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Turning the poor on the poor

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I've noticed recently there some to be a trend towards politicising the working poor vs the unworking poor. Everywhere I go I meet people who fully believe that the main problems are people who are 'too good for shit jobs' and that too many people are 'conning the benefit system' or living off the state.

Frankly, the people who just want to waste their lives doing nothing, I couldn't care less about. They are actually immaterial to the debate because they don't alter the willingness of the 90% of unemployed who are desperate for work. Who need work because the benefits they get aren't enough.

I am scared though, because even though I meet a lot of intelligent people, this belief that one part of the 'poor people' are sponging off the other 'poor people' is ingrained into people. When was the last time a credible leftwing party actually said no - poor people are not the problem. Even Labour are now touting for compulsory work for the long term unemployed. That's not necessarily a bad thing by the way - but we are dealing with a systemic breakdown in the social mobility of a generation or more that everyone is complicit with. There is no great argument, we just accept that the poor are poor and they are poor because they're not as good as the rest of us. That the poorest are too lazy and so they steal the services off the poorer.

Every study I read points it out in black and white, that its getting worse. Homelessness (particularly among the young) is getting worse. Inflation adjusted incomes (particularly among the young) are getting worse. People's ability to meet and fulfill their aspiration needs are getting worse. The country is getting worse.

I know I sound like a doomsayer and I hope I am being one. Poverty and homelessness, for whatever reason, are probably two of the closest issues to my heart. But I just want to be inspired that somewhere, somehow, there is a reactionary and strong movement for the hardest done by that will start to compete with some of these changes. So far all I see is many well wishing charities producing high quality reports into the problems, but they are all but ignored. In the meantime the political geniuses running this country (not in policy, but in managing the votes) are succeeding in divide and conquer.
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    divide and conquer
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You're right. It seems that the 'underclass' are the new scape goat.

    Have you seen this?

    myths.jpg
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I saw that graphic the other day and something amusing popped into my head. You have a group of people (correctly) saying that as a percentage the amount of fraudulent claims is only 0.7% of the welfare budget. Yet on the other hand, that is still a lot of money bearing in mind that welfare accounts for a third of government spending!


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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    3% isnt a third
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    People use the welfare budget to mean different things, but in the TUC's case it looks like they're including pensions and child benefit to get a lower fraud figure. If they excluded universal benefits; the fraud figure would be much higher

    I'd also be interested how they got to the 3% for benefits for unemployed - I assume to get it that low they're only counting Jobseekers allowance and ignoring any other benefits.

    Like all statistics these are useless in isolation and come from a body trying to spin a message; you need the raw data (or at least to know where it came from) to get a proper idea.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    People use the welfare budget to mean different things, but in the TUC's case it looks like they're including pensions and child benefit to get a lower fraud figure. If they excluded universal benefits; the fraud figure would be much higher

    I'd also be interested how they got to the 3% for benefits for unemployed - I assume to get it that low they're only counting Jobseekers allowance and ignoring any other benefits.

    Like all statistics these are useless in isolation and come from a body trying to spin a message; you need the raw data (or at least to know where it came from) to get a proper idea.

    Source:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/voters-brainwashed-by-tory-welfare-myths-shows-new-poll-8437872.html

    However I think its neither here nor there. I mean, I think anyone who takes a critical glance around them can see that actually, the poor are getting a really rough ride right now. This report isn't in isolation - just look at any reports on the wellbeing of people in the last 3 years. They all say broadly the same things: either things are getting worse, or they are bad and not getting better and there is no commitment from the government to improve the situation.

    This is the grim truth, the government had to cut spending, and in doing so it has impacted the poorest hardest. Honestly I don't see why the disenfranchised couldn't be motivated to revolt. I mean, what are they really getting out of this government?

