Credit, Rent, Mortgage, Gambling and Taxes: How your earnings are being pinched
July 04, 2020
All of these financial entities:
are to their direct recipients of payment an unearned income. I qualify this ‘unearned’ by saying it is income for which no work was done in exchange for it, and for which no goods and services were added so as to be available in the pool of human economic production.
They all in their various ways represent to the payers of them; to the people who supply the money by which the ‘owings’ of these financial entities are paid off to recipients; these payments represent debts.
This is especially true of those of these entities which are tied-into regular periodical payment of sums, paid often and usually on a set day each week or month etc. The regularity of period for these payments itself is often to those who pay them a psychological millstone around their necks; a great source of concern and anxiety, one which can cloud the rest of life, especially when what is left over is not enough.
Not enough to get by on – to feed and shelter a family – especially in an economy such as we in UK have had now for 20 plus years. Where the badge of ‘self-employed’ for millions hides the fact of low paid and periodic work which is on a contract immediately excisable, and so job security is hanging by a thread.
Whereupon many many jobs are paid at a rate of around £7.50 an hour, a minimum working wage say governments; in fact an hour’s work is just enough pay to buy a large cod and chips in many Fried Fish Shops. Chips £2.50 Large Cod £4.50. 50 pence left as change.
The companies under these auspices who hire people, who hire the self employed contractors and the living wage employees, are often endebted themselves, since the capital to set up their companies is borrowed money and it must be paid off. Thus it follows that the self-employed and living wage employees are funding and fielding the debts of their employers; plus providing their employers with sufficient income to grow the company; and also enough to live in a fashion the employers feel is the best that can be had given their position and commitments.
So threefold is the weight of the wage levy upon the self-employed and the living wagers
Fielding their Companies’ debts
Wealth for growing the same Companies
Income on which employers live
It’s a heavy load, and it is borne in the final instance broadly by the employees and contractors
Plus these same employees and contractors will have their own rents, and bills, and taxes, debts, and such to field for themselves and for their families. Many are ‘topped up’ in their incomes by what we call here in the UK Universal Credit; a government money allowance which in fact runs out as a pure subsidy to those who claimants’ employers.
Many items, I believe not most foods, carry VAT - a purchase tax - at a rate of 20%; which is one fifth of the retail cost price. Although retailers and wholesalers, manufacturers, etc pay VAT it is in fact paid only once and by the consumer, since at each stage in production, the supply chain ‘links’ claim their VAT back from whosoever they pass-on, supply, to the next link in the supply chain. Of course the consumer does not pass it on to anyone, but foots the bill.
There are a wealth (ha ha!) of other taxes and the term ’stealth tax’ has come into vogue over the past decades; a term which well describes itself, and also it denotes the subtle means by which these taxes are gathered in by all kinds of governing and regulatory bodies.
Services once provided by government and regulators gratis are now charged for and sometimes charged for punitively. Phone calls to government and regulators and to many large companies are often charged per minute at exorbitant rates; and one is commonly left hanging on the phone for 15 or more minutes before being connected with a living human being. Most of these organisations use ‘no reply’ email which allows them to pester you but you cannot reply via email to them. Surnames of persons to whom you speak are hidden away and not offered voluntarily anymore, both in government and in private industry. The desire to be held unaccountable is great by these unnamed persons.
Often one is called on one’s phone from a ‘number withheld’, and it is a government person or a large company person wishing to remain unreachable by return call.
At websites one can buy items and set up accounts and do business, yet when one wants to cancel or find a postal address, indeed sometimes even an email address for contact, one has to hunt. I am, I consider, well practiced at web searching but I find the task for this information is often difficult even after years of employment as a web investigator. Instructions are not clearly offered and the information you need is set out across several discrete web pages and often you find yourself going around in a loop of pages.
