10 Jul 2012, 10:48pm
economy reflections


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  • The Guardian is telling me I’m living in poverty. Oh and a family needs £36k to get by these days

    Cripes. According to the Grauniad’s new campaign on Breadline Britain, the Ermine is living in abject poverty. Not only that, they appear to be in some confusion between the notions of income and wealth –

    Using key data from the Institute of Fiscal Studies […] you can see exactly how wealthy you really are.

    Really? The reason, dear Guardianistas, that you will never get rich is because you are stuck in a poor person’s mindset. You think only of selling your time for money, and therefore you assess how wealthy readers are by exclusively focusing on their incomes. So just to set you guys right, wealth is accumulated income that hasn’t been spent. Geddit? Although no doubt the Ermine is lacking many of the baubles and gewgaws that the IFS consider to be essential to a life well lived these days, like Sky TV and a smartphone, the reason the Grauniad decides I am subsisting below the poverty line is because my income is low. I am in the lowest 5% by taxable income, though in the upper 5% by net worth. That doesn’t quite set me into Monevator’s millionaire bracket ambitions, it simply shows how little accumulated wealth most Britons have. Presumably because they’re spending it on cars and childcare…

    In another article, the Graun shares with us the fact that a family of four need a combined income of £36k for a decent standard of living – a third more than before the recession.

    A large part of this seems to be due to rising expectations – said family needs to run a car and have broadband which it didn’t in 2008. I’m not sure if those nice chaps at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation are au fait with what the word recession means. It means living standards taking a hit. So those rising expectations had better be packed away in a dark place until the recession ends, if and when that happens. Old Mervyn King, while he’s not occupied giving brash American banksters the order of the boot, isn’t chipper about that happening any time real soon now. So, JRF, just put away those rising expectations for the moment, OK? Then we had this corker

    With the cost of bus travel doubling compared with the cost of owning and running a car, families said that having a car was now essential in urban areas outside London.These rising costs come as government cuts deeply into the subsidies paid to modern middle-class Britain.

    Well, colour me a cynical old so and so, but exactly why was the government subsidising the middle class in Britain? Did somebody discover the money tree in the last decade? Surely it is the very definition of middle class that you can basically pay your own way in the world…

    Now I’m probably going to get some hate for this, but apparently childcare is now these two child families’ biggest weekly outgoing. Which sort of begs the question of why the parents are spending time they’s probably like to spend with their kids in earning money so that … they can pay other people to spend the time with their kids rather than doing the job themselves. Seems a rum old situation, that.

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