29 Jun 2010, 11:13am
economy:
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  • Cameron Tells Us to Get On Our Bikes, The World Doesn’t Owe Us a Living

    Actually he didn’t, any more than Norman Tebbit did all those years ago, but I couldn’t let the truth stand in the way of a good title. It’s pretty much what he meant, anyway. And I like it. He’s put his finger on it

    “I think too many people in this country are living under the delusion that a prosperous past guarantees a prosperous future. But it isn’t written anywhere that this country deserves a place at the top table.

    It was once said that freedom once won is not won for ever; it’s like an insurance premium – each generation must renew it. Economic prosperity is the same. Just because we’ve had it before doesn’t mean we’ll automatically get it again.”

    He’s nailed it. In Britain at the moment too many of us have the viewpoint that somebody else needs to come along and sort out our problems. All of ’em.

    And therein lies the rub. There are some pieces of misfortune that afflict people that we should collectively help out with – illness, accident, specific misfortunes. But if we just can’t be bothered to shift ourselves, well sod it. Why should other people help out with our lifestyle choices?

    I want to retire 8 years early. I am not asking anybody else to pay for me to do that – essentially I have to both reduce costs and save up to be able to bridge the 8 year gap until my main retirement savings come on stream. Or make money some other way by selling skills. Nobody else is asked to pay for my lifestyle, and nor should they. If I’m so damn precious that I want to stop working then it is up to me to sort myself out so I can do that.

    So this article in the Grauniad from a guy earning 43k whingeing about the budget “Am I really a Fat Cat” really hacked me off. The short answer is “yes you bloody well are, mate”

    Said individual earns £42k, has two kids 8 and 10, his wife hardly works, receives £1000 in State child benefits,  and he’s struggling if he  loses £545 of child tax credits and pays more in VAT. Struggling, that is, to have TWO holidays a year. I haven’t had one holiday last year. Not because I can’t afford it, but because I want to do something else with the money! Holidays are a luxury, not a right, FFS.

    The last priceless whinge was

    “Has the government committed an own goal to match Gordon Brown’s 10p tax rate blunder? Only time will tell. The budget was certainly tough, but was it fair? Not from where I’m standing.

    One thing I do know, though, is that there will be a lot of very unhappy parents, many of who have already seen their pay frozen, when they realise that they are ones that have suffered by far the most in this budget. Thanks, George.”

    Suck it up mate. As pasty-faced Dave said, the world doesn’t owe you a living. The child-free have taken a soaking during Labour’s tenure, and it’s payback time. Twice in my life I have asked myself the child question, and both times I came to the conclusion that I didn’t earn enough to be able to support any putative progeny and maintain a lifestyle that met my needs and wants at the time. So guess what? I didn’t have them! I never factored in child tax credit this or whatever, it was could we manage to raise a child on one salary? If the answer was no, the course of action was obvious.

    There are many people that raise two kids on less than £42000. They just have a lower material quality of life. The fact that people keep doing this presumably means that weighed in the round, the joy of having your own kids outweighs the hit it takes on your material wealth. Which is great. As a child-free individual, I don’t even mind subbing schools and all that – in the end this is all to the good and makes our society better. I’d like to see a sponsorship process paid from taxation, for poor bright kids to be able to go to uni without being crippled by debt, to invest in future Britain.

    But what I do mind is subbing the individual lifestyle choices of people like Miles Brignall, who has to “ask if a family income of £42,000 really puts you in the ranks of the well-off”

    The answer’s yes, mate. It does. If you want to lower costs, get a better quality of life and see your kids more, take a 25k job nearer to home to cut commuting costs and get your wife to work, since the kids are school age. Bingo, no Higher Rate Tax or £3k season tickets to King’s Cross.

    The reason London prices are inflated is that there are a lot of rich people there. If you want to swim in the same pool as them and have your salary in the upper 10%, then you have to take the decor too, and some of that is higher-rate tax and expensive commuting.

    Pasty-faced Dave hit the nail on the head. It’s time more of us in the UK took responsibility for our lifestyle choices, because the world doesn’t owe us a living.

     
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