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I wrote to my MP, and she wrote back

A few days ago I did something I am not used to doing, which is I wrote to my MP, who is Nickie Aiken (she is MP for Cities of London and Westminster). I have met her several times; personally, I like her and she has been helpful on several local issues. I wrote about the rise in National Insurance Contributions, taking the UK total tax burden to levels not seen in 70 years.

My letter suggested that there was no point putting new money into the NHS, a state monopoly, without reforms, and that NI ought to be blended with income tax, given that “insurance” is a misnomer and that this would give people a clearer idea of how much the State takes. I commended efforts by former Cabinet Minister Peter Lilley to her on how to use private insurance and other methods to increase availability of residential care and doing so in a way that was fair. My letter avoided the usual libertarian fire-eating exercises we can get into. I was polite and constructive. I think others who want to contact MPs should adopt the same approach, if only to make them aware of how we think. These things do add up. MPs can count, particularly those in marginal seats.

She replied. I don’t know if her reply – which was quite lengthy – was one that she has sent to other constituents and some sort of pro forma thing. If she wrote it to me personally then that speaks most well of her to take the time to do so. I think it is okay for me to republish it here because this letter was sent by a supporter of a government and defending what is now official, public policy. Remember, this is a “moderate”, fairly middle-of-the-road MP, and I think pretty typical of most of her party.

Here goes:

During the summer recess, I spent a week looking after my father who is living with advanced Alzheimer’s while my mother had a respite holiday. I experienced what millions of people up and down the country live with day in day out, month after month caring for their loved ones in similar circumstances and I pay tribute to every single one of them. Equally I am in awe of our care professionals working in care homes and those who provide care services in people’s homes. I believe the covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the outstanding service they all provide for which I am grateful.

It is this recent experience as well as having been a Council Leader where 40% of the local authority’s budget was spent on adult social services, has led me to accept that if we are to reform social care and ensure that all those in need receive the dignified care they all deserve then extra funding is required. I believe that such a levy as proposed would have been necessary even before the pandemic. However, now with the nation’s finances in the position they currently are, with the Government having spent over £400bn keeping the economy and businesses afloat, raising further revenue is now a must.

I therefore accepted the arguments both the Prime Minister and the Health & Social Care Secretary have made in their reasons why they are proposing the new levy. During the Prime Minister’s statement in the Commons this week I sought assurances that, through the health and social care levy, money raised will go to fund local authorities who are on the front line of providing social care. I am firmly of the view that not all the money raised should go to the NHS but to councils too. As I understand the situation, in total £36 billion will be invested in the health and care system over the next three years to ensure it has the long term resource it needs.

Having looked at the proposals I note that the 1.25% proposed levy means someone working full time on National Living Wage earning £16,216 would pay around £1.50 per week. With such investments patients will benefit from the biggest catch-up programme in the NHS’s history, so people no longer face excessive waits for treatment. This will provide an extra 9 million checks, scans, and operations; and increase NHS capacity to 110 per cent of its pre-pandemic levels by 2023-24.

I appreciate that some people highlighted that the young will be burdened more than the older generations when it comes to the levy and that this is a tax on low paid workers. I note that the highest-earning 14 per cent in the country will pay over half the levy, and the Government has also announced an equivalent increase in dividend tax rates and the suspension of the pension triple lock which would have seen an 8.8% increase in the state pension next year which I agree would be unfair at this time. Instead it will rise by 2.5% or inflation

As a Conservative I believe in a low tax economy. I also believe in financial responsibility and following the pandemic I do feel that we are not in the same position as a country that we were pre-pandemic thus it is right to raise funds in order to support the NHS deal with the immense backlog of waiting lists and also take the necessary and fair steps necessary to give our health and care services the backing and funding they need in order to recover from the effects of the pandemic and ensure the health and wellbeing of residents here in the Two Cities.

Draw your own conclusions on where politics is headed in this country.

53 comments to I wrote to my MP, and she wrote back

  • David Bishop

    This is Boris Johnson’s red shift – a move to socialism so rapid that astronomers and astrophysicists would be astounded.

  • KJP

    When the Welfare State began after WW II it seemed understood that everyone would pay in and everyone could take out if the need arose.

    Now it seems that understanding is broken. Many who pay in will be expected to pay personally rather than take out any part of what they have paid in.

  • XC

    In the US we have Social Security, which is a 6.2% employee and a 6.2% employer tax on the first $142K of gross income. After that it’s zero. You take the money out based on “contribution points” with a maximum payout of $3,148/month ($37.7K) at age 66.

    I’ve never expected to see a dime of that, though I qualified for full retirement points at age 40.

    Our politicians have “saved” it several times, but since the income to the federal government has always been used in “current accounting expenses” it’s not like the Social Security administration has gods own mutual fund somewhere.

    -XC

  • decnine

    The last paragraph sounds good, but St Augustine (of Hippo) would have said much the same. ‘Please God, make me continent – but not just yet’. As a Christian, I believe in the resurrection of the dead in the same way that she believes in a low tax economy. They are events that neither of us is in any hurry to witness.

  • the last toryboy

    That last paragraph is doing a lot of heavy lifting for anybody right or centre economically.

