Tuesday, 5 July 2011

This is one battle we should lose

We baby boomers, that is. We who have enjoyed free higher education, sustained high standards of living, the rewards of daft house-price inflation, full employment and all the rewards of a liberal social democratic post-war roll. Now, as John Redwood points out, we want to use our political muscle to get the State to pay for our care in old age so we can pass on our wealth intact to our children. The postman, the school cleaner, the Polish fruit-picker and the working young couple trapped in rented accommodation must pay taxes so our kids can keep their inheritance intact.  


I'm sorry, but this stinks. Unlike Socialists who believe in equality of outcome, I believe only in equality of opportunity - a 'fair go' in antipodean terms. Call it equity. And it's not just intragenerational equity that's important but intergenerational equity. For my generation to take from the younguns for our own old-age care when we have wealth intact is simply not equitable. If I can't find extended family members to embrace my well-being in my decrepitude, then I must dig into my capital for it. And despite our political clout, this is one battle that my generation would be well advised to lose. 

18 comments:

Robert said...

I would not disagree with your comments save for one thing. The state stole my pension and so will have to pay for my penuary in old age.

Blue Eyes said...

Fuck 'em. At the first sign of being unable to look after myself I am going to burn all my money and then top myself.

SimonF said...

Speaking as one of those baby boomers I also agree.

I saw an interesting idea to limit our electoral power recently, give those under 30 2 votes. Not sure about the practicality but it would go some way to redressing the problem.

Just one thought, but how do you get round the moral hazard problem? Don't save and party whilst young and the state looks after you in old age; go without and see your savings disappear whilst those who didn't save get free care? Not that being cared for by the state is anything to aspire to.

strawbrick said...

Some 45 years ago the Economics Lecturer at the erstwhile Brixton School of Building (one of the lamented Monotechnics, in this case all aspects of construction) told us 18 year olds that we had a problem. People were living longer, the birth rate was falling, the state pension was funded on a pay-as-you go basis with current wage earners paying the pensions of current pensioners. In short, more money would have to be paid to more pensioners for longer, but by fewer workers. Thus, to balance the books, we, the 18 year olds, would probably have to work to the age of 70.
Of course, he did not envisage the pensions tax raid by Brown, or the changes in the workplace, but he was right.
So, if a humble Monotechnic lecturer could see the future, how did we still get into this mess 45 years later?

Slithy Tove said...

You're absolutely right, Raedwald; we've transferred wealth from future generations and successive governments have encouraged it because the Great British Public will ignore any amount of bad news as long as it feels its house is going up in value.

It's insane, it's immoral, and selling the house (or arranging equity release) to pay for at least a proportion of care costs is the very least that should be required. If the heirs feel cheated, let 'em pay so the house doesn't need to be sold.

Raedwald said...

.... or let the heirs care for us themselves in exchange for getting the house?

Mr Ecks said...

No problem--let the state refund all the money it has stolen over the past 50 years to provide pensions, care etc--that they now say they can't afford.

Elby the Beserk said...

In my case, as far as I am concerned, the vast tax imposed on my pension at source by Brown (and of course, the pension is then taxed again when I draw on it, and taxed again when I spend it, making an effective taxation rate of c80%) has paid for my old age. And a few others as well.

Demetrius said...

As a Pre Baby Boomer, I fathered some of them, and home owner I declare an interest. Strawbrick above is correct. This one has been coming a long while and was foreseen but little or nothing done. Now a crisis is developing and the answer as ever is for the tax payer to carry the cost while the better off keep their wealth. Just to win a few votes in a few marginal constituencies.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Robert's got it right.

All you comments about equity and fairness are reasonable and defensible, but the fact remains - the State stole the money, and promised to look after us.

Now it turns out they wasted all our money on electoral bribes and counter-productive welfare and guess what - we get to pay all over again.

A plague on all their houses.

Anonymous said...

