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Diary
By Breaker (Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 08:15:13 PM EST) (all tags)
Which means a paycheck again.

This will be nice, some financial setbacks made the need for work a little more pressing than I'd haved liked.

When I was made redundant, I killed all of my direct debit charitable giving.

So no poll, but which charities should I begin (or restart) giving to, and how much per month?



Some unfortunate financial disasters have hit the familial funds harshly in recent weeks: boiler, car, Council major works, Council finally realising that their service charge bills for the last three years were utter fiction then - correctly - billing for the whole lot in one go.

Carving what was a comfortable year of not working into a slightly more pressing need for a job.  Incidentally it's the Council bills that have been the largest and the ones that have been accompanied by menace - "failure to make payment is treated as a breach of the terms of the lease and the appropriate recovery action will commence, including taking you to Court to recover the monies and informing your mortgage company you are in breach of your lease agreement" - sadly there is no "bill me the right amount and I'll pay it but until then, whistle" clause in any housing acts. 

If you'd been to a local reasonably priced restaurant and been charged over a grand for two pizzas and a carafe of house red, would you pay the bill and hope that next time you went to that restaurant you'd get most of your money back?

Being unemployed, and navigating my way around various benefits and allowances I can claim has been eye opening.  It's laberinthine, open to abuse yet there's always someone in a department looking for fraud, and ultimately futile.  JSA seems designed for the poorly paid to claim - if I had no interview for 2 weeks for a job commensurate for my background and experience, I'd be hauled up for a grilling and likely offered to apply for a job stacking shelves at Tesco's.  Which is not to decry that as a job, nor anything beneath me to do - I've done a lot worse to keep my finances intact before.  If my savings were completely out I'd happily shovel shit if it meant I could put food on the table.  Is that the best use of my skills though?  And would Tesco's take one look at my CV and go "nah, you'll fuck off as soon as you get a better job"?  Which they'd be perfectly right in saying, mind.  Far better for them to wait for someone they think is more likely to be a long term employee. 

All sorts of benefits I could have claimed; Council Tax Rebate, Child Support Allowance; the system is a fucking Byzantine maze of dependance - got to have benefit A to claim benefit B, for benefit F you must be claiming D and E - each demanding documentation and correlation. 

Pointless waste of bureacracy.  It doesn't help those that need assistance, and allows the wicked to exploit it.   

Now, whilst the above may read as self pitying, if I - supposedly very highly educated and capable find the entire mess unnavigable, what of those less able? 

How the fuck are they going to claim enough to survive?

No, what we need is a Citizen's Basic Income.  I've argued this before, but recent experience has definitely concreted this thought.  The working poor pay no tax below it if working, and get to decide what they spend it on.  The middle class get something to tide them over between jobs, and the rich won't even notice.

CBI - where is the downside?  No problem for the disadvantaged who might not be able to navigate the system, no cross checking, form filling or interviews required. 

And to please the BreakerMatic in me, the money saved in administering our benefits system can be used to root out fraud for multiple claimers.

Anyway, getting back to the origin of the diary - I used to give about 150-200 a month to good causes.

Who deserves my money this year?

< The Havening | My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard >
Back to work on Monday. | 41 comments (41 topical, 0 hidden)
How can that Council dodge be legal? by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 08:24:19 PM EST
Sounds extortionate to me. Also, I'd reccie the Ammoniacal iPad Int'l Fund. Your donation will go straight to the needy and not be soaked up by ineffectual overhead.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Council dodge... by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 08:29:14 PM EST
Which one?


[ Parent ]
The 'We can't do maths, so you must suffer.' by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #4 Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 09:21:03 PM EST
dodge. That one.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
"How can that be legal" by gpig (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 10:09:00 PM EST
It's actually compulsory, in the sense that the local council are obliged by law to enforce the bills in a way that often doesn't make sense -- especially when they know there's a mistake on the bill.
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(,   ,') -- eep
[ Parent ]
Where's the statute of limitations on by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 10:21:59 PM EST
THEIR errors ?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Effectively, no limitation. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:56:14 AM EST
It'll be on their computer somewhere.  You want to sell the house it'll come up and can put off potential buyers.