    However, we have some of the most brilliant manipulators running the country, I think it would be easy enough to encourage the most needy that they are a drain on society and should go and jump off a cliff. In fact suicides have increased amongst the poor/disabled/homeless/mh problem in the past few years, so maybe that's exactly what's going on.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    3% isnt a third

    What I said was that the 3% of the welfare budget is a lot of money, and that the welfare budget is a third of government spending (welfare budget being around 200bn. Not that 3% is a third. That 3 % is still a lot of money, anyone who says differently should remember that you can't say that a mobile company avoiding 6bn in taxes is a lot of money, but then the same amount of money not being very big when looking into a wider context.


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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Also, the concept of turning the poor on the poor is interesting in that it detracts away from previous notions of people thinking they should have something no matter what the consequence, just because someone else has it.


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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    G-Raffe wrote: »
    Also, the concept of turning the poor on the poor is interesting in that it detracts away from previous notions of people thinking they should have something no matter what the consequence, just because someone else has it.


    Sent from my whyayePad using Tapatalk

    I believe what you're talking about there is the culture of entitlement. I am sure this is a myth. I was told I have a sense of entitlement to go to uni. I was told I have a sense of entitlement to get a job. I am still told I have a sense of entitlement to one day own my own home. I don't think there is anything anyone could want for, without someone saying they're entitled. Want shelter or food? Entitled - plenty go without, its a dog eat dog world.

    Its part of the same whip-the-middle-classes politics thats been going on for a while now. Tell the middle classes that they're working hard and the lower classes are stealing off them because they cant be bothered, the middle classes feel self-righteous and happily vote through anything that targets them.

    In terms of the macro economic effect, actually giving benefits to the poor is one of the best ways to boost the economy. Because their need is greatest, you are getting the best bang for buck. Unless you know of any examples where spending on welfare or benefit has had a really negative effect?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I wouldnt say its divide and conquer, its divide and rule, the poor were conquered long ago but they (those in charge) continue to rule by keeping us against each other, they couldnt have all the peasents 'singing of the same hymn page' now could they?.

    I had a strange man stop me in the street last week and just start asking me if I can talk English, then he started going on about theres x amount of percentage of forigners in this country that cannot talk English etc etc (racist bastard rant), he was saying he read it in the paper, most people are so easy to control and read whatever crap is in the paper or on the news and believe it, they store it in the pocket of hate and exchange there views on it with other peoplw who have also been made aware of the story.

    That man probably blames the blacks, the asians, or most currently trending, eastern europeans for the fact he hasnt got what he wants from his life whilst ignoring the fact it was 11 in the morning and he had beer on his breath and by looking at him hes not the most affable charector, some people love to hate, they can use forigners of benifit cheats to excuse their own shortfalls (thats what i think)

    We are all born on this one planet! I applaude anyone who comes here to better their life, heck i would do the same if i were them...

    I dont mean to be all consipicy theorist but the real people who are ripping us off is the goverment, or should i say the establisment, whichever party it is currently using, look at A4E (action for employment) I was on that and many people i know, what a load of rubbish, sit in a room all day doing nothing, that earned a4e millions upon millions and it was Tony Blairs friend who set a4e up, all the polititians worry about is what they can get out of it, career polititians...

    recently the hmrc puplished the 8 highest tax dodgers who they sent to prison but i did not see Mr Green who owns BHS on that list, nor anyone from the houses of parliment and we all know what tricks they have been up too...

    I quite frankly ignore the news myself, I sometimes read it, but I ignore it, I just focus on my life and paying my rent at the end of the month and looking afer my family, theres no point of the news, why do we need to know?

    Even the poor in England have it pretty good compared to a lot of other countries poor.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Still agree with Shyboy on this. You only have to turn on the television during the daytime to see Jeremy Kyle taking another oafish, judgemental jab at some of the nation's most vulnerable, troubled people. Sorry 'scum'.

    Anyone remember these adverts?

