Now They Want the Sick Pay we Already Paid For – with Our National Insurance!


Where has all the National Insurance Gone?

While Labour are (quite rightly) debating the future of the Labour Party, the Tories continue with their  supposed brainwashing of the electorate.

The latest scam is they want to take away from the  mutual safety net which trade unions have worked for is sick pay.  Just as they want pensions gone, soon weekends will be gone,  and they’ll want to cut holidays back before long.

IDS sick

Today the Guardian reports that David Cameron has the audacity to suggest that workers should save money to pay for their own sick pay. Even if wages were at a high enough level to self insure as Cameron suggests…. what on earth was National Insurance intended to be for? We have already paid for our pensions, for our sick pay, for the safety net in case  for whatever reason we have the misfortune to be unemployed. Where have our funds gone? If funds were insufficient it isn’t because workers never paid their share.

But not everyone paid their share. It is because of greedy landlords who benefit from housing benefit because rents skyrocketed. It is because workers  wages were undercut. It’s because Thatcher closed down industries where goods could be made cheaper where workers had no rights or protection. Our towns and cities became wastelands of unemployment. Our trade unions were crushed.

The buy-to-let landlords  even got tax relief while workers wages were frozen. Who has profited? Banks, insurance companies, rich people who pay no tax. Those who sit on masses of funds in hedge funds, where a government facilitates tax avoidance, and profits from it. It was and it still is a hidden welfare state. While poverty porn is shown on the TV screens to portray a lie that workers are lazy and the sick and unemployed are work-shy, they continue to profit and to abuse.

David Cameron is prepared to look at making workers pay into flexible saving accounts to fund their own sick pay or unemployment benefits, Downing Street has confirmed.

The idea was first floated by Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, who said he was “very keen” to have a debate about encouraging people to use personal accounts to save for unemployment or illness, even though it is not official government policy.

“We need to support the kind of products that allow people through their lives to dip in and out when they need the money for sickness or care or unemployment,” Duncan Smith told the Sunday Telegraph.

“We need to encourage people to save from day one but they need to know that they can get some of the money out when their circumstances change. This is not government policy but I am very keen to look at it, as a long-term way forward for the 21st century.”

Duncan Smith appeared to be suggesting a move to a kind of unemployment insurance scheme as seen in the US or products known as “fortune accounts”, which are used in Singapore. (Guardian)

WE cannot, MUST NOT continue not to oppose this government. Harriet Harman offering to support the cuts to child tax credits while leader of the Opposition is an absolute disgrace. This government is set to divide people. Collective mutual responsibility is something they attack. Mutual responsibility is at the heart of civilisation. Throwing people aside such as this government are doing is both heartless and uncivilised. None of us know when we will be ill. WE will not turn our back on each other. WE stand together. Everyone benefits from the investment people put into society. It is unfair to put more and more responsibility on the wage packets of struggling working people.

When rich global companies pay little or no corporation tax,  when  companies earn money in one country and pay no tax – when  people can hold land on which they can increasingly profit and still do not pay fairly into society, then it’s pretty a rotten  state. Jeremy Corbyn’s priority is to bring justice and fairness into a society  by closing tax loopholes and ensuring that everyone who can pay contributes fairly.

WE need to challenge this government , we need a leader who is not frightened to challenge their lies, and to speak honestly, clearly and truthfully and counteract the effect of the Tory Press.

EU: Greek Crisis : “Reforms? – I Don’t Think So! “, Bryan Gould


Greek Crisis: This is No Reform

From Bryan Gould Previously Published here

As the Greek crisis unfolds, we are constantly informed by the world’s media that the European power-brokers will agree to a further bail-out only if Greece implements a programme of “reforms”. Most people will see this as confirming their understanding of what the crisis is about. The Greeks, it seems, have mismanaged their economy; so what could be more sensible and reasonable than to insist, as a condition of any further help provided to them, that they should improve their economic management? And, if they refuse to “reform”, surely they have no one to blame but themselves?

The constant use of the term “reforms”, however – no doubt seen by the media as a neutral and objectively accurate term – is nevertheless grossly misleading. It reflects a view of the crisis that is very much that taken by the Germans and their client states, but is a long way removed from what is really at issue. It has become a real obstacle to a clear view of the causes of the crisis and of the only realistic way forward.

When the Global Financial Crisis (for which the Greeks had little or no responsibility) exposed the frailty of the Greek economy, and the level of indebtedness that they had been allowed and encouraged to take on as the price of living with the euro, Greece found that they were unable to repay their creditors. Those creditors agreed to bail them out, but on condition that they put in place a programme of “reforms”. The Greeks had little option but to agree.

Some of the “reforms” were long overdue, and addressed some of the obvious failings – the inefficiencies, the slackness, the unduly generous social provision, the tax evasion – that had characterised Greek economic management. But many others were designed to impose on Greece the kind of austerity measures that the euro zone leaders had insisted on as a response to recession and which – it is now clear – have condemned the European economy as a whole to a prolonged stagnation.

Those measures had a particularly direct and damaging effect on the Greek economy. Public spending was cut, pensions and other benefits reduced, tight monetary policy introduced, bank lending fell. As many warned at the time, it was hard to see how a weak and uncompetitive economy that had run up large debts and that was now required to take on the burden of repaying them could hope to do so if they were at the same time obliged to adopt policies that ensured that the economy got smaller.

And so it has proved. The entirely predictable outcome of the “reforms” made by the Greeks has been that their economy is now 25% smaller than it was and unemployment has soared. Their ability to service and repay their debts is much reduced. But none of that seems to worry their taskmasters; they insist on yet another round of further “reforms” as the price of extending the bail-out.

The extraordinary aspect of this is that the course insisted upon by the creditors is not even in their own interests. The “reforms” they demand can only reduce still further the Greeks’ ability to repay what they owe. With the best will in the world, the Greeks will find that – after a few more years of “reforms” – they are yet deeper in the mire.

So what is really in play here? The answer lies in ideology. There are, after all, many precedents in recent times for what the Canadian writer, Naomi Klein, in her influential book The Shock Doctrine, has described as “disaster capitalism”. Countries faced with natural disasters or political paralysis or economic collapse, and that need as a result to ask the IMF or some other agency for help, have all too often been required to put in place what are usually called “structural reforms” as the price of that help.

So, countries like Chile, recovering from the turmoil of the Pinochet dictatorship, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Poland, and Russia, have all found themselves obliged to implement policies of privatisation, deregulation and savagely reduced public spending in order to qualify for help. In each case, the results have been the same – economies where inequality widens rapidly, the fat cats make large fortunes overnight and ordinary people suffer poverty and unemployment.

It is not just economies facing specific crises that have fallen victim to “disaster capitalism”. When the Japanese economy stagnated in the 1990s after several decades of rapid growth, the remedy prescribed by western experts was “structural reform”. But, as Professor Richard Werner of Southampton University and a former Shimomuran Fellow with the Bank of Japan has demonstrated, the nostrums so dear to the hearts of neo-classical economists failed over more than two decades to solve the problems but instead entrenched them. They have now been abandoned by Shinzo Abe’s government.

What we are witnessing in Europe is, in other words, a triumph of ideology over common sense and constantly repeated experience. As always, the price for these mistakes is paid by ordinary people. Reforms? I don’t think so.

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