The Chancellor can't have it all. As much as he likes to hang out in a hard-hat, cutting public services to their knees is not a good look. Up to now the burden of deficit reduction has fallen on some of the poorest in society, but he has had to start reaching into working tax credits to make savings, provoking the ire of leading members of his party and the Sun newspaper...
We must not allow a situation to arise where the focus is merely on increasing government income, without ensuring adequate accountability mechanisms are in place to ensure the tax money raised is spent wisely. And as we know only too well from our experience in Ireland, a healthy civil society is absolutely vital in that regard.
Those who still have a sentimental attachment to children shouldn't worry: Duncan Smith is in the process of redefining child poverty so you won't have to hear about the suffering his policies create as their experiences grow more miserable but they fit within a happier category. If NI and income tax are joined, expect to see the welfare state look radically different within a very short time.
Public demand for better services requires increased revenue, but international market competition for capital and labour drives down the ability of any one country to raise either corporate or personal income tax. For any aspiring Labour leader, the issue of UK tax rates has become a straight jacket. The obvious answer has to be to raise revenue some other way.
In times of austerity, such policies inexorably exacerbate the already alarming issue of inequality. Britain is currently the only G7 country with wider inequality than at the turn of the century. Right now, the top ten percent own over fifty-four percent of Britain's wealth and Britain's five richest families own more wealth than the bottom twenty percent.
Deny it all you want, but at some point in your life you've been forced to clear your browsing history because of some questionable content you found yourself viewing at nearly midnight on a Friday after a stressful week. Sometimes the temptation is just too much to avoid surfing to the wrong side of the tracks and what follows is a swift re-writing of history where we pretend that we were on the phone or had dropped off for a moment instead.
This massively unequal allocation of wealth is a dire problem for liberal societies because it directly impedes social mobility. By perpetuating a system whereby those at the top continue to accumulate assets with little to no redistribution, you are contributing to a world whereby the poor get poorer.