German newspaper Die Welt: "Britain on the way to the EU poorhouse"

(32 Posts)
ttosca Sun 18-Aug-13 16:49:39

News of the "cost of living crisis" is spreading beyond these shores.

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There was much irritation among the Tories this week at the attention devoted by the BBC and others to the finding that UK average hourly wages have fallen by 5.5% since mid-2010, a faster rate of decline than every EU country except Portugal, the Netherlands and Greece. "It's a Labour story!", they cried, to which the BBC reasonably replied by pointing out that the figures were collated by the House of Commons library.

But despite the Conservatives' best efforts, the story has spread beyond these shores. As Ed Miliband's chief strategist Stewart Wood noted on Twitter last night, German newspaper Die Welt ran a piece on the figures yesterday headlined "Britain on the way to the EU poorhouse". As CCHQ boasts that growth over the last year (1.4%) has outstripped that of the eurozone (0.7%) and matched that of the US, it's an inconvenient reminder that not all are sharing in the recovery.

If Labour is to win the election, however, it won't be enough for it to convince voters that they're worse off under the Tories. It will also need to convince them that they'd be better off under Labour. In the 2012 US election, Mitt Romney similarly resurrected Ronald Reagan's famous line - "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" - but the electorate stuck with Obama because the numbers were moving in the right direction and they doubted Romney could do any better. The Tories hope and expect UK voters will take the same view of Labour in 2015. All of which explains why party activists are desperate for those "policy goodies".

www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/08/german-newspaper-die-welt-britain-way-eu-poorhouse

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 20-Aug-13 22:33:09

Remind me again - who introduced tax credits?

ttosca Wed 21-Aug-13 01:47:42

flatpack-

> Isn't it a shame the same people who go benefit bashing don't want a living wage? Strange that... Especially seeing as most of those who claim benefits are working. The most effective way of reducing benefits is to increase wages.

> If it was simply a matter of flicking the money lever from one to the other you would be right. Sadly, in the real world which grown-ups inhabit, it isn't. Government can't just 'increase wages', because, luckily for us, government doesn't decide what everyone earns. It can dicker with the minimum wage, and it has its own pay scale for public sector workers - but they don't fix wages.

It's funny how you dismiss raising the min wage as 'dicker with the minimum wage'. Actually, there are millions of people on (or below, since various govt's don't do enough to crack down on this) minimum wage.

And according to this report:

www.theguardian.com/society/2011/oct/02/low-pay-uk-living-wage

A significant minority of workers in the UK are earning less than a 'living wage'.

This is not a small issue or a side issue. It's a huge issue.

If the UK actually raised the min. wage to a living wage and strongly enforced it with large fines for employers, it would:

a) Bring millions out of poverty

b) Reduce welfare spending in the form of state subsidized wages

c) Bring back demand in to the economy by putting money in people's pockets.

> They do, however, fix benefits, and I agree with you that we should cut benefits as soon as possible.

Do you really, flatpack? Benefits for whom? Jobseekers Allowance is an asbolutely tiny portion of the Welfare bill - the majority of it is spent on Pensions. Should we also be cutting pensions?

Tell my why we should further increase the hardship of people in this country looking for work or more hours and better pay when they are already the victim of a financial crisis they did not cause?

By what reasoning should social security be cut when unclaimed corporation tax is in the tens of billions?

ttosca Wed 21-Aug-13 01:53:57

amicissima-

> Why do you think companies, like ASDA, Tesco and others exist? If they don't make profits they will close down taking thousands of jobs with them, plus the choice and competition they provide in the supermarket sector. We would also lose the huge amount of taxes they, and their employees, pay, so government spending would need to be cut further.

Of course they only exist to make a profit. Paying people a fair wage is not going to stop them making profits.

> They could pay higher wages, certainly, but quite a lot of people are finding it hard to get by with shop prices the way they are. They would really struggle when the increased wages were passed on into prices.

Except they wouldn't.

> Or, we could increase wages, then prices, then wages, then prices and so on and have raging inflation.

Except this won't happen. Wages have actually dropped in real terms (that is, relative to inflation) over the past decade.

If you're so concerned about businesses, you would realise that people need enough money to spend on things in order to keep businesses going. If people aren't paid enough, they won't spend. If they don't spend, a business goes out of business.

What you're doing is conservative scaremongering and it's not based on fact.

People like yourself shouted loudly before the min. wage was introduced about how businesses would go out of business and there would be a huge increase in unemployment. In fact, there was no statistically significant increase in either.

niceguy2 Wed 21-Aug-13 09:14:12

Should we also be cutting pensions?

