Why claming benefits aids the economy as well as helping you

There’s a number of people in the media, in the Tory Party and probably sitting right next to you, so here’s a wee point and a lesson in economics for those saying ”how will benefits fund themselves” at the likes of Sturgeon, Corbyn or anyone supporting the welfare state.

This is simple. You have a ‘welfare budget’. You assign those benefits to people. So far so simple, but how do people on benefits help the economy? Well, we know people on benefits spend what they have to survive (try living on 70 quid a week, you can’t save) so the money flows in a circle from government-recipient of benefits-retail outlet (or wherever you need to spend your money)-back to government via VAT or other taxes. People on benefits will spend what they get. putting it directly back into the system, so they’re paying people’s wages, etc just like anyone else is, and seeing as many of the items people on benefits will buy will at the very least have VAT on it, they’re paying taxes. In short, they’re paying their way and are invested in society.

In a universal system it’s a finely tuned machine as it essentially ends up funding itself. Sadly the Tories and Labour don’t believe in a universal system, choosing instead to means test which means the most vulnerable are often not able to access what they’re due which means billions of pounds of benefits lie unclaimed each year with £4.6bn of Housing Benefit lying unclaimed in 2014-15. Creating bureaucracies (which is what the whole purpose of means testing is) scares people off.

So when a Tory, or something of that ilk say the benefits system is broken they’re right but it isn’t because people are scamming the system (government figures of fraud is miniscule) but it’s because the system is now designed to keep you from money that you’re owed as a citizen. Claim every single penny you’re due and be proud of it. It’s your right and unless you’re the sort of bastard that’ll hide it in offshore accounts then you’ll spend it down the shop, or to pay your bills and feed it back into the economy. It is the job of government to make sure the economy is in a healthy state, and it isn’t the fault of people on benefits that the economy is crashing. That’s down to their failure to deal with the deficit, and walking out of Brexit negotiations with ”no deal” would be the sort of peacetime disaster we are not going to be able to deal with but will be the end of the welfare state as the government will mine it for revenue. Remember though, things like pensions are a contract you and I have with the government. They mine that to pay for their failures of managing the economy they are breaking a contract.

The Welfare State is a machine. It works if it’s left to work. It isn’t a system that leaves people luxuriating in a Hogarthian stupor. It is a system that now barely keeps people existing to forcing people to kill themselves due to being sanctioned for what little money they have coming from the state. It should be better, but it isn’t because of successive governments failing to do what they should or/and attacking the system to destroy it.

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A vote for the Tories is a vote for their cruel policies

That’s the simple fact in the elections coming up, both local and UK wide. Vote Tory, and you vote for their policies. You may think Ruth Davidson is all jolly hockey sticks and not like other Tories, or that Theresa May is a ‘strong’ leader.or if you want to ‘send a message’ about a second independence referendum, or block a second EU referendum so voting Tory becomes an option then remember what you’re voting for.

You’re voting for the party of food banks. You’re voting for the party that cuts PIP payments. You’re voting for the party of the bedroom tax. For the party of austerity.For the party that’s driving people to kill themselves rather than live in a country where the government makes their lives hell.

That’s what you’re voting for. You’re voting for a party with no sense of human decency. Consider that in the local elections in May and in the general election. Do you really want to give Theresa May the mandate to run riot with worker’s and human rights?

So, a simple choice. Vote for a party who’ll beat a Tory candidate or for a Tory who’ll back people’s lives being made intolerable. Make your choice.

Who to vote for in the 2017 General Election?

Some election thoughts on the cusp of what is going to be a hellish election campaign…

In Scotland it’s simple. Vote SNP, get that second referendum happening and then we go out and win it so we can break free of the Union and hopefully end the ideology of Unionism.I’m not an SNP voter. I’ll be putting the Greens at the top of my preferences for the local elections in a fortnight, but we need to break this cycle we’re in as well as rejoining a more socially democratic Europe than the increasingly far-right British state we’re in.

Wales-Vote for Plaid. Labour have let you down far too often. The Tories will laugh at you if you do and if you vote UKIP then Wales will rue the day you elected a UKIP MP.

Northern Ireland-Vote for the candidate who will beat the Unionist one. If that’s Sinn Fien, Alliance or SDLP, it doesn’t matter. The less Unionists NI return the less Tory enablers there are.

England-Dear god, England, you have issues. Don’t vote Tory but outwith of Brighton and Bristol voting Green won’t work. Voting Lib Dem means voting for Tory enablers as Farron’s rhetoric about creating a ‘soft’ Brexit only makes sense when you realise their unspoken tactic is hoping for a hung parliament and siding with the Tories.

This leaves Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. There’s an expression in NI-”vote til you boak” and I think in England, you’ll be boaking your guts out as Corbyn’s a Brexiter who’s enabled Theresa May throughout this process but you have no other choice. Voting Tory would be a disaster. I fear though the damage Labour constantly inflicts upon itself is too severe and they’ll take a pounding.