    It’s interesting that she defends it by pointing out that the poor won’t pay it – again and again this argument is used. Which sets in the mind of the bulk of the electorate that other people pay tax, not them. A dangerous culture to engender, as outright robbery naturally follows, rather than paying tax as a sort of civic duty in the “we all pay for collective goods together” sense.

  • pete

    I vote Conservative but I don’t think that they should necessarily be a low tax party.

    They should find out what people want from the government and tax them accordingly.

    People want to have a dignified old age if they have to go into a home.

    And most people can’t have that if we don’t have enough tax income to pay for a good care service.

    Our current social care system is a national disgrace – very poor pay and terrible terms and conditions for staff which ensure a high staff turnover, constant high vacancy levels and a poor, penny pinching level of service.

    Conservative values mean paying for what you want, not expecting someone else to do so. Tax rises mean we do pay for what we want.

  • Paul Marks

    As usual “pete” is being what is called a “Troll” – I would advice people not to “feed” him.

    My own Member of Parliament, Philip Hollobone, voted for the increase in NHS and Social Care government spending – but OPPOSED HS2 and the extensions to the “lockdown”.

    Obviously it is not consistent to oppose higher taxes and support all the extra government spending. The government admits to spending more than 400 Billion Pounds on the covid lockdowns and associated costs.

    This did not “save lives” – indeed all the nations that did not lockdown have a lower (not a higher) covid death rate than we do.

    What would have saved lives is the Early Treatment of Covid 19 – but Early Treatment was systematically smeared, on an international basis.

    People were told to stay at home (WITHOUT treatment) till they were very ill – and then were taken to hospital.

    Vast numbers of people died because of this international policy, it has been the worse scandal in the Western World in modern times.

    As for the general policy of tax-and-spend (and the rise in government spending started well before Covid 19) – it is not just a British policy, it is hitting many Western countries. It will end in disaster – but there is no way to stop it now.

  • Paul Marks

    I have never met Mr Alexander “Boris” Johnson – all I have to go about him are his deeds (what he has done) and the various, sometimes contradictory, rumours that people tell me about him.

    Take the rumours with a pinch of salt (indeed a salt mine) but here they are anyway…

    The rumour is that Prime Minister Johnson knew the Covid “lockdowns” would not “save lives” and would cripple the economy with government spending (which will cost a lot of human lives) – but was forced into the lockdowns by international and domestic pressure – including personal betrayal by his “friend” Mr Dominic Cummings – who seems to value the interests of Mr “Bill” Gates and the rest of the international elite above any loyalty to this country.

    The other rumour is that Prime Minister Johnson knows that HS2 is an absurd project which will cost vast sums of money without producing any real gains – but is powerless to stop it.

    If (if) true – these rumours say a lot of very bad things about the state of British democracy, the inability of the elected government to control POLICY. How policy is imposed on the elected government – not decided by the elected government.

  • Paul Marks

    J.P. – Peter Lilley was a good minister in as much as the system let him be a good minister.

    Peter Lilley was often “lumped in” (in the public mind) with Michael Portello – but they were very different.

  • Jim

    “Conservative values mean paying for what you want, not expecting someone else to do so. Tax rises mean we do pay for what we want.”

    Isn’t the whole point of these tax rises that they are designed to ensure that someone else (probably a poor person who doesn’t own their own house and never will) will have to pay extra tax so that your children can keep more of the equity in your house, rather than you spending it on your own care while you are still around? Is that ‘Conservative values’ at work?

    This whole ‘social care is a mess and must be fixed with higher taxes’ concept has been created by the middle classes, who are greedy c&nts and grab everything they can out of the State – employment, pensions, benefits and services. Its just another example of the sharp elbowed middle classes at work ‘Get out of the way lower class peasant, I want whats mine, and yours to boot!’

  • Paul Marks

    Jim – do not feed the Troll. “pete” does not mean anyone here well. He is not here to help – he is here to troll.

  • Jon Eds

    Reads like a boilerplate email to me.

    If the government needs to free up funds then maybe they should stop spending most of our taxes on crap.

    The vast amount of resources wasted in this country (and most Western countries) not only by the public sector but also non-jobs in the nominally private sector (HR – I’m looking at you) is flabbergasting. Add to that the activities which in theory contribute to GDP, like making Netflix movies, but are frivolous then you really do have to start wondering about our priorities. I used to mock people who were fearful of Russia: “Ha, they have an economy the size of the Netherland’s!” but no more.

    The UK needs to stop behaving as a rich country and get real about the serious situation it faces. If it did that then our prospects could change very quickly for the better.

  • Phil B

    “through the health and social care levy, money raised will go to fund local authorities “

    Ahhhh … those paragons of frugal stewardship of taxpayers money are to be entrusted with administering the spending and running of the system.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Ferox

    The fundamental problem with state-run enterprises is that they can’t fail. I do not mean by this that they can’t fail to do what they are supposed to do … I mean that whether they succeed in their goals or not, they will not be allowed to fail.

    This unmoors the workers and administrators from any sense of necessity or urgency or cost-sense. They have no impetus to innovate, and in fact they have a significant impetus not to innovate, since such digressions from “policy” are the only things that can get them fired.

    This is why unnecessarily letting the state run an enterprise is a bad idea, and by extension, it’s the best argument for a minimal state – the state is just bad at business, so keep its portfolio as small as possible.

  • Mr Ed

    The ‘acid test’ for an MP?

