THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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Keep it up, brothers and sisters

BBC News - Public sector strike rallies held across UK.

Did the strikes affect you? Me neither. I would be delighted if the strikers would really go for it; all out, indefinitely. At least that way, there might finally be some reductions in public spending. Because, without the unintentional assistance today of the public sector gang bosses, this government has been increasing the national debt daily. There are no 'cuts' for all the whining. We were driving towards a cliff edge at 155mph. The government has reduced the speed to 150mph. Big deal. 

At one level, I can understand the public servants' sense of grievance. They were told they would get pension x, but now they are told they must make an extra contribution in order to have pension x-y. The fact is, however, that their pensions were largely unfunded. The contribution most of them make (from money anyway supplied by taxpayers) is not adequate to cover the benefits expected. It never was. Their political masters assumed irresponsibly that they could always take the money by force from future generations of taxpayers.

All the consequences of that wicked, failed assumption cannot surely fall on the minority whose taxes are real, because they are not paid from money suppled by taxpayers? The proposals that have led to this strike do not go nearly far enough. They are only a modest beginning to what needs to be done. But the public sector workers' conflict of interest with real taxpayers is total. It is a conflict of interest that could only properly be resolved by removing their right to vote. Undemocratic? Perhaps. But a democracy in which voters dependent on the public purse are prepared to vote themselves more and more of an oppressed minority's money is doomed.


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Peter Whale

When the Federation of the Self Employed started in Ilford our local Member of Parliament joined, as he was then self employed he was on the same tax structure as us. After about three years or so the MP's voted themselves to be employed by the state we then ejected him from the federation. Now his tax structure, pension rights and benefits are in another world from ours he does more with my money tax free than I can. If I did what he did I would be in jail and some even break those lax rules. Also at the time local councils were made up of people who gave their time altruistically( some egotistically) for a few very paltry expenses. They now award themselves enormous severance payouts and grand salaries and pensions. None of this voted by the tax payer or council tax payer.
As it so happens none of the strike affected me I continue to enjoy my retirement sipping the best red wine in the world 15 kilometers from St Emillion.


The 'foundation' bit. There are some useful services (three to be precise). The rest is pure corruption - stealing from one group to buy the votes of another. When Britain's wealth was being built fastest, the public sector was a fraction of what it is now. Why do we need a civil service bigger than when we governed half the planet, for example?


Which part of Diogenes' simple explanation above do you not understand? You may do valuable work (although it's probable, given the bloated public payroll, that you don't) but all payment for it originates from taxpayers engaged directly or indirectly in wealth creation. You are a cost and - ultimately - in any enterprise (private or public) costs have to be contained to less than revenues - preferably considerably less. If they are not, the enterprise fails. That is precisely what is happening.

The governments of the Western world are losing their ability to borrow and having to pay more to service existing debt because the lenders know they have over-committed themselves to public expenditure (including on the unnecessary - from a libertarian viewpoint - bailouts of private banks). They borrowed and spent to buy votes. And the voters who benefit are the first among those bought. Their current squealing is a failure to face reality.

I know businesspeople who have closed down and fired their workers because the return to them was inadequate (after taxes and the costs of compliance with employment law) to justify the continued risk. What do you say to those workers who have lost their jobs, while you continue to demand largely unfunded pensions and wages higher than those in the private sector?

Grovel? No. Show a little respect? Yes. All the strikes showed was how overstaffed the public sector is. And how brutally selfish some of its employees are.


The even bigger question is "what is the purpose of government." Only the first three in your list, in my view. Essentially we elect people, not to rule us or shape us to the people they want us to be, but to administer the money we contribute by taxation to public purposes. When a decisive proportion of the electorate votes in its own self interest, elections become a 'benefits auction', the state bloats wildly and the productive - ultimately - flee (or give up production).


But by extension of that logic anyone who had anything to gain from any particular group being in power also has a conflict of interest and should therefore be excluded from voting. The bigger question is "on what basis are people entitled to vote?"


Which bits of it do you think aren't true?


"money anyway supplied by taxpayers"
The money is not 'supplied'. It is payment, wages earned for a hard days work.
You make it sound like some sort of handout we should grovel for.


The strike seemed to be fairly unpopular with non public sector workers, many of whom cannot afford a pension because they are taxed to pay public sector pensions.

Is this finally Britains Proposition 13 moment? Let's hope so.


Public sector workers do really valuable work but they do not pay real tax. If through some clerical error the Department for X and Y neglects to write a gross salary on a state workers payslip and simply pays them the net figure it would make not a jot of difference to the exchequer or the worker.

Ah... but they also pay VAT, excise duty, stamp duty etc. So do people on benefits, are they tax-payers too?

Public sector workers contribute to society, they do not contribute to the exchequer; maybe there should be two ballots in a general election.
1. Societal ballot much like the current GE.
2. A financial ballot for the people who pay the bill to decide their level of contribution. If they are getting excellent value they will naturally want to increase their taxation level.

giant bee

"The work of the public sector is varied but significant parts of it create the foundations from which the private sector can build wealth; for example the fact that the UK is militarily secure, that there is law and order, that there is a legal system, that the population can read and write and that the workforce do not lack health provision ..."

Do you seriously believe any of that ? Really ?


If you are on the board of a company, you don't vote if you have a conflict of interest. It's the same thing. It's morally indefensible for people who depend on the state for their income to vote. The inevitable consequence is that the state burgeons until it strangles all else.

It's interesting that the first three state functions you mention are the ONLY ones libertarians all believe to be appropriate (defence of the realm, an independent judiciary and a police force).


I agree except for the suggestion that public sector taxpayers are not "real" taxpayers.

The work of the public sector is varied but significant parts of it create the foundations from which the private sector can build wealth; for example the fact that the UK is militarily secure, that there is law and order, that there is a legal system, that the population can read and write and that the workforce do not lack health provision is all down to the public sector and I do not begrudge paying tax for it.

There is much irrelevance and waste in the public sector but it's somewhat depressing to read articles that incorrectly suggest the public sector is all take and no give.

Also people's participation in the democratic process should not be dependent on how much (or how little) tax they pay surely?

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