No, can't agree on this one. It was me and my ilk that payed through the nose for taxes. It was the government that blew it all on illegal wars and miriads of other fatuous multi-billion pound schemes. Radders, in your own words, you condemn the likes of Crapita and Crapco, all bilking the tax payer via their mates in the government. Tens of billions and nothing to show for it.

And then there is the public sector and in particular the "town hall rich list" who have stuffed their mouths with tax-payer gold.

If we only cut the overseas aid budget to half of its current amount, we would have enough to afford this care for the elderly. Charity begins at home. And my home was paid for out of my net income and for most years I paid north of £30k in taxes per annum.

Moreover, why should we hand out billions to countries like India and China who have their own nuclear power; weapons and a space program? And then again, why should we hand money over to despotic regimes who syphon the money off to arms or personal gain?

The elderly care problem is easy to solve, we just have to kill off some sacred cows and then we can all eat well.

Coney Island

SimonF said...

@Strawbrick,

There was someone else who used to bang on about this in the 70s and 80s but nobody would listen. Her name was Thatcher

Anonymous said...

Work hard, save , be taxed to death and then be taxed some more.

Meanwhile the feckless, the lazy, the indolent who spunked their money up the wall get looked after for free.

There is a source of revenue available and its called Overseas Aid. Redirect this now.

Anonymous said...

£29,000+/year each - to asylum seekers, £12.5 welfare payments to the unemployed, north of £19 billion to the EU, £3.5+/yr billions for wars we never should have involved ourselves in, £7 billions to DfID rising to £12.4 [wotever] soon, £500,000 for a Nigerian whore who popped over to have her spawn in a British hospital.......????
Then, we have the PFI hidden costs, public sector pensions + the £18 billions extracted from the customers to build useless windfarms/PV farms = filling the boots of millionaire landowners??? + Corruption, backhanders, black economy = more hidden costs - are these the fault of careful quiet unassuming savers too??

All we hear is:
"No!!!!!!!!!! - there's no money!"

Bullshit!

More like the treasury can see the writing and think F888 that for a game of soldiers.
No money, for anybody in Britain, particularly those who have loyally paid in all their lives. And now, who have to pay more - plus [usually] these same people have savings - whose values in real terms has been decimated by Government Policy - 28 months of zero interest rates - double, triple, quadruple, quintuple....... whammys.

If we could close the borders, exit the EU and impose the will of the people on a government who then looked after the interests and welfare of it's own people - then we could start having a proper reasoned conversation about aging, paying and care, non of which is possible whilst we are still beholden to a government not of the British and who venally milks us, despises, loathes us and whilst we meekly accept our fate - NAH! - nothing will change!

So yeah, in a way you are right Raedwald, in a roundabout way.

DP111 said...

Direct Democracy is the answer.

Talking with some Swiss after a terse referendum, they all agreed, "The people have spoken, the people are right".

The trouble we have is far too much money is concentrated in the hands of a couple of people. Remove their authority to spend how they please, and we will have solved the problem.

In Switzerland, politicians have very little power for legislation, or how the money is to be spent. Essentially they are decorative pieces in a parliament which is subservient to the will of the people on every issue.

Anonymous said...

DP111,

Yes, I agree wholeheartedly, direct democracy based on the Swiss model is an attractive possibility...and workable.
Our politcal claque would have nightmares about this idea [so much the better] - only cloud on the [Direct Democracy] horizon: is block voting by certain factions and I think you know who I mean.

BrianSJ said...

The comment by anon on the feckless is at the heart of this. Plus the robber barons of the State.

right_writes said...

Whilst I agree with the general thrust of your argument Raedwald...

I have to ask the question... Whatever became of the concept of "From cradle to grave"... And what became of all of our hard-earned dosh that was supposed to fund this socialist/social democratic utopia?...

Which of course leads to the supplementary question... What are we going to do with the fuckers, who whilst maybe not participating in a massive conspiracy against us (although sometimes I wonder), are certainly participants in the worlds greatest period of incompetence?