    Does your MP care more about their Twitter profile than their constituents?

  • phil

    Looks like you did a better job of remaining constructive than I did…

    Dear Conservative Party,

    My membership is overdue. I’ve been reluctant for a while but now have reached a decision not to renew it.

    Taxes are going up, which means I have to make some sacrifices to balance the household budget.

    As we know, spending more on one thing means spending less on something else. I know no-one foresaw coronavirus (although this is disingenuous – it didn’t matter what form the storm was, the public finances were in a state to weather very little, no prescience required). Even so I’m struck that given the promises in the manifesto and given all the extra spending, none of this rebalancing happened on the government side and instead we have tax rises. Furthermore, tax rises which are regressive and have working age unestablished people subsidising older people with assets. The argument for tax rises rather than spending cuts is usually that state spending is focused on people who need it, whereas extra tax burden is placed on people who can afford it, but the social care increase is the complete opposite to this.

    I appreciate that the process of governing is imperfect and a compromise, however this does not justify the leadership having no regard for fundamental conservative ideas, such as “work hard and get on” or personal freedom and responsibility. This now appears to be the party of high taxes, authoritarianism, and the old.

    I think the country needed Boris for unblocking the Brexit logjam (problematic as this was). Pretty much everything since then has been a harmful disappointment.

  • decnine

    I’m here to take a second bite at the cherry.

    In the penultimate paragraphe, Nikki Aiken seeks to justify the temporary suspension of the triple lock as “unfair at this time”. I say that to link State Retirement Pension to increase in wages is more than fair.

    The surge in wages proves how seriously British wages were held down by the EU doctrine of Free Movement. Take away Free Movement and British wages start to move towards their proper level. Which section of the electorate was blamed/given the credit for tilting the result to Leave while having the shortest term interest in the resulting future?

    Those young workers who will enjoy better wages because of Brexit owe us wrinklies a vote of thanks.

  • Jim

    Those young workers who will enjoy better wages because of Brexit owe us wrinklies a vote of thanks.”

    Given you wrinklies have forced the young to pay for educations you got for free, stopped the building of enough housing so your house would continue to rise in value (which of course you aren’t prepared to sell when you need care in your old age, no the young must pay more tax for that) and have forced the State to strip them of the freedom and liberties to protect you from the dreaded virus that kills practically none of them (and a pretty small fraction of you), all the while constantly loading the National Debt up at the same time (the burden of which will fall on the young), I’m surprised the young haven’t risen up and slaughtered everyone over the age of 70. To be honest I wouldn’t blame them, given the utter selfishness of that post war generation.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Ed – my own Member of Parliament passes your test with flying colours.

    He has no Twitter profile – indeed has always kept off Social Media entirely.

    As he points out – even Central Office can not punish you for things on the internet if you have said NOTHING on the internet.

    I would myself be much better off if I had, as far as the internet is concerned, exercised my right to silence.

    The world of Freedom of Speech is as distant as the world of balanced budgets and low taxation – these things are not part of the modern world.

    A century before I was born the United Kingdom had a balanced budget and the lowest taxes of any major nation on the planet – yes lower than the United States (it was the last year of the American Civil War) and lower than all other major countries as well. Even when my father was born (1913) Britain had fairly low taxes (although much higher they had been) and a balanced budget.

    My father spent nearly all of his life in a country where there was no question of him being punished for his OPINIONS – but that country is gone.

    Restoring gold as money? Restoring balanced budgets? Restoring low government spending and low taxation? Restoring Freedom of Speech?

    Remember what that “Conservative” academic told me – “history has no reverse gear”. If that is true the only answer is an accident clearing one’s revolver (these days – illegally owned revolver, as the United Kingdom where legal firearms were considered a fundamental right, the foundation of a free society, is also long gone).

    This is now the world of vast government that seeks to control every aspect of human life, working hand-in-hand with the Credit Bubble bankers (who are no longer about Real Savings and honest money lending), and the “Woke” Corporations – who care about the flow of Credit Money to them (ordinary customers being despised as “reactionaries” or “toxic fandom”). It is the world of the “World Economic Forum”, of “Stakeholder Capitalism” (the Corporate State – the end of Free Enterprise) – the world of the dreams Saint-Simon and the reality of Klaus Schwab.

    Remember the “supply chain problems” have nothing to do with what the international establishment are doing (not-even-slightly), and the full Collectivism (Corporate State) of Agenda 2030 “Sustainable Development” is for our own good.

  • monoi

    The surge in wages, in large part pushed up by the minimum wage, will not happen in a vacuum. Somebody has to pay for it, and that somebody is the end customer, ie everyone. So yes, higher wages but also, higher prices through inflation (which is a lot higher than official data and will get worse).

    The end result is that you are not really better off.

    As for free movement being a bad thing, that is such a stupid thought. People were not hiring Eastern europeans because they were cheaper, it was mostly because they would turn up (a very important quality) and do a reasonable job. Unlike a lot of homegrown workers. And from what I can see, those free movement workers are still very much present. Something that has had a more profound effect in my opinion is the introduction of IR35 rules to people such as lorry drivers. Another government cluster.

