The '99 percent': looking in all the wrong places.

Nevermind the bankers, we need to look closer to home and at what needs to change within the state system to prevent the real 99 percent from being seriously hit in the near future.

Will the so-called '99 percent' face up to the real problems?
Simon Miller
On 17 October 2011 22:29

I work in the City and it’s good to see the youth of the day come out with their Chinese-made tents and clothes to protest at our money being controlled by 1 percent of the population. 

After all, the overseeing of organisations that pay scant attention to rules and appear to be unaccountable to the ordinary members of the public is of vital importance in our mixed, corporatist economy. 

And there is one company so utterly flaky that I feel it deserves special attention.

In the space of ten years, one department within this company has seen its expenditure grow by 55 percent while yet another has spent 47 percent more money in the same period. 

But this company is so lackadaisical with its clients’ money that it has not only spent it all, but it has grown its debt by 66 percent since 2001 and has to pay nearly 40 percent more interest on loans as a result. 

Could you imagine what these protesters would say if they knew that this company abuses clients’ money so much that rather than these expensive departments cutting back on their expenditure, one of these departments will actually increase its spending by an estimated 8 percent over the next four years? 

How would these protestors react if I told them that this company’s interest rate bill will increase by nearly 30 percent by 2015? Or that its debt will increase by 8 percent? I hope that they would protest at this crass misuse of funds which could lead to their clients suffering unnecessarily.

But I suspect they won’t.

Quite the contrary, you see this company is us, UK Plc. and the departments are health and welfare. 

The figures show that we as a nation are in trouble, expenditure still out of control. The cuts that are promoted are anything but when considered as a whole and yet we see worthies clogging up Paternoster Square, once again intent on slamming the rich. 

As I said before, over-taxing the rich doesn’t work, and behaviour is most often the causality within a system rather than the system being at fault itself. Systems cannot have morality, only those within it. 

Daniel Hannan pointed out yesterday that the top fifty percentile of earners pay 88.4 percent of tax and, indeed, that horrible one percent pays 24.1 percent of tax.

If that mean, old one percentile was to up sticks, would those protestors, who seem to have a penchant for those arch-capitalists Coca-Cola and Apple by the look of the footage, be willing to foot the bill when it lands with a heavy thud on their doorsteps?

By all means discuss a potential new paradigm where we skip along in a socialist paradise in which everyone helps each other and we can aim for a political nirvana. But, until that unlikely state of affairs materialises, castigating the one percent is counterproductive when we are facing one of the gravest financial periods in our country’s history and where globalisation means that even if we were on an even keel, events in Europe and elsewhere could still send a curve ball to knock us out. 

Go ahead and complain about those evil bankers and their ilk, but I would suggest that there is a good argument to be made for the need to look closer to home and at what needs to change within the state system to prevent the real 99 percent from being seriously hit in the near future. 

Simon Miller is the Editor of Financial Risks Today. He tweets at @simontm71 

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