There was a report released today from the Social Market Foundation, (SMF), showing the results of the recession over the last decade. Using the standard marketing segments and taking into account income and savings, the results produced are startling. The richest segment were 64% richer at the end of the decade while the poorest were 57% worse off in real terms. Moreover, the age ranges also show significant results, in that 26 to 35 year olds are doing much worse than older age groups.
In other words, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer, (Finance Minister), trumpets economic recovery it is only good news for the richest. Most people are worse off than they were before. The recession started under the government led by New Labour, under Tony Blair, (I cannot bring myself to describe him as a socialist). It is no wonder that the poor are beginning to feel picked on by both major parties and are turning to false Messiahs for some message of hope or to justify putting the blame on some minority.
But what does it matter in the long run. It was ever thus. Politicians always try to make friends with the rich and powerful, and the poor can go to hell in a hand cart. Well, not always, but it needs politicians of conviction who have a genuine empathy with the poor to change things. They should remember that they are put there to be our servants, and not our masters. The happiest societies are those where the gap between richest and poorest is the least wide, which is why ours is so divided and unhappy.
Another study, a couple of weeks ago and from the US found that the theory that if you make the rich even more wealthy, they will spread their wealth around, the so-called trickle-down effect, was a pile of fetid dingoes kidneys. The reverse is true, a sort of trickle-up effect. Laws and taxes are weighed against the poor and those of average income in favour of the rich, who squirrel money away in foreign accounts and find creative ways to avoid paying anything.
Leona Helmsley is reported to have said, “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” That came out at her trial for tax evasion. Well, there are a lot more little people than there are big people, and the big people should realise that it is in their own interests to make some contribution to the societies that made them rich. Of course they will kick and scream and prevaricate and dissemble to avoid making a contribution. Hell hath no fury like a vested interest masquerading as a meritocracy.
It’s the same the whole world over,
Ain’t it all a bloomin’ shame.
It’s the rich wot gets the pleasure,
And the poor wot gets the blame