  • Jim

    “Something that has had a more profound effect in my opinion is the introduction of IR35 rules to people such as lorry drivers”

    Correct. I was talking to a lorry driver friend of mine the other day, and he said that the view on the lorry driving street was that many of the Eastern European HGV drivers had incorporated themselves and were using personal service companies. IR35 was cutting a swathe through this, and coupled with Covid has meant a lot have just upped sticks and gone home. Many of whom have also done a runner without paying the corporation tax due on profits, as CT is paid 9 months in arrears, so it would be quite possible to max out your earnings for a year after your tax year end and disappear with c. 2 years of gross earnings. Plus a bounce back loan as well no doubt…….

  • Stonyground

    Yes because I of course have a huge influence over house building policy and a government representative knocked on my door and asked me personally what the government response should be. The astronomical cost of all those wind turbines is directly my fault too and I also told them to ban petrol and diesel cars.

  • Stonyground

    Yes because I of course have a huge influence over house building policy and a government representative knocked on my door and asked me personally what the government response to Covid should be. The astronomical cost of all those wind turbines is directly my fault too and I also told them to ban petrol and diesel cars.

  • JohnK

    Stonyground:

    I knew someone must be to blame for all this governmental bullshit. Since you have the power can you please cancel it all asap?

  • bobby b

    Ah, goodie, the anti-Boomer whiners are here.

    The ones who voted Biden et al. into lockdown power. Tough making money? Vote better.

    The ones so bad at math that they never once questioned college prices rising – just kept signing on for lifelong crushing debt levels for useless made-up degrees because it was easier than working and more socially prestigious. That lifetime income-boost that college used to be known for? The colleges harvested that for themselves in their pricing.

    The ones who can only bear to live in expensive dense urban environments with eight different Sinaloan/Zairian-fusion restaurants within walking distance so they can feel like world travelers. Yeah, housing is expensive there. Surprise.

    The average age of house-buying for my cohort was about 35, and then everyone was house-poor for fifteen years until their experience and income rose with their age. That’s how outer-ring suburbs came into being – no one young could afford the trendy city stuff, so we just kept building out where land wasn’t so dear. You’d be amazed how cheaply you can buy a house out of the urban centers – but no cool restaurants, and no 5G. So, not an option. Better to complain that you’re not being given enough.

    I’m sorry that your parents were so horrible to you. My kids are doing quite well. Everything you want to blame on Boomers was really the fault of progressives, of every age. Are there progressive Boomers? Lots. Lots in your age group too.

  • Jim

    “I’m sorry that your parents were so horrible to you. My kids are doing quite well. Everything you want to blame on Boomers was really the fault of progressives, of every age. Are there progressive Boomers? Lots. Lots in your age group too.”

    You shouldn’t assume the age of posters. I’m not young. I’m virtually a boomer myself, though not quite, more Gen X, and doing very well for myself, and have no children, so my views are not sour grapes on my or their behalf’s. But I can see that the post war generation voted itself lots of goodies out of the public purse and when subsequent generations came along expecting the same pulled the drawbridge up because they didn’t fancy losing anything they’d acquired already.

  • Ferox

    I actually think you’re both right a little. Boomers did help themselves to the public purse like no generation before them, and then they did “pull up the drawbridge” once they had gotten their fill of Uncle Sugar’s money.

    But Millenials as a group are really awful at life skills in general. Nothing is their fault, nothing is their responsibility. How many twenty-somethings do you know who complain about their financial state while buying $6 lattes every day? Or who decided to borrow six figures to get a degree in feminist poetry and now feel like they are victims?

    Of course, not all Millenials are useless sacks of soy and water, and not all Boomers looted the public purse. But both of those are fair generalizations of the groups. If those generalizations don’t apply to you then don’t wear that shoe, man.

    P.S. I was born in 70. I think that makes me Gen X? We are probably the worst of both, as a generation – looted the purse, terrible at life skills. I didn’t do too badly with my finances, and never took any dole, but lots of my peers are doing badly and do/did milk the teat. At least I know how to change my own spark plugs and swap out a light switch – but my grandfather knew how to build boats from lumber. And my grandkids won’t know how a screwdriver works.

  • bobby b

    “You shouldn’t assume the age of posters.”

    You’re right. I’m sorry for that part. But I’ll stand by the rest that I wrote. Every generation has voted itself lots of goodies out of the public purse, and it continues to this day. Thus, deficits. Do you think Biden’s $3.5T is Boomer-driven?

    It’s scapegoating. It’s inaccurate scapegoating, and it’s divisive on the “conservative” side at a time when we need coalitions, even when we don’t truly love those with whom we coalesce.

    I remain convinced that the anti-Boomer movement was designed by a smart leftist looking to split the opposition. (But I will concede that the vaccine panic is primarily a function of powerful wrinkly-types fearful of death. They should have quarantined themselves, not all of society.)

  • bobby b

    “Boomers did help themselves to the public purse like no generation before them, and then they did “pull up the drawbridge” once they had gotten their fill of Uncle Sugar’s money.”

    I see it as, Boomers went on a societal spending spree – not just for themselves, but for society in general, with huge new social programs and safety nets for all – not out of selfishness, but out of optimism. Things were going great, the economy boomed, wages grew, deprivation was disappearing, our standard of living would make earlier kings jealous, and so everyone thought the rising tide would keep rising.

