Some people will be so unwell they are unable to work at all whilst others will be hugely disadvantaged in the employment market. The same applies to disabled people. No matter how much fake healing takes place in Atos assessment offices, no amount of DWP miracles are going to facilitate wheelchair users working as scaffolders or people with visual impairments driving buses.
Wheelchairs cost money, as do carers, specialised transport, and other equipment – all of which is vital for disabled people to be able to function in society, whether in work or not.
This leaves society with a decision to make. We can either spend that money, or let disabled people, or those who are unwell, die of hunger, neglect or suicide. Since most of us are likely to experience disability or severe ill health at some point in our all too terminal lives, then it is perhaps in our own self interest that we spend the money.
The only exception to this is the very rich who have the resources to support themselves should they become unable to work due to illness or disability. This represents a tiny percentage of the population, probably less than 5%. Unfortunately these bastards are in charge.
Luckily there are lots more of us than them. Something they are all too aware of no matter how much they pretend otherwise. The rich have been murdered in their beds more than once in history after all.
This leaves an uneasy stalemate in the class war, which in the UK is known as the Welfare State.
The Welfare State is good value for almost all of us, but it is bad news for the rich. The rich get most of their money from the work we do. The less they pay us, the more money for them. Therefore the rich need to increase the social and economic penalties for people who are unemployed, disabled or unwell. This will increase competition for jobs, which means they can pay us less. As well as this, the creation of a huge market in health, disability or income protection insurance is good news for the rich. The main reason the rich object to the Welfare State is that they see it as an obstacle to making even more money out of us.
It is therefore in the interests of the rich to dismantle and privatise as much of the Welfare State as possible, and that is what is taking place now. To stop themselves being murdered in their beds however, the rich need to convince us it’s a good idea. Because the cost of the Welfare State is socialised – meaning we all pay even though it only really exists to stop the rich getting murdered in their beds – the rich can use this against us. They can tell us that welfare spending is out of control. That benefit claimants are scroungers or frauds. That anyone can work if they just pull their finger out, even people without fingers.
This kind of of propaganda has now reached grotesque levels. Whilst employers (the rich or aspiring rich) regularly report in surveys that they wouldn’t employ someone with, for example, a severe disability or mental health condition, they still demand that those people work. If you can tweet you can work said one rich MP and former employer, as if there are thousands of tweeting jobs available to disabled people.
Welfare spending is not out of control. The UK does not spend more on sickness, unemployment or disability benefits than other economically comparable countries. Unemployment and disability benefit rates are miserly and often barely meet the cost of living. The UK spends more on defence than it spends in total on out of work benefits whilst coppers cost more than the total spend on Job Seekers Allowance.
It is peculiar that whilst the rich constantly strive to remind us of the importance of competition or the wonders of the free market and privatisation, only the most swivel eyed cranks believe it would be a good idea to privatise the police or the army. Coincidentally these are the two institutions the rich are likely to depend on for protection should things get fruity.
The rich never say that defence spending is out of control, even though it costs almost twice as much annually as the amount spent on working age disabled claimants. This spending is not just about the rich hoping to prevent themselves being murdered in their beds one day. They own or invest in the arms companies after all.
The truth is that whilst the rich don’t like the Welfare State they love unemployment. Full employment would be disaster for the rich, meaning wage demands would soar. If those demands were not met then the workers might start getting ideas about taking over the workplace themselves. This would never do for the rich. That might mean they wouldn’t be rich anymore.
Every cut to disability, sickness or unemployment benefits is another step forward in the drive to dismantle the Welfare State. Yet the rich know they are playing a dangerous game. They are gambling their very lives on the belief that working class people are so divided, alienated and beaten down by relentless capitalism and media bombardment that we will not rise up against them. But just in case, they would far rather spend our money on bombs, bullets and prisons than disability, sickness or unemployment benefits.