Thursday, 8 March 2012

A modest proposal to amend the child benefit system

I’ve just read a Telegraph item by Neil O’Brien suggesting the public would accept a child benefit cap for more than three children (available here). Well, yes, obviously we would. But surely the problem isn’t the number of children that recipients produce, but rather the kind of children the coalition government's proposed changes would leave us all shelling out for in perpetuity.

Stopping child benefit for parents if either of them is a top-rate taxpayer will discourage procreation amongst  the very people who are most likely to bring up their offspring properly and who are most likely to produce children who will in turn grow up to become members of the “coping classes” – i.e. there’s a reasonable chance they’ll be bright, sensible, self-reliant members of society, just like you and I.

Given the current mania for social engineering, isn’t this an ideal opportunity to dissuade poor people from having more children than they can cope with (many of them evidently can'y cope with any at all)? After all, any system which encourages the undeserving poor to litter the state education and criminal justice systems with yet more ineducable little psychopaths strikes me as decidedly rum. Do we actually need more state-subsidised gun and knife-toting vandals, muggers and drug-dealers? Do we really want unemployed, uneducated teeange slappers on council estates popping out yet more costly human detritus so they can spend the money on fags, booze, drugs and foreign holidays?

The aim of all governments these days appears to be to make everyone middle class. The reason for this is simple. In this post-manufacturing economy, we don’t need as many uneducated working-class people as we once did. Besides, some immigrant groups, especially the Poles, can do many of the jobs the traditional British working classes used to do, only better and cheaper: they also tend to be better-educated, harder-working and better-behaved. (I haven’t included immigrants from India, because so many of them go on to become middle class.)

The fairly rich (let’s say, households bringing in more than £150,000 a year) don’t need piddly little financial incentives to reproduce. But households bringing in between £40,000 and £100,000 a year most certainly do, especially if they’re self-sacrificing enough to pay for their children’s education.

So here’s my proposal: remove all child benefits from individuals earning less than £20,000, reduce the subsidy on offer to those earning between £20,000 and £40,000 a year and to those earning between £100,000 to £150,000 a year, and double child benefit payments to those earning between £40,000 and £100,000 a year.

In six years, state education rolls would begin to fall, and would go on falling sharply for the next twelve years, saving us a fortune (with the added bonus that there would be far fewer public sector teachers to vote Lib-Dem and Labour). The number of council estate residents would also shrink over the same period, allowing us to start demolishing those which act as academies for crime, misery and degradation. The savings on the criminal justice system would be sensational as the juvenile crime rate plummeted (and the adult crime rate would plummet thereafter).

One of the main arguments for allowing immigration to let rip – that we need their current contributions to pay for the rising pension costs of an aging population (which we know to be false, because immigrants represent a net drain on the economy) would become moot, as an increase in the middle-class population would mean more people paying tax, and a severe cut in immigration from certain parts of the world would mean a much reduced welfare bill (and fewer social problems and less crime, leading to further savings to the public purse).

Best of all, left-wingers (including pseudo-Conservatives of the Cameronian tendency) wouldn’t have so many poor people to use as human shields when increasing the amount of money they extract from us in income and stealth taxes.

Two final points. I'm not saying the poor shouldn't be allowed to have children: it's just that they won't be financially rewarded for doing so. And if the sapping effects of welfare dependency and an ineffective state teaching system hadn't  halted social mobility in its tracks, I wouldn't have a leg to stand on, because there would be a far greater chance of poor children eventually becoming members of the coping classes.

Future generations would thank us. As things stand, they’ll simply wonder what the hell we were thinking of.


  1. Thank you for stopping short of advocating eugenics. Or one can also join "The Friends of Herod Society" [see yellow Pages or daytime TV]. See also their info-film "Salome" with Charles Laughton, viz:

    Herod: "Where is John the Baptist?"
    Salome: " He is on the balcony, Sire, exposing himself to the Israelites".

    Or the French have a NGO called "Les Bouches Inutiles" which is run by Mlle Le Pen.

  2. I've always been very opposed to eugenics, and I think anyone aborting a foetus because it's female should be sent to prison - but I don't think positively encouraging the most feckless elements in society to reproduce is the cleverest thing a government can do.

    The israelites have certainly had a lot to put up with over the years!