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“Please sir, can I have some more?” A dangerous experiment gone wrong

A dangerous experiment gone wrong

On the 1st of January, 1909, something happened for the first time in British history.lloyd_george.jpg

The government agreed to redistribute taxes to support people in their old age. On that day, more than any other, the modern welfare state began in earnest.

The rules were simple. Men aged 70 and above could claim between
 2 and 5 shillings per week from the government.

But for all the positive press and good feeling, the government wasn’t really making that big a financial commitment – because back then the average working man could only expect to live to 48 years of age.

That’s the equivalent of offering someone a pension today… but only when they reach the ripe old age of 115. So the idea of rewarding anyone who made it to 70 with a hand-out from the public purse seemed perfectly fair. And more importantly for the government, cheap.

That first year only 500,000 men qualified for a government pension. So at the time there were 10 workers for every pensioner.

Lloyd George initiated a social experiment that would soon spiral out of control.
It was a perfectly workable policy, but few politicians realised that they were setting in motion a sequence of events that would inevitably lead to the crisis Britain faces now.

And let’s not forget, at the beginning of the 20th century, Britain still had a booming overseas Empire. It had yet to fight in the cripplingly expensive First World War. The economy was on a seemingly permanent upward trajectory.

And the idea that Britain could face any kind of decline – financial or otherwise – had not yet entered mainstream thinking. We could afford to pay for a welfare state, so why shouldn’t we implement it?

But there was one problem: now the welfare state had started… no one had any idea where it would stop… or whether it could actually be stopped if it became unaffordable. Very much another piece of idealism enacted by white men, the European Union.

The liberal intelligentsia, well meaning and under the guise of 'caring' yet economically illiterare, had dug a hole for the UK populace then dropped them right in it. Now as they the UK electorate and Politicians endeavour to dig themselve out of the hole, they realise is is made of quicksand, and the more they try to get out the deeper they sink.


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