    I remember watching it for the first time thinking that it had to be a spoof but nope... It's the equivalent to Nazi propaganda, we all need to be suspicious and dish the dirt on our council estate neighbours.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I remember these adverts and thinking they were very stereotyped. I don't recall them making one about the middle class benefit thieves which probably make an even percentage of the people that do so.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Although i didn't get all of what everyone's talking about i think its a very interesting topic. I've always had to rely on benefits as i come from a family with not much income. But i agree with what people say, we are really stereotyped. Everyone who can work in my family does and they do hard work for a lot of hours, but because im the only one with actual qualifications the rest of my family can only seem to get lower income jobs. But i remember as a child, and still now how we were stereotyped as being lazy and taking advantage, which tbh was completely wrong and wrong for many people i know.

    Also coming from outside the UK i have a different government, which works slightly differently, but im sure many people have heard in the news about people putting their money here to avoid tax. But basically if your a high earner you pay similar tax to a low earner and i will never understand the thinking of that, as we work just as hard but earn less and pay the same amount.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What was mentioned in here by bettyboo about the man with alcoholic breath at 11am, going on a racist rant, highlights to me yet another problem with society. I'm not saying in any way shape and form that this applies to everyone, but some people spend all day blaming everyone else for anything they can, without taking a long hard look at themselves. I'm not saying that people in difficult situations have ended up that way through any fault of their own, but it really does my nut in when people go on and on about how its never their fault that they choose not to do anything about something.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't even think it should be a class thing, it's more a propaganda thing. I thought we were better than this in the UK. In India, Brazil, even the United States we know how terrible the inequality is, and how the poor struggle to get by. I thought the UK was revolted by those kind of injustices. But they happen here too, and instead of people being revolted at increases in homelessness, we say to people 'If you don't like living off £50 a week and sofa-surfing from friends, do something about it. That's what we had to do it.'. There's some false belief that you can lift people out of hardship with tough love. It's a complete and utter myth with no evidence-based support and yet the majority buy into it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    G-Raffe wrote: »
    What was mentioned in here by bettyboo about the man with alcoholic breath at 11am, going on a racist rant, highlights to me yet another problem with society. I'm not saying in any way shape and form that this applies to everyone, but some people spend all day blaming everyone else for anything they can, without taking a long hard look at themselves. I'm not saying that people in difficult situations have ended up that way through any fault of their own, but it really does my nut in when people go on and on about how its never their fault that they choose not to do anything about something.

    Mine too :) though I notice that what you actually said just tied into something I posted before seeing your reply:
    'If you don't like living off £50 a week and sofa-surfing from friends, do something about it. That's what we had to do it.'. There's some false belief that you can lift people out of hardship with tough love. It's a complete and utter myth with no evidence-based support and yet the majority buy into it.

    To put it clearly though, I know people on benefits. I know people who don't work hard enough to get off benefits and have given up. I also know people who work extremely hard to get off benefits. Most people I know on benefits actually do work, but have job insecurity or part time hours (e.g. 0 hour contracts, hope for more hours each week, but no guarantee, no other work available).

    The problem I have eclipses the whingers, because I think they are a lost cause anyway. Even if benefits were great, they would be the people who seldom amount to anything in their life. My grandfather was a waster, he died at 70 never amounting to anything in his life except arguably making life harder for his family who would have been well advised to let him rot. The problem is there is no evidence that those people work harder if there is less welfare, and conversely, that the numbers of them grow if there is more welfare. They are part of society, the same as the long term sick / disabled who can't work, the same as the pensioners, the same as children. They can't be moved to work. There's something wrong with their mentalities.

