germany doesn't tax wealth in any meaningful way, so you'll have to look elsewhere for the roots of its apparent economic strength. And yet quite a lot of US states do tax wealth. Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands have significantly bigger private debt than the UK, to the extent that they are all in the top five worst.

    Wages are static in Germany, even in an economy that you acknowledge is rigged by neo-liberal fiscal domination of the EU. Where the regulation you describe does exist, it does so to facilitate this cheating, to the huge detriment of Southern Europe and those outside EU borders.

    So I don't understand why you think these countries are that different. They aren't run on some radical new lines, in general they just tax more and spend more, and have a better balance of workers' rights. How that would differ from the UK envisaged by Jeremy Corbyn I'd love to know.

    So... What next? Shifting more of the tax burden onto the poor or lower middle classes isn't going to cut it.
    What would you do? What would Germany do? I'd be interested in how you think we could re-tool away from neo-liberalism in this country.

    If you're saying what I think you're saying, then you're making no difference between civic and ethnic nationalism - this is a error on your part, rather than merely a disagreement, because one can support one type and not the other.

    Scottish independence, and its proponents, aren't trying to slice people up along nationalist lines; we know this, because it's a movement that cares little for where you were born and promotes a franchise about where you live. Hence, EU nationals were allowed to vote in the Scottish referendum. The nationalism of Brexit was the opposite - the entire campaign was wholly ethnic, with some of its figureheads now speaking at well-known far-right rallies around the world (Farage, in particular). As we both know, EU nationals were not allowed to vote.

    Anyone who fails to distinguish between these things is simply being ignorant.

    Be it willful or accidental, makes no matter.

    It's just ignorant.
    What you are saying makes no logical sense when compared to your previous argument. You contend that Scotland needs an independent government in order to express the will of the Scottish people, which is apparently different to the priorities of people elsewhere. And yet you now seem to say that those priorities can be shared by anyone anywhere. Or do one's opinions magically change when one crosses the Tweed?

    And that's leaving aside the fact that if you were right, and people in Scotland did hold very distinctively different views, then by definition Yes would have won. Or the fact that you also routinely seem to think of 'English' people as monolithic in their thinking, which is the bedrock of ethnic nationalism, at least in reverse.
    so what do I know

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