Yes. Unfortunately I think we should be. Not that the Tories can since they pledged not to during this parliament and we all saw what happened to the LibDems when they backtracked on an election pledge re student finance. There's no chance the Tories would repeat that shambles.

But if we are serious about budget deficit down then we simply have to tackle the elephant in the room. And that is most of our welfare bill is paid out to pensions. And the question has to be asked "Can we afford this?"

The honest answer is no. We can't afford it now and we certainly can't afford it in the future as more people grow old.

Right now the coalition have pretty much abandoned austerity after a couple of years of tinkering around the edges. They've just kicked the hard decisions into the long grass and hoping it will be someone else's problem. They're right. It'll be our kids & grandkids problem.

flatpackhamster Wed 21-Aug-13 09:52:30

NicholasTeakozy

Our government, or, to be more honest, taxpayers, pay for tax credits to top up wages paid by massive multi-nationals like Asda, Tesco and others. Why should we subsidise their profits? Is that grown up enough for you Flatpack?

No. Because you're tying two disparate things together and blaming the one for the other, when the one isn't the fault of the other.

China may have its own massive credit crisis. Their economy is still growing and ours is only growing by dint of property speculation encouraged by Gidiots help to buy scheme inflating house prices.

I don't disagree that the new housing bubble is idiotic. But the problem China has is that their growth isn't really growth. It's credit-fuelled growth, and that bubble will burst. It's no different to Labour's "growth" from 2001 onwards, which was solely fuelled on credit.

When China backs their currency with gold you'll see who holds the cards economically speaking. Just look at where the Fed and Bank Of England are sending the gold to and where it ends up. It's being shipped in 400oz bars to Switzerland where most of it is being turned into 32oz bars (approx 1kg) to send to China.

^The amount of gold futures that central banks have released should've sent the price of physical gold into meltdown but the thing is China and the middle east are buying up every scrap they can get their hands on.

I note you don't deny the BOE have sold 1300 tonnes of gold this year. That's interesting.

'Interesting' meaning what? That I have little interest in goldbug conspiracy theories?

Let them back their currency with gold. It'll make no difference to the impending crisis. If the crisis is bad enough that the gold standard is the only solution, then China's economy will be obliterated as the USA defaults on its debt (which China holds).

flatpackhamster Wed 21-Aug-13 09:55:57

ttosca

It's funny how you dismiss raising the min wage as 'dicker with the minimum wage'. Actually, there are millions of people on (or below, since various govt's don't do enough to crack down on this) minimum wage.

And according to this report:

www.theguardian.com/society/2011/oct/02/low-pay-uk-living-wage

A significant minority of workers in the UK are earning less than a 'living wage'.

The living wage is a BS socialist wet dream.

This is not a small issue or a side issue. It's a huge issue.

If the UK actually raised the min. wage to a living wage and strongly enforced it with large fines for employers, it would:

a) Bring millions out of poverty

b) Reduce welfare spending in the form of state subsidized wages

c) Bring back demand in to the economy by putting money in people's pockets.

In TtoscaFantasyWorld, yes. You see, what you have there is one half of the equation - the half about where the money goes to and how it miraculously cures everything. You don't have the other half, about where the money comes from. Because you assume there's this secret pile of loot everyone's sitting on, just waiting for you to help yourself.

Do you really, flatpack? Benefits for whom? Jobseekers Allowance is an asbolutely tiny portion of the Welfare bill - the majority of it is spent on Pensions. Should we also be cutting pensions?

Yes.

Tell my why we should further increase the hardship of people in this country looking for work or more hours and better pay when they are already the victim of a financial crisis they did not cause?

They did cause it, by voting for parties that spend more than they take in taxes.

By what reasoning should social security be cut when unclaimed corporation tax is in the tens of billions?

Because social security costs hundreds of billions.

NicholasTeakozy Wed 21-Aug-13 10:06:16

If China's economy goes tits up then every other country will too as they make the stuff we buy, they have too many fingers in too many pies on every continent. They're busy building infrastructure in many Afican countries in exchange for mineral rights, they bought mineral rights in Afghanistan that the US wanted so much they invaded to get them, they're propping up property prices in Detroit by purchasing houses and business properties for next to nothing, so you can see how much influence they have on a global basis.

As to whether we should be cutting benefits, yes, we absolutely should, but by increasing the minimum wage to a living wage, not by cutting benefits to the poor. Already the cuts are having adverse effects on local communities and businesses, the use of food banks has gone up massively, even amongst those in work and claiming benefits like tax credits and housing benefit. The living wage would change that at the expense of corporate profits and shareholder dividends, namely the rich, so it won't happen as they're protected.

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