    These people are a minority though, and the propaganda we are seeing is painting the majority of benefit claimants as wasters. Its easier than saying, "As a society, we are failing. We used to be able to house every family. We used to have a commitment to giving people opportunities. We used to pump money into public services that everyone benefited from, regardless of class or income." Now we can sleep soundly and let the government do its thing, knowing that the ones who are suffering aren't the ones we are letting down, but are actually just lazy and can't be bothered.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I agree tough love can't really help lift people out of hardship. Its like homeless people, generally to get a job you need an address and to get somewhere to live and an address you need a job.. its like a never ending cycle really.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    These days people don't seem to be happy unless the government are giving them more and more, then when they do, the rest of the population complain that they're only doing it to get votes.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    its not about a government benevolently giving more,.
    people are pissed off because we are taxed to the hilt, and one of the reasons people were ok about it, was because decent public services came out of it. The government are still giving more and more to themselves and the rich and spending it on things that a great deal of the country dont come, and are increasoing their revenue by cutting public services and help to the poor, whilst still proffering huge tax breaks on the rich, and their corrupt selves and KEEPING the poor in a state of poverty and dependence
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    G-Raffe wrote: »
    What was mentioned in here by bettyboo about the man with alcoholic breath at 11am, going on a racist rant, highlights to me yet another problem with society. I'm not saying in any way shape and form that this applies to everyone, but some people spend all day blaming everyone else for anything they can, without taking a long hard look at themselves. I'm not saying that people in difficult situations have ended up that way through any fault of their own, but it really does my nut in when people go on and on about how its never their fault that they choose not to do anything about something.

    I broadly agree with this.

    There certainly does seem to be a propensity to leave one's own name out when compiling the lists People Responsible for my Current Situation and People Responsible for Extricating me from my Current Situation. And before I suffer a liberal lynching, I'm not saying the Government's name shouldn't be on those lists as well.

    People want it to be black and white. But it isn't. And there's certainly more than a whiff of ideology in this thread as statistics are held up and used to support a point of view, but when they're rebuffed and shown to be misleading and/or disingenuous, the line "regardless of the stats, I'm still right" rings out.

    Also, I think there's a bit of a shock being felt at the transition between Labour's fuck-it-let's-spend-regardless-of-income attitude and the Tories' defacto paring back of the state combined with deficit reduction.

    There's room for tracking down benefit cheats as well as tax dodgers.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What would be worse, pain now, or death later? Thats how things appear to be at the minute.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The problem is that the Conservatives are not cutting state expenditure, they're just cutting state expenditure on people that they don't like.

    Take welfare spending for instance. About 65% of the welfare budget is actually spent on people of pension age, mostly where they have not saved for their own retirement. These payments are being increased not decreased. It is disabled people of working age who are bearing the brunt of all these cuts, but financially they won't change much as they're not the people who get the bulk of the cash.

    Similarly the Conservatives say there's no money to pay for welfare benefit improvements. However in the same breath the Department for Work and Pensions are in the process of issuing a tender for a banking contract. They will pay the banks over £140m a year to run bank accounts for people in receipt of Universal Credit. So there's no money for the recipients but the banks can get a fortune to add a line to an Excel spreadsheet.

    I know the Conservatives are incompetent and deluded, but they are not that incompetent or deluded. The only logical conclusion to draw from all this is that the rationale behind the policy decision to make disabled people destitute is purely ideological. The numbers don't stack up.

    I find Conservative ideology to be bizarre anyway. Poor people will only work if they have more stick and less carrot. But the rich fat cat toffs will only work harder if they have more carrot and less stick. Regulate the poor people, bankrupt the disabled,. but don't touch the greedy bankers and hedge fund gamblers who got us in this mess in the first place.

    The thing I find most galling though? The fact that we're being lectured on a "something for nothing culture" by a fat bald twat who, despite being a resounding and spectacular failure in his job as a politician, is still safely riding the gravy train. £39 for a breakfast, Iain? £100,000 a year despite being the worst Conservative party leader in history? That truly is a "something for nothing culture", you spiteful greedy cunt.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    In terms of the macro economic effect, actually giving benefits to the poor is one of the best ways to boost the economy. Because their need is greatest, you are getting the best bang for buck. Unless you know of any examples where spending on welfare or benefit has had a really negative effect?

    This is pretty well-attested (I'll check on sources, but Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz has written to similar effect e.g. here).

