07 Nov

Mythbuster No.1 – “My taxes pay for those scroungers!”

 

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It is a myth that workers pay tax on their income.  The wage that a worker brings home, their take home pay, is their income.  The tax is paid by their employer.

The wage that a worker takes home is the price of the mental and physical energy, the labour power, which a worker sells to an employer.  A worker must sell this labour power as they have no other way to sustain themselves.  They need to earn money in order to survive.  The wage is determined by the amount of money the worker needs to live on, e.g. money for food, clothes, rent etc.  Market forces, and trade union action, maintain a workers wage at a level that they have been trained for, and that will allow the worker to maintain themselves, and their family, in order to produce the next generation of workers.  In effect, the workers are being farmed by the capitalist class, provided with just enough to maintain health, to reproduce, and to continue generating profit.  Therefore, the real price of labour power is what is actually taken home after tax.

A tax on wages will tend to increase wages, as workers, through their unions, will put pressure on employers to ensure that take home pay remains the same, and they are still able to purchase everything they need to survive and to reproduce.  It is the employer who pays the additional taxes out of their profit.  Inversely, the benefit of a tax cut will go to the employer, as wages will tend to decrease, and the employer will pay less in tax, increasing their profit.  These changes do not happen automatically, but as a result of market forces, which will have a tendency to ensure that the working class receive the value of their labour power.

The arguments over tax undertaken by the various political parties are just arguments over which section of the capitalist class will bear the brunt of the costs for maintaining the capitalist state.  The state needs this money to administer capitalism.  The state needs to ensure that the capitalists are provided with a fit, healthy, educated workforce.  This means providing education, healthcare and support during unemployment.  Unemployment is necessary as it provides a flexible stand-by workforce for the next capitalist venture.  There can never be full employment in a capitalist system.

The state also needs to top up low wages with tax credits, which can be thought of as wages paid indirectly by employers via the tax they pay.  The tax credits aren’t paid for by workers, but by the employers via taxation.  Taxes also pay for the police and armed forces that help protect the capitalist class and maintain the current system.

So, the next time you feel like saying “it’s my taxes that keep that dole scrounger alive”, or “it’s my taxes that pay for that foreigner to live in this country”, remember, you have not paid those taxes, your employer has.

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17 Oct

Social Mobility and Child Poverty

State of the Nation 2013: social mobility and child poverty in Great Britain was published today by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.

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The report finds that we live in a divided country, with disadvantage strongly shaping life chances.  Two thirds of Britain’s poor children are in families where an adult works, working full-time in three quarters of those.

The rising cost of living have been identified as impacting low-income families disproportionately, with significant downward pressure on average real wages, wages which did not keep pace with economic growth before the recession, and have undergone significant cuts since.  The ‘middle-class’ are being left behind by the top.

The Commission concludes that we remain a divided country, with disadvantage strongly shaping life chances.  The reforms brought in to end social disadvantage have failed.

Despite the facts staring them in the face, the Commission has failed to recognise that poverty and a lack of social mobility are an inherent part of a capitalist society.  Wage increases, recommended by the Commission, will not lift people out of poverty, and working class people will not be given the opportunity to escape from wage slavery.  We are conned into thinking that we can climb the social ladder and better our class position.  The report even recommends childcare improvements to allow parents to work more to raise income and unlock social progress.  This will only increase the profits of the owning class. Social mobility is a myth.

Of course, there is no ‘middle-class’, just the working class and the owning class.  The widening gap between the ‘middle-class’ and the owning class is the widening gap between the working class and the owning class.  As long as the system of production for profit remains, the working class and owning class will remain in opposition, the working class fighting to improve wages and working conditions, and the owning class trying to resist any encroachment on profits.  No reforms can remove this fundamental aspect of the capitalist society.

The only way to banish poverty for all and to remove the divisions that exist in our society is to end production for profit, and replace it with the common ownership of the wealth of the planet, and production based on need.  The Commission would then be able to report on a global society without barriers and an end to child poverty.

