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Thursday, 18 February 2010

Bashing the rich won't work for Obama. But other rallying-cries might | Michael Tomasky | Comment is free | The Guardian‏

An article about Obama's predicament in America, but relevant here.
"They are a Medicare programme that will cost senior citizens more and give them less coverage, in effect the end of social security as a public programme, and very deep cuts to programmes that help protect the environment and build transport links and fund scientific research and do a host of other things. Those are the consequences of your low-tax country. If you want it, go vote for it. I'll just go and write my memoir and play golf.

I think that kind of argument might have stronger political legs than FDR-style class warfare. There's no proletariat any more. But there are millions of middle-class people who rely on government services and millions of elderly people who literally could not live without Medicare and social security. Reminding them of this and putting choices before them might prove more efficacious than bashing the rich."
Now that's interesting. Rather than focusing on tax, talk about services. You want X, Y, or Z service from the state? Well, it'll cost ya. I mean, for the poor these things should (ideally) be non-negotiable. Keep the principle of 'need, not ability to pay' for those who can't pay themselves. But as we get further up the scale towards the middle-classes and above, some of them can afford not go private. The trick is to persuade them that public is better, especially as they'd be paying twice.
I like a nice bit of class war me, especially as I count myself as middle-class and Them being them significantly richer and more powerful than me (almost everyone, according to that definition).
There is a stinking great hole in the public finances that needs a big old wad of cash to fill it. Tax rises should be a big part of that. and taxes on those people who can afford to spend less of their income (as a proportion). So those who have to spend most of their money suffer minimal tax rises. Those who can afford to save some, or spend it on luxuries, should see bigger rises.
Ideologically, that all gives me a warm and gooey feeling inside. But right now it might just be our best way back to economic growth and filling the said stinking great hole

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