[ Parent ]
Thank Dog for modern automation. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #16 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 09:01:04 AM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Previously by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #26 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:10:06 PM EST
It was on file somewhere, so no change.


[ Parent ]
aargh. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #34 Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 06:01:47 PM EST
we spent several hours in property for the different systems for resolving the problem: an easement is granted against the land, but not recorded against the deed, and then the property is sold. easement continues to be valid?
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
Dunno about easement. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #37 Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:49:51 PM EST
But if I were to sell my house with the debt not paid, the buyer would be made aware of it before the contracts could be signed - this is part of the solicitor's search that all mortgage companies insist be undertaken before granting the mortgage.  Any solicitor would do this as part of the conveyancing even for outright cash purchase.

They will usually press for that amount to be taken off the price of the house, or walk away from the purchase.


[ Parent ]
this happens by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #38 Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 06:59:52 PM EST
only because the person owed the debt files paperwork attaching the debt to the property in the form of a lien.

what happens if you sell before they attach the lien?
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Given it took over 6 months by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #39 Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 04:49:58 PM EST
To get to the existing debt over the house when I bought it, I doubt the lien would be unattached.

It's about the only part of the Council's operations that actually work quickly, revenue collection.


[ Parent ]
engage with the hypothetical. :) by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #40 Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 09:02:07 PM EST
Happens automatically. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #41 Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 04:02:46 PM EST
The minute conveyancing begins, they ask the council if there's outstanding debts on the place (held by the council).  The council looks into their big system, which is already loaded up with estimated debt before a contractor even appears on site.

So no, impossible not to have the debt attached.


[ Parent ]
They are. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #14 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:57:15 AM EST
Meeting the council billing guy and going through it he couldn't make head nor tail of it either.


[ Parent ]
Yeah, straight to the needy by kwsNI (4.00 / 2) #3 Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 09:16:00 PM EST
Steve Jobs needs a new liver

[ Parent ]
gpig in "agrees with Breaker" shocker by gpig (4.00 / 2) #6 Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 10:14:35 PM EST
Citizen's income is an excellent idea (and Scottish Green Party policy, not that you get the option to vote for them).

Also, Médecins Sans Frontières. I met an MSF nurse once through a mutual friend. Executive summary: fucking heroes, the lot of them.
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(,   ,') -- eep

IAWTP by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #8 Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 10:34:26 PM EST
I worked alongside them in Haiti. Decent folks who could use the help.

After I get that iPad, of course.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
IAWTP too by spiralx (4.00 / 1) #11 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:59:50 AM EST
I donate to MSF every month, they do great work.

[ Parent ]
MSF by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:58:02 AM EST
Bingo, already had them on my DD's last year.  They're definitely getting cash.


[ Parent ]
This by brokkr (4.00 / 1) #19 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:42:34 AM EST
I see you already made up your mind, but this. MSF are to my mind one of the most important organizations worldwide.

Also, +1 for CBI. Think of the number of people currently wasting their time and effort implementing the bureaucracy who could do something actually productive instead.
--
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

[ Parent ]
To my mind, too, MSF. by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #23 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:08:09 PM EST
They've had cash off me for over 10 years.

Think of the number of people currently wasting their time and effort implementing the bureaucracy who could do something actually productive instead.

Indeed.  If we must have the bloated public sector that we do, how about filling it with extra nurses, carers, librarians and things that even a right winger like myself can see the benefit to society of.  Or have these folks doing something in the private sector, building wealth for themselves and the nation.

Instead of shuffling paper between themselves.

Curious that I can agree with even the most leftist on the site about this; it convinces me of the merit.  If the idea's been pulled about by both sides and the middle of the political spectrum and no one can see a downside, why aren't we doing it, exactly?

For the leftists - the poor have enough to live on.  Perhaps only just, but they can survive and if they want to better their situation then I'd like to think that along with a CBI the taxation kicks in gently at first.

For the rightists - reduced bureaucracy and fraud, people are not boxed into decisions on housing, childcare and so on because voucher X can only be redeemed in service Y - they make their own decisions as to where there entire income is spent (or not).

Any more left / right perspectives?

I suppose the only argument left that's worth having is where is it set?  I'd say the same as (minimum wage for a full time week - 10%), but I'm well open to hearing arguments for other levels. 


