First They Came for the Upper Decile…

top-decile

Yesterday was another orgy of “bash the rich” political populism. Once again, as the above chart from the Treasury shows, the most productive people were punished the most by the Chancellor. This is because he thinks it is good politics. It isn’t.

Osborne boasts that he is putting the biggest burdens on the broadest shoulders because “the rich can afford it”, a view widely held across the political spectrum, even some Tory MPs agree. They might have a rethink when they understand that the upper income decile getting clobbered year after year is not the mansion and yacht owning super rich, it includes them. The median gross income that puts an individual in the top decile is £60,500, that is less than what an MP earns. The same MPs whom so often claim they can’t live in London on their salaries….

Since 2010 Osborne has gone out of his way to make sure that the gini coefficient is better than it was under Gordon Brown, the measure of income inequality shows that inequality is declining under the coalition, the rich are not getting richer relative to the rest of the population. We are all relatively poorer is Osborne’s pathetic boast.

quintiles-since-2010

By the next election the upper quintile since 2010 will have suffered the most under this government – upper income voters are usually well disposed towards voting Conservative,  yet the Chancellor clobbers his core vote. Why do members of the commentariat glibly repeat that Osborne is a strategic genius? The Conservative voter’s answer to Reagan’s famous question “Are you better off now than you were four years?” is most likely “no”. For an individual to be in the upper income quintile they have to earn the princely sum of £39,800. Not exactly people who spend their weekdays in mansions and weekends on yachts… 

Why does the son of a baronet do it? It is because he is the son of a baronet that he feels he has to do it, the toxicity of the posh, rich charge is what they fear most. The polls persistently show that people think they – Cameron and Osborne – don’t understand “ordinary people like us”. So to neutralise the charge they punish their own supporters most, and it still doesn’t do any good…




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