If ever there was any doubt about the fact that the Golden Rule* is still fully in force, compare the media coverage of and political rhetoric about the two crimes I mention in the title of this post. Benefit Fraudsters are scum; feckless, worthless criminals; living immorally off our taxes. Tax Evaders are barely mentioned at all, and when they are they are mentioned in the kind of force-of-nature way that rapists are mentioned in victim-blaming discourse...
Very few people pay attention to the fact that tax evasion costs us fifteen times as much as benefit fraud
. Add tax avoidance into the mix, and it costs £95billion
, next to the relative peanuts of £1.5billion for benefit fraud. This gets ignored because the rich and powerful, the owners of the newspapers and the politicians who rail the hardest against IPSA, don't want us to know that the stuff they
do as a matter of course, that they feel entitled to do, costs the tax payer more than an order of magnitude more than benefit fraud.
Very few people pay attention to the fact that most benefit fraudsters do so to survive, because benefits are not enough to live on
. Very few of the people who rant about benefit fraudsters have ever actually tried to live on benefits. There is an especial hypocrisy when a lot of those self-same people go on about poor pensioners, when pensioners get almost double Jobseeker's allowance (note: I am not saying that pensioners are living in clover; they are not. Just pointing out that they get more peanuts than those on JSA)
Even the terminology is damning: benefit FRAUD is a crime, it's despicable, it's evil. Tax EVASION... well, it's something we'd all do if we could, right? It's stepping out of the path of something nasty. Much as I hate to be on the same side as LabourLost
and the TUC and lining up against my own party, I have to say that...
If this was really about saving money for the exchequer, we would be chasing the tax avoiders and the tax evaders 63 and a third times as hard as the benefit fraudsters, and they would feature in the news reports 63 and a third times as often. The fact that they don't tell me that something else is going on, and it is this:
The poor are easier to bash and less able to fight back than the rich.
What gets me is why so many people just swallow it and put up with it. Any idea how we can do something about that, oh all-knowing internets?* He who has the gold makes the rules
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