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22 Sep

The rich don’t create wealth, the workers do.

 

Businessman Throwing Money into the Air

 

Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Justice, has been waffling on about how the rich are the ‘wealth creators‘, creating wealth for the whole of society.  This is an old argument that the rich like to use when threatened with taxation.

The rich will say, “If you tax us too heavily, we won’ t have any money left to re-invest in job creation.  We work hard, we sweat and sacrifice to create jobs for workers.”

What Chris Grayling conveniently forgets is that it is the working class who work hard, who sweat and sacrifice  just to get by.  The rich don’t have to work.  They can sit back and live off the profits generated by the workers.  Our labour is the source of their wealth.  Where there is money to be made, the capitalist class do not hold back on job creation.  If business is not investing and generating new jobs, it is because there is no profit to be made, not because of higher taxes.

As for hanging on to wealth, the rich are very good at that.  None of the wealth created by the capitalist class is finding its way to the working class, and wages have stagnated since the 1970’s.  The gap between rich and poor is getting bigger and bigger.

So Chris, give it a rest.  The wealth created by the workers ends up in one place, the pockets of the rich.

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19 Sep

The Labour Party is not the workers’ party

The Labour Party claims to be the party of working people in the UK, and the latest spin, of a One Nation Labour, attempts to paint a picture of us all being in it together, from bottom to top.

This article claims to uncover the hidden riches of the higher echelons of the Labour Party.  It will come as no surprise  that positions of power are held by those with the most money.  However, working people are likely to be surprised by the fact that the Labour Party, as supporters of capitalism, are directly opposed to working class interests.

In our current, capitalist society, the means to produce and distribute goods and services are owned by small minority.  As the vast majority of people, the workers, own nothing, they have to work in order to pay for the things that they need to survive.  Workers buy back the things that they have made from the owners, the capitalist class.  The capitalist class can just sit back and live off the profits of the workers labour.

The less money that the capitalist class needs to spend on wages and working conditions, the more profit they will make.  Therefore, the capitalist class will do its best to spend as little as possible on wages and working conditions.  The workers want to earn as much money as possible, within a safe working environment.  Therefore, the working class will try its hardest to improve wages and working conditions.  This results in a class struggle between the working class and the capitalist class.

The state has evolved, along with capitalism, as a means of ensuring social control in the interests of the capitalist class.  Thus, any party that supports capitalism, and seeks to run a capitalist society through Parliament, stands against the working class.

We are not all in it together, there is no ‘One Nation’.  The capitalist class at the top will continue to exploit the rest of us, with the aid of whatever Government is in power.  This is a two-tier Nation, the haves and have nots.  Only when there is a global socialist society will we all be in it together.

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10 Sep

Why do unions donate to the Labour Party?

The_hand_that_will_rule_the_world

 

Unions were formed by workers joining together in order to improve working conditions and pay.  Workers are always having to fight to improve, or maintain, their working conditions and pay because their employers, the capitalist class, are always trying to maximise profits.  The less spent on working conditions and pay, the higher the profits.  This is the ‘class war’ between the workers and the capitalist class.

Any political party in government, or in opposition, that does not want to overthrow capitalism, supports a capitalist society.  Therefore, any political party not opposed to capitalism supports the capitalist class.  The Labour Party, whether in government or in opposition, supports a capitalist society, and will always support the capitalist class over the workers.  Why on earth have trade unions been paying money to a political party that will always oppose their members in disputes against the capitalist class?

If trade union members really want to improve their working conditions they should support the overthrow of the capitalist system and stop giving money to the Labour Party.

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29 Aug

Evidence of chemical weapon attack on UK population

We should be calling on our western allies to come to our aid and bomb … our own government.

This story from the Observer in 2002 describes how the UK government has exposed the population to a wide variety of toxic chemicals.

