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From: The Socialist issue 862, 1 July 2015: Reject EU austerity!

Search site for keywords: Them & Us - Socialist - Government - Tax - NHS - Wealth - USA - Taxes - Cuts - Rich - PFI - Privatisation - Young people - Pay - Republican Party - Council - David Cameron - George Osborne - Inequality - Households

Them & Us

Where's our recovery?

While the UK's richest 1,000 people have doubled their collective wealth to 547 billion over the last decade, most people are poorer than before the recession started.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says that median disposable income is 500 a year lower than in 2007-08.

The ONS figures also show that the poorest fifth of households are paying disproportionately more of their income in taxes than the richest fifth, ie 37.8% compared to 34.8%.

Despite this growing inequality, rich Tory MPs and Lords have urged George Osborne to reduce further the 45p top rate of income tax.

Red White House

People in the USA are usually portrayed in the mass media as politically anti-socialist. However, a Gallup poll in the USA says 47% of Americans would consider voting for a socialist to be President, if the candidate were nominated by their own party. 59% of Democrat voters thought that, as did 26% of Republican party voters! Among young people over 70% back this view.

Another poll showed that 52% now agree that the US government should redistribute wealth by putting higher taxes on the rich. There has not been this level of support for such policies since the 1940s.

Kshama Sawant of the Socialist Party's co-thinkers, Socialist Alternative, was elected onto Seattle city council in 2013 with nearly 100,000 votes on clear socialist policies. This poll now gives support to fielding an independent presidential candidate with a clear socialist programme.

No compensation

Low income families' tax credit lifeline is being slashed by the Tory government. Nothing to worry about though as millionaire PM David Cameron has generously agreed to ask companies to pay their employees higher wages!

More realistically, Cameron wants to raise the starting threshold on income tax as compensation.

However, the Resolution Foundation reckons the increase in the starting threshold from 6,475 in 2010-11 to 10,500 in 2015-16 helped the better off more than those on lower incomes.

'Cut the NHS'

Gary Porter, the top Tory in Local government, has described Cameron's dubious election pledge to increase spending on the NHS as "bizarre", and called on the government to end the health service's ringfenced or 'protected' status from the cuts. "I wouldn't protect the National Health Service. I just think it's a bizarre policy", he said.

Mr Porter shouldn't worry. The government is ramming through 30 billion worth of cuts dressed up as "efficiency savings". And its PFI privatisation policy is driving many NHS Trusts into bankruptcy.

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