Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The Plight Of the Middle Classes

Here in the UK there was a Chancellor of the Exchequer, later Prime Minister although not by popular election, who destroyed, well hugely devalued anyway the pension provisions of hard working middle class people. Some of them took it on the chin but others looked at other ways to provide for their old age. One of those ways was through buying property to rent out.

As with their pension decisions people based their choices on the rules at the time. A new Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, is now waging war on those people, forcing them to sell up or lose money, Hobson's choice. The high moral position that he takes is that it will help first time  buyers. Which it won't really.

Now, many of the buy to let investors are slightly older people and when they bought their first homes they had to save for a deposit, there was no such thing as one hundred percent mortgages back then, no help to buy schemes either. Most paid astronomical interest rates too, which skyrocketed with little or no warning. Double figure rates.

Things are not materially worse for first time buyers today unless they are already saddled with huge debt from their education, another wrong brought about by politicians, Tony Blair principally. The really iniquitous thing though is how they (the politicians) seek to divide society.

The attack on buy to let landlords, who on the whole maintain their properties and charge fair rents, is just one example. The rhetoric pitches the landlords against the first time buyers, when actually there is no conflict at all. No one forces you to rent, everyone makes their own decisions, when to leave home, what education to pursue, what career to pursue, when to get married, when to start a family, when to buy.

If buy to let landlords flood the market with property, there may be a short term dip in prices. The thing is, that usually when property prices fall there is a corresponding loss of confidence too, it doesn't really help, it's a bit like the old boom and bust Gordon Brown promised to eliminate.

There is a welfare system in the UK, but that's selective too. I know a middle class couple, late middle age and the wife has early dementia. It's a genuine tragedy, but they will pay for her care, probably for years and years, until the husband is left not only with no wife, but also with no future and no proper retirement for himself. Middle class you see, worked all his life.

If they had nothing, had done nothing, owned nothing the state would help. Now no one is saying the state shouldn't help those with nothing, but it does seem iniquitous that those who've contributed all their lives struggle to get help when they really need it, again it's divisive, them and us.

And yet it is the middle classes that are the power house of any economy, it's generally the middle classes who generate the wealth and espouse family values and education and decency, so why are they the enemy of all political parties?

Leading a decent life T shirts.

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