The whole set up is made for the fainthearted to succumb and back off. For big firms especially this is Standard Practice; despite so-called regulators’ attempts to curb it; it’s just done in more subtle ways than before
One can gather from my digression into how communications with consumers are handled by companies and by government and regulatory agencies, that the object of these entities primarily is not given over to providing free flow of information between themselves and consumers. Instead the bits they don’t like are excised from the equation. No reply emails, first names only, numbers withheld, hidden away information, charged calls, long waits, etc.
In short these entities seek to channel consumer enquiries into the few channels which the decision makers at the company etc have approved for the company or for the agency. Then you will get bullshit letters and mails come chanting how ‘our company puts you first’ or ‘you are our number one priority’ and ‘we work to the highest professional standards’ and ‘we work to bring you a delighted user experience’ and such stuff.
Government and Regulatory agencies often fire out Customer or Client Care codes of conduct at you; ostensibly situating you at the top of their tree and the whole organisation revolving around client satisfaction. Less gaudily laid out than private companies but yet a borrowing from their marketing departments.
You see in my digression that the focus of business is not on service and customer care but on keeping you locked in and on controlling you as far as can be gotten away with, within law, or else to a point where people start walking away.
Big companies are set up to be money making machines – emphasis on the word ‘machine’. So much is done by what is called Machine Learning techniques – telephone answering services, direction to the ‘right’ department, questionnaires to be completed before one can access a real person. If you fall down in the answering you are cut off entirely without having been ‘allowed’ to speak to a person.
You are warned ‘your calls will be recorded, for security and training purposes’ - there’s no option no opt out, unless you just abandon your business with government, regulator, or company, and often to abandon your business is not an option. As for security and training, security covers a huge swathe of meaning; from checking you out personally, like at your credit rating where you are rinsed for teflon or not teflon, right up to looking for loopholes for Companies to get out of commitments; all sorts of capers. Keep it vague and it will spread its whole umbrella across the firm for the rainy day.
How many times are you forwarded from department to department; from person to person, sometimes in chains or relays of three or four in sequence.
In fact the whole show is set up by the boss men and women for the convenience and at the behest of the entity – be it company or public body – they are the same. An assumption of distrust – it is always you who has to identify yourself and go through hoops to do so – ask the person on the line to do likewise and they are often taken aback – can’t conceive why or how they might.
This whole set up paradigm is evidence for and indicative of the 'getting as much as possible for no effort' ethos built into the our businesses' and governor/regulators' economic life. The whole thrust and focus being on channeling and control of end-users so as to make their own lives easier and run with least effort
This then is how 21st century Britain does business. This rabbit warren and den of iniquity is what we as consumers are paying for in our purchase prices paid to the entities, or as the tax or downpayments we make to other bodies.
Is it surprising then, bearing this very widespread business outlook in mind, that all these entities are not only ‘all geared up’ for direction and control of consumers/enquirers; but that their inward flow of money is also ‘all geared up’ to be maximised – be it via debt, taxes, credit, mortgage, rent, gambling, and worse.
The sedentary income getters, the landlords, and the mortgage lenders, and the creditors – those who don’t lift a finger to get their income and who are merely the rarefied versions of the regulators and companies and governments; all of these, those sedentary receivers of unearned income, and those whose business involves some labour, are at bottom alike. They all seek to take money to amounts high above and beyond the value of the amount of work they do in the way of service to users and to consumers – as much as possible so that income can overplus the value of the labour, in so far as this labour value can be justified by the actual work done. The result is strongly inflationary
The Intellectual Property idea of Added Value to be realised by Trade Marking one’s goods or services, that is by branding them – this is another ‘something for nothing’ wheeze. Any value added is added to the brand owners’ pockets but to the consumer it’s a net money loss. Value doesn’t just burgeon by issuing a certificate of branding – the goods are sold under a brand name at a premium
I had a colleague who went abroad and organised some beverage bean growers in a poor nation. The colleague had them club together, brand their joint product, and sell to merchants at a premium price, more than they were getting before, as unbranded bean and as disparate growers. The colleague as far as I felt had joined the growers into the club of business as Westerners do it. Could local people still buy enough beans for beverages for themselves? Did prices surrounding the clubbed together growers – in their local shops, markets, trading posts, remain as low as they had been previously? Were there not jealousies raised and attempts proper and improper to get a piece of the action by a lot of people who were ‘awaiting’ round about the growers’ plantations?