Unfortunately our western allies have also experimented on their own populations.  The US government has admitted to a wide range of inhumane and unethical experiments, a summary is available here.

 

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30 Jul

Renewable energy for all

A community power co-operative has been established in Somerset, and is asking for investors to buy into a solar energy scheme.  The scheme will  consist of a 1,000 kW ground-mounted solar photovoltaic system in two paddocks, just to the north of Wedmore.

The co-operative states that “Wedmore Community Power Co-operative Ltd has been set up to enable local people to make use of solar energy and share in the financial rewards that exist to encourage it.” More info here.

While every effort to encourage the use of renewable energy is to be lauded, it is unfortunate that economic benefits are necessary for its implementation.  In a socialist society, where decisions are made based on the needs of society, rather than the profits of a few, the use of renewable energy could be dramatically increased.  Every home could make use of technologies such as solar panels and photovoltaics.  Energy production could be decentralised, and supported by energy generation at offshore wind, wave or tidal power.

The only limits to the development of these technologies are the limits imposed by capitalism.  The limits created by the need for profit.  Profit that will be used to generate more growth, and more profit, and more growth until our natural habitat is destroyed.

Released from the need to create profit, research into renewable energy sources could develop rapidly, which could ultimately end our reliance on fossil fuels.  A habitable planet is a need of society, and the needs of society will be met by socialism.

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17 Jul

Tolpuddle Festival

It’s the Tolpuddle Festival this weekend at Tolpuddle, near Dorchester in Dorset.

The festival celebrates the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who were transported to Australia after forming a trade union, and were released following mass protests, and petitions demanding their freedom.

It looks like tickets for events on Friday and Saturday are sold out, but events on Sunday, including the march through Tolpuddle, are free.

Representatives from the Socialist Party of Great Britain will be there manning a literature stall, and will be happy to answer any questions regarding socialism.

Full details of the festival and a programme of events are available here.

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15 Jul

Homes for all in a socialist society.

A report has been published that shows large parts of the UK as being ‘off limits” to lower income families (here).

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you want to live in a society where everyone has access to home, and homelessness and overcrowding do not exist; where good quality housing is available to all everywhere, and people aren’t forced to live in poor conditions due to poverty; where you do not need to live in fear of eviction if your landlord decides to sell your home?

If you would like to live in a society where you are guaranteed a home, then take a look at the Socialist Party of Great Britain’s website for further information.

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11 Jul

Global wealth and income inequality

A report was published by Oxfam in January 2013 calling for an end to extreme wealth by 2025 (here).  The report includes some interesting data showing that the rich are indeed getting richer:

  • In the US, the share of national income going to the top 1% has doubled since 1980 from 10% to 20%.  The share of national income going to the top 0.01% has quadrupled;
  • In China, the top 10% take home 60% of the national income;
  • In the UK, inequality is returning to levels not seen since the time of Charles Dickens (who died a few years after the publication of Karl Marx’s Capital); and
  • Following the global financial crisis, the growth in income of the top 1% has increased globally, and sales of luxury goods have achieved double digit growth every year.

 

The report goes on to describe the inequality as economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive, environmentally destructive and unethical.

The report also describes the inequality as not inevitable, and outlines a variety of policies and reforms that can be used to ‘reduce’ inequality.  The report ends with the following statement, “An end to extreme wealth by 2025. Reversing increasing extreme inequality and aim to return inequality to 1990 levels.”

Unfortunately, no amount of reforms and policies operating within capitalism will be able to eradicate inequality in society.  Any reductions will be short-lived, as history has shown.  As long as we continue to produce for profit, there will be no equality.  Why try to return to the inequality of 1990 when it can be eradicated by a socialist revolution? It is time for all those campaigning for equality, social justice and the environment to realise that capitalism cannot be reformed.  Stop trying to treat the symptoms of capitalism, and join the fight to remove the cause.

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