    Oops. Too much optimism. But it wasn’t “I’m getting mine now.” It was “we can afford to make it all better for everyone.” It was, in retrospect, a bit foolish. But the idea that the Boomer sin was selfishness is, I think, wrong.

    I’m 64, so I’m a young Boomer. This is my way of not wearing those shoes, loudly. 😉

  • Stonyground

    I suppose that I need to state very clearly and unambiguously that I was being sarcastic so that I’m in the clear when the lynchings start.

  • bobby b

    Too late. Don’t answer any knocks on the door for a few hours.

  • Jon Eds

    One irony of Covid is that it is most dangerous for the least important group (the very old, or just old with comorbidities) from a civilisational point of view, or indeed a QUALY point of view, but the most important group from a political point of view (at least if you throw in the almost old and the worried well).

    If the 0.2-0.5% infection fatality rate had been spread evenly over all age groups it would have been crickets and we’d have pushed through it. If it had affected mostly the young rather than the old the schools would have been closed and that would have been it.

  • But I can see that the post war generation voted itself lots of goodies out of the public purse and when subsequent generations came along expecting the same pulled the drawbridge up because they didn’t fancy losing anything they’d acquired already.

    No. We didn’t. As we have just seen, what people vote for and what happens once a party is in power are two very different things. Ordinary people have no say whatsoever on the price of housing, house building policy, college fees or anything else, frankly. No one voted for net zero or the banning of the ICE, but we are getting it anyway. To blame a whole generation of diverse people for the actions of the government of the day is ridiculous. Politicians and policy makers are responsible. No one else.

  • Conservative values mean paying for what you want, not expecting someone else to do so.

    Correct.

    Tax rises mean we do pay for what we want.

    LOL. Tax rises mean paying for what someone else wants.

  • Jim

    ” But I’ll stand by the rest that I wrote. Every generation has voted itself lots of goodies out of the public purse, and it continues to this day. Thus, deficits. Do you think Biden’s $3.5T is Boomer-driven?”

    The US may be different. But the UK shows plenty of solid evidence of the Boomer generation taking what they want and then kicking the ladder away. I’ve already listed it – free university education for them (with 100% living grants indeed), massive debts for millennials to do the same. Benefitting from rapid house building programs in the 60s, 70s and 80s, only to turn into NIMBYs the moment they get their foot in the door, driving up house prices for everyone coming after. Constantly demanding more State spending than they are prepared to pay in taxes, thus burdening the younger generations with debts. Throwing a paddy because they might catch a disease in their 60s or 70s and not have the long retirement they always planned on giving themselves, and throwing the younger generations under the bus to save their own skins. Moaning bitterly about paying for their own long term old age care from their own assets, resulting in the current tax rises on those of working age (not those of pensionable age of course!).

    ” Every generation has voted itself lots of goodies out of the public purse, and it continues to this day.”

    But the Boomers started it. They were the generation who invented the ‘Live beyond your means via debt up the wazzoo’ both on a personal and societal level. Of course the next generations would try to copy them, monkey see, monkey do.

  • Ferox

    To add on, here is an example of Boomer “drawbridge-raising”, albeit probably a controversial one.

    Boomers consistently vote against any raise in the retirement age, or lowering of SSI benefits. This despite the looming failure of the US SSI system. When Boomers were paying into it, there were many workers for each retiree. Now there are only a few workers for each retiree, and retirees are now commonly drawing benefits for 25+ years.

    You could argue that Boomers simply want back some of what they paid in, and thats fair. But then take that same argument and look at it from the point of view of GenX,Y,Z, and Millenials. It’s slightly possible that GenX’s such as myself might see a few dollars of what we have paid in (though I doubt it) but Y,Z, and Millenials won’t see a dime ever. The system will be long-gone before they get anywhere close to retirement. If Boomers compromised a little on payouts now it’s possible the rest of us might see something when our time comes, but they won’t – at all. So they get to live the sweet retired life and when our time comes it will be f*ckall left in the pot.

    Similar things can be said about state-funded pensions, and I am sure many other programs that paid out well for Boomers but are now moribund.

    And right or wrong (FWIW, I personally think “wrong”), when GenY and Millenials try to get some Uncle Sugar cash for themselves by, for example, getting the gov’t to void student loans, or at least student loan interest, Boomers are vociferously against it. Fair enough, I agree with them, but who was running the Universities as tuition rose sky-high over the years? Into whose pockets has all that student-loan money gone?

    I am just saying, its not entirely unreasonable for the following generations to feel a little tension with the golf-playing Boomer driving his late-model Lexus to the course while lecturing them about how he worked part-time at a grocery store to pay his tuition.

  • Paul Marks

    “Boomers”?

    Perhaps in Britain – but not in the United States.

    Many of the people in office in the United States were born BEFORE the end of World War II – not after it (they are not boomers).

    Joseph Biden (officially President) is not a “boomer”, and Speaker of the House Pelosi most certainly is not.

    In business people such as George Soros, Warren Buffett and the rest of these political manipulators (their money comes from political manipulation – they do not actually make anything, and never have) are not “boomers” – they were born long before 1945.

    Buffett and the rest of them are Collectivists (always preaching bigger government, higher taxes, hatred for gold – and all the rest of it) – but they are not boomer Collectivists.

    By the way – on gold.