For the growers to brand their joint product was an answer of a sort to their low incomes; but a very imperfect answer. What should have been done? Nothing can be done piecemeal economically-speaking – only individual changes of heart on an increasing scale will see a regeneration out of behaviours now thought ‘essential’ to our economic way of life.
But persons ‘sitting’ on money income coming in regularly, merely vacuuming up income whilst playing at chess or quoits and holding tea parties, they will not easily let go of what they are living on. We justify ourselves willingly, even in many of our most pernicious acts.
Thus the working person, the ‘self-employed’ contractors on low pay and the employees on a living wage of £7.50 an hour, are kept in want and constraint; locked into his/her position, especially when s/he has any debt or bills due regularly. Our present absurdity is pulling down statues of people once thought to be public benefactors; removing their effigies is a form of censorship; and the ignorance in this act is akin to the way employers and heads of services hold down low waged people, in effect to all intents and purposes making them ‘wage slaves’.
There’s an old urban myth says that the ordinary worker is always just two missed wage packets away from ruin. This latest social mess we have seen ourselves brought to by government has shown this saying to be true for a lot of persons who are now unemployed here in UK. There is talk in the newspapers today of a £5 billion funding being considered being given by government to a private company, and to do with ‘defeating the virus’. £5 billion! To a private company!
Two or more decades now this and other governments have bleated like cattle ‘we can afford this’ and ‘we would like to, but the budget is not there’ for schools, roads, railways, power, steel. Consequently Britain is a nation with ageing legacy infrastructure simpy because its rulers have been so – stupid, ungracious, grasping, mean, sheerly negligent, and wholly uninterested.
Why we could not have printed more money instead of having (apparently) borrowed the money to ‘get through’ these times – the effect of printing money is the same as that of borrowing – huge devaluation of the unit of currency - and this we have all seen. All does not add up and there is more to this matter than meets with our media’s announcements.
In short, too much credit debt, mortgages, rents, gambling, and taxation are supporting persons who are in effect leisured and living on air – air taken from the atmosphere in which the low paid and contractor self-employed are trying to survive on. The drones have buckets of it to spare and the workers are constrained to be servile servants, and keep busy for survival’s sake. Too many drones – and drones are too celebrated, over encouraged, given excess support and helps, their welfare is part of our government’s official line – which is that trade will save us all, and that trade comes before poverty, before the NHS, before Overseas Aid, before low paid workers and unemployed.
A ton of businesses and sectors of business are bleating for ‘help and assistance’ from government to get them over this crisis – for ‘help and assistance’ read ‘money’. The government has been dishing out money so much and so often to so many businesses, startups, ailing, high street, of all kinds; and business like a Pavlovian dog is up and barking ever for ‘bale-outs and hand-outs’
Meanwhile homeless people for whom hotel rooms no less had been found in this crisis, since the homeless posed a threat in our public places, are now being turfed out to the streets again. More people are visiting food banks than ever. People are losing their furlough income. Record unemployment.
And all the talk is about the economy, the economy, – as if it were Divinely ordained and can be our mutual salvations. No. I suspect the government sees money spent directly on helping out low paid workers and unemployed people, as money down the drain. They maybe think they get something for their money by giving it away to business?
This money to business of course is – at least in part, if not borrowed - that same tax money consumers stump up. The working and unemployed are funding the businessmen and women yet again.
This is our level playing field and we’re all in it together aren’t we. In what exactly I don’t know but some are deeper in it than are others; than others who aim by creaming off unearned incomes to remain smelling of roses. At least in their own noses