Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Dream on if you think you'll ever get any benefit from your taxes

I've been working all my adult life since leaving university. All that time I have been paying tax on my earnings. I have never been hospitalised. Any dental work I have had I have paid for.

I have no choice but to pay taxes. It is taken from me anyway, as it is from everyone who works, whether they consent to the deduction or not. I am expected to understand that, at some strange time in the future, I will need the NHS and then the tax I have paid will come in to play and I will get free, excellent healthcare, as a grateful state repays me for all the decades of my contributions to the health service. And/or that my tax payments will somehow return to me in the form of a state pension.

If I get ill, disabled, clinically depressed or in some other state of confusion and disarray, my taxes will pick me up and sustain me through free care.

The problem is we all know this is garbage. Car tax and insurance, mortgage payments, a hundred other cash commitments from direct debits for phone, heating, lighting to basic food, to charitable donations to ease my conscience for being born white and western, very long hours, no holidays ... These are the prices I have to pay for being in employment.

No one pays my mortgage, my food bills, buys my clothes, other than me. When I am old, the young and able-bodied will plunder my tax contributions AND my savings to pay for their unemployment, just as we are beginning to do, while they leave their own disabled and needy on the streets begging, as we have been doing for years.

Long, long ago, people lost any sense that their taxes were in any meaningful way "saving up" for old age. Less and less do we feel that it is the needy who are benefiting from benefits. Poverty is relative.

The old steam-driven 1950s publicity machine for the Left which would have us believe in Dickensian levels of grinding debasing poverty in our towns and cities needs to work overtime even to persuade us that people who work, are poorly paid, are burdened by bills which those on benefits do not pay themselves, somehow don't count.

The problem for the Left is that the working class, actually, have become the oppressor class – perhaps the new espresso class. For the Left, the non-working class are the true poor and the true needy but those, sadly, don't vote.

Trying to get the working class to subsidise the feckless, the scrounger, the 'never worked a day in his life' individual of urban working class lore, is the real challenge for well-heeled Labour voters. No wonder Labour have failed even to suggest alternative methods of dealing with the pension expectations of every single person in the country, on benefits or in work; let alone how we might plug the national debt, stop borrowing, make ends meet.

So, even though there was much stamping of middle-class sandals on Monday April 1, the day absurdly described by these comical people as the day the NHS died, there were no demonstrations.

Oh yes, plenty of attempts to characterise Cameron and Duncan Smith and Osborne as demonic, hand-rubbing villainous ideologues. But no threats of national strikes, no walk outs by nurses.

In short, those in work know very well that they are being fleeced and have been for decades and have no appetite for marching on behalf of the benefit class.

And we also know that the NHS ceased being anywhere you want to end up in decades ago. As anyone with elderly parents will tell you.

As anyone trying to get a stairlift in will tell you. Or a downstairs toilet. If you are old – or thinking of getting old – here's a tip. Sell up now and spend it. Get a social housing bungalow and start living there now.

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