The plight of the middle was also outlined in a recent article by Daily Telegraph columnist Judith Woods. ‘Here, in the realm of the crushed and the credit crunched, the taxed and the troubled, where there’s no child benefit, no help with university fees, no chance of getting the kids on the property ladder and no professional job security, aspirations are on ice.’
I don’t see the Middle Class racking up credit debt to buy FOOD.
The same food where prices are due to go up thanks to the sanctions the middle class screamed for because they are dense.
But middle-class self-pity is undignified and unjustified. A lot of people from Middle England suffered after the crash, but the idea an entire class was singled out is absurd. The ones who took the biggest hit were those much lower down the income scale, who had their living standards slashed, their wages cut and their jobs destroyed.
Thanks, Mass Immigration.
Indeed, the whole concept of the ‘squeezed middle’ is a myth. According to a report in April by the centrist Social Market Foundation, no less than 41 per cent of families in the middle income bracket have become wealthier since 2008, while a further 40 per cent have maintained their affluence. Just 18 per cent of middle-class households fell to a lower income bracket. On publication of this authoritative study, the SMF’s director, Emran Mian, argued that ‘the middle has coped surprisingly well since 2007–08. Two fifths of them moved up the income distribution.’ This is hardly a surprise, given the rise in house prices, the reduced mortgage costs and low inflation.
The moaners ignore all that. They have a litany of gripes, from student fees to property taxes, which all reflect a spirit of entitlement as egregious as that of any benefit claimant or union boss.
You voted Labour/Left. You wanted this. Care to vote for it again?
One of their most selfish complaints is the alleged ‘scandal’ of elderly relatives being forced to ‘sell the family home’ to pay care fees. If a family has a large asset, in cash or in property, why on earth should other taxpayers have to subsidise private care? This is about children who do not want to look after their parents themselves and seek public funds to protect their inheritances.
I think I’ve read that before… Ah, here it is. Property is an investment, not a right. If they didn’t save for retirement/care, maybe they need to lie in that NHS bed, their economy was fantastic, no excuses. This is the joy of karma, spoiled parents (Boomers) drain their spoiled liberal children (GenX) dry until they learn what real hardship is. Imagine what their own care home will look like (GenY are ruthless and practical).
It is the same story with university fees, which, in one of the coalition’s first and bravest acts, were raised to £9,000 a year. Despite all the predictions of armageddon in higher education, there has been no drop in university applications. Yet too many of the middle class, whose families are by far the biggest users of this sector, regard the fee increase as an affront. In this twisted world, working-class taxpayers should be compelled to bankroll affluent graduates with far greater earning potential, the supermarket shelf-stacker from Hartlepool helping to pay for the law degree of the aspiring Hertfordshire barrister.
I think it’s hilarious. Immigrants are getting in free with scholarships for diversity targets, you voted for it.
We see the same moral inversion over another sensible coalition measure, the gradual withdrawal of child benefit to individuals earning over £50,000. What particularly outrages the ‘squeezed middle’ is that a couple, both of them earning £49,000 a year, are still entitled to this payout, whereas a single-earner household on £51,000 is not. This is no dark injustice: a household with two working parents faces far higher costs because of childcare. Indeed, the very concept of ‘stay-at-home’ mums is largely a middle-class phenomenon. Because of financial stringencies, large numbers of working-class women have always been compelled to work.
Yet we’re paying poor women off the boat to have as many children as they please. Pass the popcorn. You wanted to help single mothers, you’re paying for them.
Perhaps the most grotesque irony of the middle-class whingers is that, instead of celebrating their remarkable good fortune from the explosion in property prices, they present this as yet another burden.
Oh, what a burden to be rich! Don’t tax me more! I’m not a billionaire, just a simple humble millionaire!
So they repeatedly carp about rises in stamp duty and inheritance taxes, both of which have gone up as a result of house-price inflation. A recent newspaper report revealing that 35,000 families are likely to pay inheritance tax this year claimed the figures ‘show the full extent of Britain’s death-tax time bomb’. Such hysteria is completely misplaced. Despite all the rhetoric about a vast swath of the middle class being sucked into its embrace, inheritance tax is charged on only 6 per cent of all estates. Families can still inherit £325,000, without paying any duties at all. All taxes are objectionable but a levy on the legacy of the deceased is surely preferable to a charge on the earnings of the living.
I’ll have to agree with them on this one, you shouldn’t be charged for dying. Anyone. At all. However, it is hitting the spoiled Baby Boomers the hardest, so I shan’t be shedding too many a tear for those pompous windbags.
Nor do the ‘squeezed middle’ brigade deem stamp duty fair. Unlike many countries in Europe, where hefty capital gains charges operate, a seller in this country does not have to pay capital gains at all if the property is a main residence, no matter how big the profit from the sale, while buyers of homes below £250,000, roughly the average current price in England, face a maximum of only 1 per cent in stamp duty, no more than the commission of most estate agencies. Yes, the duty rises to 4 per cent above a threshold of £500,000, but someone who can afford to pay £900,000 for a property should be able to manage £36,000 in stamp duty.
Unless they’re buying with Monopoly money and want a house because they think prices can never, ever go down.
There is nothing reprehensible about the government increasing its revenues because of the rise in property values. In the year to June 2014, the Treasury is expected to have pulled in £10.2 billion from stamp duty, in addition to £3.1 billion from inheritance tax, the highest levels since the financial crash. The increase in these payments has allowed the coalition to raise personal tax allowances to £10,000 a year, taking millions out of income tax altogether. Which is exactly the right approach. There is nothing fair about punishing hard work while indulging unearned wealth and privilege — whatever the middle-class warriors cry.
You could charge billionaire immigrants buying up in London extra? The way other countries do, if they allow them to buy at all? But no, that would be racist.