There is a lot of News about income today. It is a very controversial topic that I have often found myself tiptoeing around. People are being bombarded with assertions about tax cuts, average earnings and shortfalls in household incomes. It is an interesting issue which can be very polarising but the basics are straight forward. The obvious question is ‘Do we take society for granted?’
This article is about challenging the popular belief that:
“Society Owes Us”
I try to be optimistic and so will aim to represent my thoughts on this in a positive way. I have read articles and heard conversations recently where people have asserted that society owes us money.
Generally when people say this, it feels as though the speakers want everything on a plate and free. I regularly hear things like:
‘Benefits should be raised.’
‘We don’t get enough financial support.’
‘We are taxed way too much.’
‘If we go to work we lose some of our benefits. Let’s stay at home.’
OK I am paraphrasing but these are the general ideas that seem to be floating around.
I spoke to some university students about how they afford their studies and they have talked about loans and funding but rarely do I hear, ‘I work a part time job.’ In fact I have outright asked why students don’t work and they say they prefer to enjoy their spare time. Fair enough. Maybe.
Perhaps society has moved away from ‘Work Hard, Reap the Rewards’ but I really liked that work ethic.
Am I right to express my concern?
Hard to tell. I like people being comfortable and living their lives to the full. I also like fairness and equality. More than anything, I believe that hard work is important and fulfilling and should be something to aspire to.
So governments can’t win. If they raise taxes they can fund the NHS, education, environmental improvements and so on. If they cut taxes, they seem to have their fingers on the pulse but end up borrowing and causing the whole country to suffer. For me a tax cut would be great! However, is it going to lead to cuts in other services? Probably. Luxembourg has higher taxes than the UK but wonderful national provision for health, business and transport (free buses and trains). Their average wages are higher too.
When I was young…
I suppose it is just my personal experience but I welcomed my mum for teaching me the value of hard work. I had a chart on the fridge and every time I did a job (wash the car, hoover the stairs etc) I got 20p. These all added up to make my pocket money.
As soon as I was 13 I got a paper round and enjoyed earning money by delivering Sunday newspapers and weekly ones later as well. At 16 I started earning by working in the supermarket on Friday evenings, Saturdays and eventually Sundays too (until then shops were not allowed to open Sundays so when the Sunday trading laws came out I soaked up the double time wage).
Throughout my A-Levels I worked extra hours in the shop as much as I could and during the holidays. At Uni this carried on and I loved knowing that I was paying my own way. Nobody helped me. Where has that drive to work and earn and give something to society gone?
I also volunteered for charity roughly ten hours a week. But I am not showing off. Many of my friends and colleagues did as well. We paid our way and never expected any freebies. Heck- we even paid tax on our hard earned wages.
I suppose my point is this…
Yes people have disabilities which prevent them from working and health issues that make it more difficult. They should be fully supported by the system. But let’s face it there are thousands of people who choose not to work. They decided they are better off taking money from the state. I know this is true and research suggests it is widespread.
Recent data suggests over one million job vacancies in the UK. One million! Yet there are people out there who could be making a difference by filling these positions.
Where is my positivity?
I believe if we adopt a more GIVE than TAKE attitude to society we will prosper and our country will feel better. Work promotes health, mental wellbeing, feeling needed, accomplishment, wealth, happiness and achievement.
I feel like opening the floodgates now… What do you think about the subject?