    As has been pointed out for many years – most of the “gold” traded in the Western markets DOES NOT EXIST – its “price” is, therefore, meaningless (as it is the price of something that does not exist).

    If you can not physically touch “your gold” – then you have no gold.

  • bobby b

    “free university education for them (with 100% living grants indeed) . . .

    Y’all got free university? (Until ’88, I see.) Dang. Well, they’re starting that movement over here just now. (See New York.)

    “Benefitting from rapid house building programs in the 60s, 70s and 80s, only to turn into NIMBYs the moment they get their foot in the door, driving up house prices for everyone coming after.”

    Progs, not Boomers. Prog Boomers, sure, – people who always feel that they’re entitled to make rules that help themselves – because that’s what the age group was at the time. We don’t blame everyone alive in 1865 for Lincoln’s assassination. It was a small sub-group.

    “Throwing a paddy because they might catch a disease in their 60s or 70s and not have the long retirement they always planned on giving themselves, and throwing the younger generations under the bus to save their own skins.”

    Yep, I’ll concede this one.

    “Moaning bitterly about paying for their own long term old age care from their own assets, resulting in the current tax rises on those of working age (not those of pensionable age of course!).”

    Know who brings these oldsters in to their lawyers to start the asset-protection measures? Know who knows exactly how long the lookback periods are for the various asset classes? It ain’t the oldsters. It’s their kids. Once you die, your money doesn’t do you any good. It’s the kids of Boomers pushing this one.

    I’ll concede that Ferox’s example of Social Security is probably the most potent argument. Problem is, you have several entire generations who made their plans based on that, and it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I think the average monthly retirement-benefit payout right now is around $1500 per month. That’s not “farting in silk sheets” life. It’s derived from how much you put in over your life. But we’d be paying to support these people anyway if SS ended today, and I bet we’d be paying more than $1500 per month to do it.

    I do think it ought to be means-tested to some degree. Lots of us get those checks and throw them into savings and could easily do without them. I’d vote for that.

    And, cancel student debt? Sure. Cancel the loans I’m paying off for my kids’ forays into Marx Ed too. Repay me for payments I’ve made directly to schools, for both me and my kids. And means-test the cancellations. And make the colleges put some skin in the game – remove student debt from the bankruptcy prohibition. But they won’t do any of those things. Screw that.

  • bobby b

    “I am just saying, its not entirely unreasonable for the following generations to feel a little tension with the golf-playing Boomer driving his late-model Lexus to the course while lecturing them about how he worked part-time at a grocery store to pay his tuition.”

    Far, far more Boomers are wondering how they’re going to pay their electric bill this month. It IS unreasonable to the extent that anyone sees “Boomers” as monolithically being in that top 1%. Want to see Boomers living their lives? Go watch Nomadland. Those people are all over the country. Don’t blame Boomers for a generation’s uncritical adoption of myths.

  • Ferox

    Yes yes, we are talking about the group, not about the individuals in the group. Where I am, house prices have soared (for whatever reason … frankly it doesnt matter why in this argument); which group has higher rates of home ownership, Boomers or GenZ/Millenials? And the perception, at least, is that when its time to relax rules about infringing on the habitat of the great Northern brown slug etc etc its aging Boomer hippies reliving their glory days as rabble-rousers who storm the city council meetings and rage against any change. Hippies who, of course, own their own homes long since.

    I am not talking about me; I bought a fixer-upper for cash several years ago cheap-cheap. And I am sure I am not talking about any Boomers on this site, all of whom no doubt are against silly anti-spread policies.

    Of course the great majority of Boomers are not in the 1%. Yet times now are particularly uncertain, moreso than any time since probably the Great Depression (or maybe WW II). Who is more comfortably settled right now, Boomers or 30-somethings with $120k debt and declining employment prospects? And, right or wrong (again I personally say “wrong”) when its time to decide whether Uncle Sugar will ride to the rescue of said 30-somethings, who is saying no?

    Perception means a lot. Millenials are entitled and increasingly useless, often by their own choices. But Boomers, having received years and years of Uncle Sugar’s love, are perceived as being pretty stingy about letting that love get spread around now.

    And telling someone with a mountain of debt and uncertain prospects that someone else who owns their own home and has a paid-for car will need taking care of one way or another is going to be a hard hard sell.

  • John Lewis

    In the early 1960s just 4% attended higher education institutes in the UK.

    By the end of the 1970s this had increased to 14%.

    In 2006 it was over 41%. The figure has continued to rise.

    I suggest that the value to British society of educating a relatively small proportion of intellectual elites at the expense of the state two generations ago should not be equated with the current free for all with young people delaying entering the workforce and instead obtaining degrees in ever more diverse and less useful subjects while accumulating considerable debt along with a sense of entitlement and resentment.

  • Mr Ed

    Paul

    Mr Ed – my own Member of Parliament passes your test with flying colours.

    He has no Twitter profile – indeed has always kept off Social Media entirely.

    As he points out – even Central Office can not punish you for things on the internet if you have said NOTHING on the internet.

    Give them time, for example, there is in law a public sector equality duty to promote ‘equality’, which although it does not apply in law to MPs, may well soon be deemed to apply ‘in spirit’, so a failure to engage with social media clearly indicates a failure to promote equality and so be a sign of discriminatory intent by omission.

  • Paul Marks

    Good point Mr Ed.

