Monday, 2 December 2013

George Osborne says we can't afford the welfare state. Here are some reasons why.

George Osborne says we can't afford the welfare state. Of course we can't afford it. £70bn pa in tax avoidance, tax cuts ... Someone has to pay for all that and the 147% pa profit made by the train companies. Fire sales of public assets. All those extra billionaires with tastes to match: £20K cocktails (£35,000 at Movida), £330K rounds of drinks, £49mn apartments planned at Battersea Power Station making residents of No 1 Hyde Park look like paupers, £32mn Ferraris, £6mn bras (see pic above), diamond encrusted everything. Not to mention the odd war (check out those politicians' arms portfolios).

According to The Sunday Times Rich List in 2010, after a short dip in the collective wealth of the top one thousand weathiest Brits in 2008, it went up by a third in one year, 30 per cent in 2009 in the wake of the economic crisis. That's over £77bn up to £333.5bn, the biggest annual increase in the 22-year history of The Sunday Times rich list. Worldwide, the 358 people with assets of more than $1bn were worth more than the combined annual income of 45 per cent of the world's population.

There were 447 billonaires in January 2013. The world's richest hundred people could end world hunger now.

Randeep Ramesh wrote in the Guardian in 2011:
"In Britain, a dramatic rise in inequality has been fuelled by the creation of a super-rich class. The (national wealth) share of the top 1% of income earners increased from 7(.01)% in 1970 to 14(.3)% in 2005. ... Just prior to the global recession, the OECD says the top 0.1% of highest earners – accounted for a remarkable 5% of total pre-tax income, a level of wealth-hoarding not seen since the second world war."

Michael Meacher wrote in his open letter to the press in 2012:
" ... the richest 1,000 people make up only 0.003% of the population and yet they have made £155bn extra in the past three years, in the depths of the recession. If they paid off the entire deficit they'd still have £30bn with which to console themselves. Their combined wealth is the highest in history: 1,000 individuals own £413bn, more than a third of Britain's GDP. Their increase in wealth has been £315bn over the past 15 years. Capital gains tax on this at the current 28% rate would yield £88bn, that's 70% of the entire deficit. And yet it's the poorest and weakest who are paying: 77% of the budget deficit is being recouped by public spending and benefit cuts. Only 23% comes from tax increases, and half of that is from VAT which we all pay and hits the poorest hardest. None of the tax increases are specifically aimed at the super-rich."

Not to mention that the Coalition government has borrowed more in three years than Labour did in 13: £430.072 billion compared to £429.975bn.

C'mon, Tamara Ecclestone has to pay for her half a million quid shelf of Birkin bags somehow.

Listen to The Super Rich with Aditya Chakrabortty, Kate Belgrave and Charles Shaar Murray on Madam Miaow's Culture Lounge, Resonance 104.4FM.

John Kampfner on the history of the super rich.

From Vice magazine: The Seven Reasons Why Super Rich British Tax Dodgers Don't End Up in Jail.
A 2014 report by the Equality Trust revealed that the poorest 10 percent of British households pay eight percent more of their income in all taxes than the richest; 43 percent compared to 35 percent. And that's before tax avoidance schemes have been taken into account. What the rich fail to put in, the rest of the country must cover in taxes like income tax and VAT.

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