An Old Etonian Chancellor and an Old Etonian Prime Minister fly in the face of national outrage over bankers’ bonuses and the rich-poor divide by cutting the 50p income tax rate for those earning over £150,000. How the hell have they got the gall?
The greed and idiocy of financial speculators – together with politicians all too ready to cosy up to them – brought the whole system to the brink of collapse only for taxpayers’ money to rescue them from their own irresponsibility. The bill for that is now being paid by ordinary people up and down the country who are losing their jobs or seeing their pay packets frozen or cut, who are deeply worried about the prospects for their children in years of spiralling unemployment.
Yet George Osborne’s strategic response is to cut the tax rate for people who earn so much that they won’t even notice the difference – and to pay for it by cutting tax allowances for pensioners and, according to the Office of Budget Responsibility, by finding an extra but as yet unspecified further £10 billion cuts in welfare spending.
It’s funny, isn’t it, how the poor have to be paid less in order to encourage them to work, while the rich supposedly need the rest of us to give them 5p in the pound more in order that they condescend to grace this country with their presence.
Let’s make this and the passing of the ‘NHS Privatization By Stealth Bill’ the poll tax moment for this government of millionaires. Let’s see an opposition brave and coherent enough to stand up for the idea that the health of a society is measured by how it treats its weakest members. And let’s watch these two Old Etonian class warriors crawl back under their stone.
Chris Brazier is a New Internationalist co-editor.