[ Parent ]
The American right perspective by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #24 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:24:25 PM EST
What sort of God hating Socialist stuff is CBI? If people know they'll survive without fearfully working their job, they'll quit.

Why should my hard earned income be taken away for a bunch of worthless slackers?

If I become rich, I sure as heck don't want 40% of my money taken away and given to bums.

If they're broke, hungry or homeless, it's their own Damned fault, and they should go to a church.


[ Parent ]
Ah you see by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #27 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:15:51 PM EST
If you're a hard working 'Merkin citizen, you get the CBI free of tax.

It's a low tax regime that helps you work those hours, my friend, low tax.


[ Parent ]
hard working 'merkins deserve free stuff by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #28 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:22:32 PM EST
like mortgage interest deductions, social security, medicare.

It's those that don't work that don't deserve free stuff.


[ Parent ]
And they won't get it. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #30 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:34:55 PM EST
They'll get a helping hand, not a handout. 


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I hate to say this by tuscoops (2.00 / 0) #31 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:53:59 PM EST
But as someone who recently had to file for unemployment for the first time in their life, and only after having exhausted all savings, I required myself to go out and get a volunteer gig. I started doing hospice work, and although it only requires a minimum of one hour a month commitment, I felt I needed to be doing something meaningful with my time, aside from job searching and any other professional or personal areas of interest. I'll probably stick with it once I start working, since the commitment time-wise is so low, but I'm not sure if I would've found that one hour a month without first being in my present situation. That said, I'm not suggesting that everyone on unemployment should have to volunteer their time to something, but I can't imagine what I'd feel about myself if I personally didn't do so. All in all, I don't think anything comes "free". Everyone pays a price for it, in various ways, whether they choose to or not. Unless there are people who have a sense of entitlement for doing absolutely nothing, but those people should probably be in counseling.


[ Parent ]
Don't take me that seriously by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #32 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:01:18 PM EST
I know conservative Americans who would lose their mind if something like CBI came to America, I'm trying to echo their arguments.

I've seen acquaintances try to get on Welfare in New York, it's not nearly as easy as people think.


[ Parent ]
I know you weren't being serious by tuscoops (2.00 / 0) #33 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:39:59 PM EST
I just felt the need to chime in, since there are many problems with unemployment that people don't really take into account, the cost to one's ego or self-worth being a part of that, and I think the mental health aspect is often ignored in our country. Although I wouldn't say that unemployment is a mental illness in and of itself or always leads to mental illness, someone with a history of repeated unemployment or lengthy unemployment is probably suffering from some condition that isn't fully addressed or treated. I know myself well enough that if I were to simply sit around and collect unemployment and make the minimum job searches each week, my self-respect would falter for it. And I don't think I'm alone in that, but I also wonder how many people know that they are not "deserving something that is free" but are actually "earning something that comes with a price". I'm choosing the price I want to pay. I don't think everyone else is, and so they are having that price chosen for them.


[ Parent ]
Citizen's Income thoughts by gpig (2.00 / 0) #25 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:46:59 PM EST
This would necessarily cause a huge amount of disruption in the economy. If (by design) nobody has to work to live, then the worry is that people who do unpleasant or tedious jobs, and aren't living on much at the moment, would just quit.

The hippy solution to that is increased volunteerism. For example, your local cafe might be run as a non-profit, having one salaried employee (the manager) and several staff who work there for free in return for free food, a discount, or just because they like it there. (One of my local pubs here in the US is almost run along those lines -- if you hang around long enough you end up behind the bar).

Of course, even if there are sensible solutions to this problem (and I think there are), there would be huge uncertainty until it became apparent how it would all work out, which would undoubtedly affect the economy in the short term.

The other problem is that to we'd have to increase taxes to pay for it all. Of course, everybody would be getting a basic wage for free. Given that, assuming the increase went on income tax, for those below median wage it would probably work out positive or neutral.
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(,   ,') -- eep

[ Parent ]
It would cause a bit of rebalancing by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #29 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:33:24 PM EST
But those crap jobs would either be filled or pay more.  Which is a bit of a right wing way to express a left wing tenet - rightwing "market decides the pay", leftwing - "all workers deserve paying their worth".