The Tories win this election and Theresa May gains the sort of power no Prime Minister should have. This will be the last cry of Unionism/Imperialism and the sort of ultra-British nationalism once thought to be unelectable but normalised through a media crying out for blood and a Westminster elite that have pandered to the worst for too long. We may have an escape route up here but fucks sake, whatever you do next month don’t vote Tory/UKIP/Lib Dem/Unionist or we’re screwed.

A word about the snap General Election

After writing this I thought things couldn’t get weirder or more scary. Then Theresa May calls a snap general election on the 8th of June and the arse falls out of any idea we might be hitting a phase of relative sanity.

Using the line The country is coming together but Westminster is not May obviously sees a chance based upon current polls to have the sort of majority that we’ve not seen since the Tony Blair years. May is essentially going to have to scrap the Fixed Terms Parliaments Act to hold this snap election which may well provide some more interesting snippets as although the Tories are putting on a united front, there’s a lot of Tories out there (Hi David Mundell!!) sitting on paper-thin majorities in areas that thanks to Brexit may well be facing unemployment in June.The Act was designed to stop PM’s doing just what May is doing which is hold an election when the polls are favourable.

Problem is polls can be read wrong. Take the Scottish independence referendum. David Cameron happily let the Scottish Government hold a referendum in 2014 the polls showed only around 20% support for independence. That changed over the campaign as more people became informed of the issues, so May’s taking a risk but this is a risk which if it pays off means she personally has an eye-watering majority (if the polls are accurate around 100) not to mention she intends to change the makeup of the Lords, while Brexit hands her the sort of power no Prime Minister should have.

So this is about Theresa May grabbing power. See all that bumf about ‘division’? That’s about creating a state where the opposition is muted and ineffective where it needs to be in Westminster. There’s also the matter of the Tory election fraud scandal which menaces the Tories and taints their 2015 victory, though as Michael Crick points out, this means the hard decisions are now in the hands of the CPS.

The question you have to ask yourself is what sort of future you want for yourself and for others? This is a general election where the future of the UK itself is up for grabs. If you want a future where Tory Prime Ministers have the sort of power where they can sail through whatever they want unopposed though Westminster then look to see where your vote belongs.In Scotland that means voting for the SNP, a party I reluctantly will give my vote to in June (I find their economic policies to be far too conservative) because their social policies are good and they’ll beat not just the Tories, but a hopeless broken Labour Party who’ve run up the white flag on Brexit.

Elsewhere in the UK its down to you to make the choice. I hope Corbyn’s smart and takes the offer of a progressive alliance Ed Milliband refused in 2015 but I fear the Labour Ultras won’t do that. I hope I’m proven wrong. Whatever you do make the right choice because we have a choice and if that choice is Tory (or UKIP) then we’re heading down the same path as Turkey, America, Russia and possibly France in having a hard authoritarian leader who stamps over human rights. Do we really want to be on the dark side in the years ahead?

Is your job useful to anyone at all?

At work today people had a meeting about a future meeting where the new management structure is to be rolled out including a new member of staff who will be responsible for corporate transparency. When I pointed out the Kafakaesque internal bureaucracy and the fact that if my employer actually wanted to be transparent then they wouldn’t roll these things out to a small clique of people interested in their own fiefdoms which means they make their jobs worthwhile, and therefore essential, even though really, they don’t do anything.

This is the phenomenon of ‘bullshit jobs’. Jobs created by companies that don’t actually do anything but add another lair of management, bureaucracy or general bullshit to the day-to-day operation of a business. These jobs often have no point or function but to give someone something to do that really isn’t worthwhile in any shape, form or function. So when this afternoon I saw an interview in Vice with David Graeber, an academic (and also an anarchist) and the author of the rather good The Democracy Project and the man that made the phrase ”bullshit jobs” one that lept into the public domain.

Graeber’s main point is ”that we’re trapped in jobs created by the ruling classes to feed into their debt extraction schemes”. Jobs are created so people can be fleeced for profit by employers or even higher up the food chain. It’s an idea I tend to agree with as people around me every day do jobs where they’re simply putting figures into spreadsheets nobody is going to look at but need to be done because that’s what’s done. If they stopped their ‘work’ for a day it’d mean very little as ultimately they can be easily replaced so people become interchangeable which means they lose self worth, and that means people live only for the few times they can cut loose or even attempt to be themselves. Few can articulate their problems because thanks to the daily grind, they’re more taken up by the daily struggle for survival.

Now people can do these jobs and work hard, but it’s ultimately worthless work that wouldn’t have made people gain a seat on the B Ark, and there’s the problem. People know either deep down that their job is worthless and bullshit, or they try to keep their feelings of pointlessness suppressed as otherwise they’d be reaching for the revolver. These aren’t teachers, nurses, scientists, doctors or anything that society needs or makes the world a better place, but these are jobs the private sector creates to make it seem like they’re creating employment, when in fact, they’re only helping people exist rather than live. It’s depressing but this is neoliberalism in action so we’re faced with a choice come the general election in May of supporting the neoliberal consensus or perhaps rocking the boat enough to perhaps start something new so that in a decade people can do jobs that aren’t just there so people can feel better not just about their jobs, but their entire lives.