Tories living in the land where the Magic Job Tree grows alongside the Magic Money Tree

This policy will only work in the land where the Magic Job Tree grows alongside the Magic Money Tree that ensures all such jobs are well paid. And that only exists in the head of some policy wonks in Tory think tanks.

Richard Murphy is the founder of the Tax Justice Network

As the Guardian notes this morning:

A new frontier of the battle over the welfare state is being opened up as employment ministers look for ways to target the working poor by asking 1 million in-work recipients of tax credits to do more to boost their earnings.

Under the proposals, jobcentre staff will have powers to withdraw universal credit if claimants are deemed to be doing too little to increase their earnings.

Ministers are considering more frequent interviews at jobcentres, and even requiring people to move to different jobs to reduce the size of the benefit bill.

Let’s just consider what this means for a moment.

First, in an economy where there are 2.5 million unemployed and many, many more under-employed because of a lack of demand in the economy as a whole this policy is absurd: Job Centres can’t find work for those unemployed right now, let alone those in work who aren’t, according to the government, earning enough.

Second, let’s remember that this proposal is running in parallel with a suggestion that the minimum  wage be frozen or cut.

Third, let’s ignore for a minute the implications of this for choice or liberty that the right wing is meant to particularly treasure.

Fourth, let’s wonder for a minute how those in work are to go about all these extra interviews, with Job Centres and new employers when their existing employer has no reason to give them paid time off to take part in this process. Who picks up the tab for that?

But last let’s just note the sheer economic absurdity of this. There are no jobs because the Tories will not undertake the necessary spending to create them, and the whole of the Tory supply side reform agenda, whether about minimum pay, reducing employment rights and more,  is about cutting wages and making it easier to sack those who want an increase in them.

In which case this policy will only work in the land where the Magic Job Tree grows alongside the Magic Money Tree that ensures all such jobs are well paid.

And that only exists in the head of some policy wonks in Tory think tanks.

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