I don't think taxes would have to go up, particularly.  You will get some net winners and losers but I think the overall tax take can cover it, even before savings in bureaucracy and fraud are factored in.

I no longer remember the blog I read that on, but they'd crunched the macroeconomic numbers and they were largely the same as far as the nation's coffers were concerner.  Some microeconomic analysis did prove there were a few strange anomalies, but not many.

I think the key is where the CBI is set - I think if you're on minimum wage, you take home about 8.5K after tax [1] which is about 12K.  That's not a life of luxury though, by any stretch of the imagination.  Shave a little off that so even part time work makes your life noticeably better, and already you have the work incentive, and flexibility in the workforce. 

[1] Which even I find abhorrent.  Admittedly from a low tax perspective, but still, taxing people that are working to below the poverty line is obscene.


[ Parent ]
I think poor people by jump the ladder (4.00 / 3) #9 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:57:50 AM EST
Run through all these hoops for benefits as they have no choice as they need the money more than you or I. If it's choice between not eating or being chucked out of the property, you'll learn the ropes pretty quickly too.

Citizens Basic Income... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #10 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:43:24 AM EST
all for it... No doubt there would be arguments about the level it is set at - but I think we waste a huge amount of time and energy both in the admin of complex benefits and from the people who have to jump through these hoops, wasting time they could be using to look for a job.

As for charity - I think it comes down to personal connection/feeling for what's important.

My mother basically only donates to cancer charities now, in memory of her best friend.
At the moment I mostly volunteer to a local charitable trust because I know the people.



Shelf stacking by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #12 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 06:46:02 AM EST
There are two views of how the dole office should work -

Firstly, the one I agree with, that it should help people back into work on their terms, ie find suitable jobs.

Secondly, that it should help people back into work on the state's terms, ie get them off benefits and let them sort out their careers.

It sounds like it's veering more towards the second view since I was signing on.

Charities: the usual ones aside, a good local one is the St Mungos trust in Camberwell, which gets local homeless people rehoused, which nowadays involves a lot of alcohol/drug work. I have a friend who works for them, and I can assure you he breaks his fucking back doing it, your money won't be wasted.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

scope creep by Merekat (4.00 / 2) #17 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 09:13:16 AM EST
And government by tabloid. One of the most horrible things about the UK really, the latter. Both populist left and populist right are prone to it. A few shock stories, someone demands 'something be done', a little patch of legislation, a little extra hurdle, never looking at the whole only reacting to FUD.

CBI is a great idea. But come back in 10 years and it will have had the same scope creep I suspect:(

And Medicin Sans Frontieres, Victim Support for charity.

Down's Syndrome Association by darkbrown (4.00 / 1) #18 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 09:37:54 AM EST
It was the charity that donations went to at WPKAW's thanksgiving service.

£10 a month

Wrong account ? by Phage (4.00 / 1) #20 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 11:22:52 AM EST


[ Parent ]
No, sorry by darkbrown (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:00:46 PM EST
didn't mean to cause you confusion

[ Parent ]
Good news by Phage (4.00 / 1) #21 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 11:48:24 AM EST
Where did you find a role ? One of the $megabanks ?

Citizens Basic Income by codemonkey uk (2.00 / 0) #35 Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 06:45:28 AM EST
A friend of mine suggested a very similar system as a fix for tax/benefits:

Everyone gets a basic cost of living income from the government. Everyone get it, no exceptions, flat income, and there are no other government benefits.

All income is taxed, from the first penny you earn, no tax credits, flat tax.

It can't be cheated (beside tax avoidance),  administration costs practically vanish, and it always pays to work.

Under such a system additional support for those in need of social care (elderly, disabled) comes in the form of support services, not cash payments.

--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.

Yep. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #36 Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:47:39 PM EST
That's what I'm on about.  I would argue that it's still better to give additional grants of cash to be spent by the person if they are elderly or disabled though, rather than services.  For those too young or unable to manage their money, the money would be directed by their guardian, which already has basis in law anyway.


[ Parent ]
Back to work on Monday. | 41 comments (41 topical, 0 hidden)