    Look at it this way, simply anecdotally. I used to work for a major book chain. When unemployment in the area in which I lived and worked went up, per capita spending in the shop fell. We had the same number of customers, more-or-less (we were near a tourist area and the shop was in some guide books) but sales fell enough that the region was forced to make staff cuts. I lost my job, and I didn't have any money to buy luxuries at all any more (it then took me 9 months to get another job). If this happens to enough people, and enough companies, what sort of economy will we have left?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As much as everyone here loves a good ol' Tory bashing - red meat to the liberals of TheSite - the facts are that spending on benefits and pensions are orders of magnitude greater than that of other departments: about five times what we spend of defence; twice as much as health and about three times that of education. It's where the government can make the greatest savings.

    Now I'm not going to defend the Tories in any meaningful way. But if you listen to the babble for long enough one starts to pick out the line "no cuts needed; spend more money". And to be honest, I think thirteen odd years of labour was enough denial of financial gravity for me.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The trouble is, though, is that spending is not going down. It's going up. It's going up as a direct result of the Conservatives' inability to run the economy. I'd take Labour's financial management over this lot; at least we had something to show for Labour expenditure. What has Gideon given us, apart from a double-dip recession rapidly racing towards being a depression?

    Equally the trouble is, quite simply, that the cuts are being targeted by ideology and political expediency, not by any sense of sensible financial management. Pensioners cost us the most money but pensioners are more likely to vote Conservative. So pensions remain untouched. The poor and disabled cost us significantly less money but they don't vote Conservative, so they're attacked. It is blatantly political and that is what the issue is.

    I'll believe that it isn't political when the exceptionally generous benefits pensioners receive are cut too. A single pensioner gets more than double in pension credit what someone on JSA gets, even though they only get pension credit if they've not saved a penny in their lives. The real financial basket case is pension age benefits. Everyone knows this.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2012/10/19/1350656298400/UK-budget-deficit-and-par-009.jpg

    The Guardian has the deficit falling year on year since the Tories took over.

    However, part of the problem is that people will grab onto whichever figure that's politically convenient at the time: spending's up in November; the Tories are shit. Overall deficit is down; wouldn't have happened under Labour. Radio 4 has a different "prize winning" economist on every other day contradicting what the last "prize winning" economist said. The whole thing borders on complete fantasy.

    Also, the working, underemployed and unemployed classes over the past hundred years have been an ever transforming stick one set of politicos have used to beat another with: the salt of the Earth working man; the racists and bigots; the downtrodden; the conservative block; the spongers; the liberal masses. It laughable and sad. But mostly a gross oversimplification and a wholly inaccurate.

    People have picked their teams and they'll defend theirs while berating the other no matter what. It's fucking boring.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You didn't show that the source was disingenuous. It was commissioned by the tuc but carried out by yougov. The reason I said that was because you were discrediting it without looking at it yourself. 'ah, this study indicates a view contrary to my own, I will reject its findings'

    I'll reply more later but it's so frustrating to have a discussion and when you post a source someone says 'prove its legit.' you could do the same for aliens, if I said there are no known alien sightings by the mod someone could say 'ah, well the government would say that'...

    Google poverty UK 2012, homelessness UK 2012, etc and do your own research if you like. The problem right now is trying to encourage people to believe actually how difficult it is for many instead of burying heads in sand and saying it's probably due to laziness.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk 2
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think you've got a bit confused: I never asked you to prove anything was legit - though the burden of proof would rest with you were I to do so; Flashman, however, poked some pretty big holes in earlier stats.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Not trying to pick a team. I want what's best for most. What I object to is the targeting of the most vulnerable in where the cuts are impacting, especially if you calculate it by utility rather £ notes.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk 2
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=WxZJ56-Tno0C&oi=fnd&pg=PR1&ots=2yHKEHtBxq&sig=gn4wOvOPvKFW5liXxwpJW0OpFjo#v=onepage&q&f=false

    page 65 onwards, just a skim read gives some interesting thoughts. this was on the first page for a scholar.google.com search for 'UK social policy' where I limited the search to from 2012
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