    “Why have you not strived for equality?” You have said, by your own admission, “nothing” – so where is your support, for example, of “Trans Rights” for eight year old children – as the noble Mr Biden has maintained, he of the 80 million votes!

    Talking of overwhelming number of votes – two thirds of the votes in California have just gone to the person, Gavin Newsom, who has destroyed the State.

    As the voters of California chanted whilst filling in their “mail-in” ballots..

    “We want ALL small business enterprises shut down – not just one third, all power to the Woke Corporations!” and “Sex changes for eight year old children is TOO MODERATE – it should be sex changes for babies, and any baby who is not Trans should be aborted!”

    Anyone who has any doubts that two thirds of Californian voters have these opinions is guilty of “the Big Lie” – and the FBI will hunt down such “deniers”, especially the “White Supremacist” Larry Elder.

    In a country, the United States, where the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of State (General Milley – “appointed by President Trump” in the sense that President Trump rubber stamped the name put in front of him by the Treason bureaucracy) was working for the People’s Republic of China Communist Party dictatorship, who can be astonished by bent elections?

    Leave aside Britain – it is quite clear “where politics is going” in the United States.

    And if anyone expects General Milley to be arrested, or anyone to be punished for what has happened in California – you are going to be disappointed.

  • John Lewis

    In case anyone is unaware of this story:-

    According to Peril, Gen Milley said he would warn Gen Li * if an attack was launched, citing the history of their relationship. “General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise,” he said.

    Peril being the latest book by Bob Woodhouse of Watergate fame.

    If the quote is true then General Milley is guilty of treason.

    If it’s not true he should sue Woodward and his publishers for millions.

    * Gen Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army

  • phwest

    Virtually all of the public policy “sins” of the Boomers are (in the US at least) really the sins of the preceding generation (the “Silents – 1927-1945). Much of the rest is really just the experience of the earliest cohorts (Vietnam was over before most Boomers were of military age for example). In particular :

    1) Social Security – with the tax increases culminating in the Reagan deal (maxing at 12.4% and extending the retirement age to 67 over the back half of the generation) the Boomers funded the “trust fund” that paid for their parents’ benefits. The youngest boomers (including yours truly) paid those rates their entire working careers and will be retiring just as the surplus runs out. Even the oldest boomers were paying full freight for most of their careers, particularly their prime earning years. My career SSI taxes are more than enough to have funded my benefit (if Social Security wasn’t a Ponzi scheme for the generations that actually voted for it), much less what I expect to receive once the funding shortfall forces reforms around the time I can actually claim them. The Boomers are the transition generation, with the oldest cohorts in position to receive a benefit they pretty much paid for and the youngest cohorts facing a political battle with the following generations over who covers the gaps (which will likely be mostly in means testing, certainly that’s been my expectation for 40 years).

    2) Medicare – even the oldest Boomers aren’t yet in the prime Medicare cost years and the “trust fund” is already empty. When the bills really start coming due they will break the system and something new will have to be put together. I do wonder if the floating of “Medicare for All” is as much an attempt to solve this problem (by bringing in additional revenue and providing a system to explicitly ration end of life care) as it is a way to convert the broader population to single payer. But again you see the pattern of Boomers paying for a system created by their parents, for the benefit of their parents, only to have the funding collapse when they actually need it.

    3) Private pensions – again the Boomers are the transition generation. Private pensions in the US really started to shut down just as the oldest boomers were hitting their 50s. The older and/or luckier Boomers got something like what their parents did, the rest have their 401ks. Again, this transition was largely imposed on the Boomers rather than chosen by them, and heavily benefited the prior generation (both by protecting their pensions from an excess of Boomer claimants, and by Boomer 401ks driving the increase in value of existing assets).

    4) Housing – once again, the Boomers drive the change but the big winners are their parents, who largely drove the policies. Boomers weren’t buying $30k bungalows in LA in the late 60s – they were the ones driving the prices up. Prop 13 allowed their parents and grandparents to continue to hold rapidly appreciating assets while Boomers paid more and more. The difference here has been more success (although not everywhere) in sustaining the momentum such that gains have been reaped by more cohorts within the generation, at least for now.

    5) University – here the case is more subtle, but the pattern is the same. The boom pushed a massive expansion of universities in the 60s and early 70s (along with Vietnam and the draft – graduate students were deferred, and that had a lot to do with the explosion of graduate degrees that started then), but the PhDs getting those jobs were born during the war or just after. That cohort dominated professorships into this century, As the boom faded in the 80s and colleges needed to draw deeper and deeper to maintain enrollments, that’s when tuition took off and loans exploded. But the people pushing those policies and reaping the rewards were largely SIlents and early Boomers. The experience of the late Boomers (professionally) was fruitlessly chasing every dwindling tenure slots. From a student’s perspective Boomers got off easier than more recent generations, but even the trend started before the Boomers left.

    This pattern repeats over and over again. As the Boom worked its way through time, it drove changes where the existing stakeholders reaped large rewards, early cohorts piggy-backed on the trend and made lesser, but still significant gains, and then things flatten out.

    You even see this in politics. As others have noted, the geriatrics holding on to elected office in the US right now were born before the boom. Clinton, Bush and Trump are all from the very front of the boom. Obama was from the very end (1961) – there has not yet been an American president born in the 1950s, or even a major party nominee.

