[Re: Welfare spending should fall but it’s no short-term budgetary cure, yesterday]
Andrew Lilico makes an excellent case. Welfare spending is, of course, too high. But this is driven by eligibility being far too wide – 53 per cent of households now receive more in state spending than they pay in tax. Hopefully the coalition’s welfare reforms will pay off over the next decade. But what does that mean for us now? Should we make swingeing cuts to some departments – of the order of 30 per cent in real terms – while protecting others? No, that’s indefensible. Health and schools, however well-loved, are as important as police or the courts. Salami slicing must end, and the coalition should find its courage.
[Re: A brave plan to reprivatise RBS would give the coalition common purpose, Tuesday]
The suggestion that the government stake in RBS should just be given away is disturbing. Doing this would in no way reflect the fact that some people (since they pay significantly more in tax) effectively had a bigger responsibility for bailing out the bank in the first place. Equally, it would do very little to pay off national debt. If we followed Ryan Bourne’s suggestion, gains above the break-even level would only return to the Treasury once the shares were sold – potentially decades later. The government should quietly, and without fanfare, sell RBS shares onto the open market.
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