    I was born in 1962, but have never really identified as a Boomer – JFK was shot when I was one, I never saw Vietnam on the TV news. My siblings were younger, not older, and my parents were 30 years older. As such, what I’m describing here has always been apparent to me. There are two different things being conflated in the Baby Boom generation. The first is that actual generational experience of the Boomers. But unique to the Boomers was the profound demographic impact of its size, particular after the impact of depression and war on the generation prior. By shear demography, Boomers forced real changes in the allocation of resources in the US economy that created enormous wealth at the beginning, but left excess capacity struggling to find new markets as the bulge moved on. Politics being what it is, those struggling interests would lobby for preferences and support rather than restructure, and that means a worse deal for the following generation. But those demanding the preferences are those who were when things expanded to handle the boom – mainly Silents along with early Boomers. This is the cohort (from the Congressional Young Turks after the 1974 election to today) that has made the decisions and reaped the rewards. And hung on to power long past their expiration date.

  • phwest

    BTW – my generational thinking is influenced by Howe and Strauss (Fourth Turning). They were of the mind that the Boomers would be willing to sacrifice quite a bit in the coming Crisis (their cyclical concept, said crisis now appears overdue). I tend to agree, although it’s more that we’ll have to (I’ve always expected my benefits to be cut rather than my kids’ taxes raised, to the extent that if the situation is reversed I’ll probably just sent them the difference).

  • Alan Peakall

    Tax rises mean paying for what someone else wants.

    I think Milton Friedman’s view was that, however much tax was looted as his third kind of money, considerably more was squandered as his fourth kind of money: paying for what someone else thinks someone else (again) wants.

  • Jon

    Looking at the comments, I’m struck by how negative everyone is. Perhaps if the alternative to a state run behemoth sucking up more and more money and spaffing large quantities of it on pointless stuff (in amongst some life-saving operations that it performs at a quality which barely scrapes to average on most comparisons of international health systems) were presented in sunnier, more Reagan-like terms, the PM would have more air cover to do something different (assuming his attention span/ wife allowed him to contemplate it).

  • Paul Marks

    John Lewis – the defenders of General Milley claimed his October 2016 conversation with the military wing of the Chinese Communist Party dictatorship was approved by the civilian leadership, the Defence Secretary of the time has now denied that.

    We now need to know to hear the recordings (not a “transcript” – the actual recordings), to see whether General Milley should go to Leavenworth Military Prison.

    I remember this man during the campaign of 2020 – he went on television (BEFORE the election) to apologise for walking with President Trump to a church near the Whitehouse (a church that had been attacked by Marxist rioter). This television address was a Party Political Broadcast (as see say in Britain) for the left. It was outrageous.

  • Paul Marks

    Jon.

    Mexico, of all places, used to have quite good private medical care at a reasonable price – but then the “conservative” President Fox offered free health care to all, just as he offered “public-private-partnership” housing (very Agenda 2030, “Sustainable Development”) to vast numbers of people. That collapsed into a corrupt mess.

    The American situation is an abomination – the cost of health care has been exploded by subsidy schemes and endless regulations. The cost of health care in America is way out of the ability to pay of ordinary people – it did not use to be, back in (say) the 1920s most people were members of fraternal associations (religious or SECULAR) and, in spite of doctor licensing, health care was affordable. I would say that the insurance based system (which came in World War II – because employers were not allowed to increase wages, and so offered health care instead) worked well enough in the America of the 1950s – but then the statism of the 1960s (and later) messed everything up.

    Any mention of reform in the United Kingdom leads to the cry of “you want to turn us into America” – and no one wants that, the cost of American health care (let us be blunt – it is a massive scam, just like the university tuition costs) is world famous.

  • pete

    ‘Tax rises mean paying for what someone else wants.’

    Or needs and can’t afford.

    That’s how we have a civilised society and not a free for all.

    I’m happy to pay my fair share of taxes. I pay more than some people, less than others.

    Our Conservative government has realised that even many Conservative voters, people who often preach self-reliance to others, now expect the state to keep them in old age so they don’t have to spend their children’s inheritance.

    In this circumstance the government has no option but to raise taxes. If even affluent people with valuable assets won’t pay for their own care then it must be paid for via money raised as taxes by the state.

    We can argue whether a new tax is properly targeted or well designed, but there is no doubt that more taxes are needed now that even moneyed people expect state help in their old age.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Dear Pete, if someone claims he/she needs something, am I obliged to supply the need? Where would it end? The flaw in your argument is the assumption that the petitioner is a reasonable person. What if the ‘needy’ person has a parasitic attitude? Can you devise a foolproof test for the rest of us?

  • GregWA

    Regarding cancelling student debt, a couple years back I looked up 2 numbers: total student debt in the US and the total value of Ivy League endowments. Guess what, the numbers are close! Happy fact, eh? So, easy solution to student debt: take the funds needed for cancellation from the folks who created the debt in the first place! One caveat: I would have all the idiots who went into debt for useless degrees be left with some amount of debt–its too valuable a lesson to not let it be taught the right way!

    And why isn’t there a weekly half hour show on PBS where 3 or 4 University Presidents get grilled on why their prices have risen at least 2x more than inflation for like 30 years now. Close the show with some parents and students winding up with lots of rotten vegetables!

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