Tag Archives: 2013

My State so Far

So at 3 pm yesterday, the 1st of July, the half-year bell rang.

Rating: 4/10

Highlight: Yeah this is a tough one, a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. My friends always make me smile and help take my mind off things, so I’ll go for anytime spent with friends. Mushy I know but everything else has been pretty rubbish.

Lowlight: All of the medical stuff. After a few chilled out years, everything has gone mad again. Having to recover from two surgeries in 6 months isn’t easy and the impact that they have had on my life has been pretty brutal. The first was completely my own fault but unintentional. The second was sprung on me with only 3 weeks warning, after two and a half years with no contact.

Felt: Pretty bloody depressed to be honest.

Want: A new start, today is going to be my New Year part deux, much like Hot Shots! It will be brilliant. The summer will arrive, at last, and everything will work itself out, for better or worse.

Need: The next 6 months to give some answers, or at least some clues or a crumb of information. I have never had any patience and I have spent the last 6 months waiting for too many things to happen.

Miss: Getting on with life. Before the start of this year I was fine, pain free and pretty health, or so I thought. Now I am always in pain and have discovered some pretty major health problems.

Learnt: That optimism isn’t always a good trait to hold. When you instinctively hope for the best and imagine the consequences of the best outcome, getting knocked back can take its toll. But hey I will continue to buy a lottery ticket; someone has to win.

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Age-Related Universal Benefits Can’t Continue

Now this has been going around in my head since I watched Dispatches on Channel 4 last Monday (18/3/13), the subject was on “rich” pensioners and the universal benefits system for people in retirement. Benefits for pensioners currently make up a little under half the UK’s benefit system of £220bn, which is larger than our intake from income tax, £155bn.

The program listed all the age-related benefits pensioners enjoy.

  1. State Pension
  2. Winter Fuel Payment
  3. Cold Weather Payment
  4. £10 Christmas Bonus
  5. TV license for over 75 year old
  6. Higher Personal Tax Allowance
  7. Exemption from National Insurance contributions
  8. Free NHS Dental treatment
  9. Free NHS Prescriptions
  10. Free NHS Eye Test every two years
  11. Voucher towards the costs of glasses/contact lenses
  12. Contribution to travel costs for NHS appointments
  13. Free NHS wigs

I think it is important to point out that I fully support a universal state pension and exemptions from national insurance, however surely this is where it should stop for any universal benefit system for retirees. All otherbenefits should be means tested and only provided to those who cannot afford it or need the extra income to improve the quality of their lives, and I mean actually using the winter fuel allowance for a gas bill and not on a case of red wine to ‘warm your soul’.

The widely offered opinion from many retirees or people nearing retirement is that they have paid taxes all their lives and deserve all they get in retirement, especially if the money goes instead towards funding the benefit hungry lifestyles of the youth. Now, I have no problem with people believing if they paid taxes in during a full working life then they should expect the state to help fund their retirement. The problem is not the grievance with any move that would take universal retirement benefits and reallocate them within the benefits system to people who are seen as work shy. My problem is the lack of forward thinking as to who will in the long run pick up the bill.

The economy is already is a pretty shocking state and we simply can’t afford the growth in retirement benefits that the “baby boomer” generation will bring. If, like me, you are in your twenties with, in all likelihood, 50 years of working ahead of you the levels of taxes we will pay in our lifetime will be incomparable to those currently in retirement or nearing it. Without a drastic change to the current system it will not be the work shy who benefit, it will be the hard working who forfeit more income in taxes to cover this retirement income.

The power held by the “grey” voter is unprecedented. Any government who even murmurs of addressing this problem is threaten with losing the seat of power, and this is where the system fails. The government should not be addressing this as removing universal benefits but a spreading the load away from the next generation. The message should be,

‘Does Malcolm, who has worked hard and paid taxes all his life and is more than comfortable in retirement, want his son or daughter, who is also working hard and paying taxes, to have anything near the quality of life he has/had? If so he needs to sacrifice those benefits that are not directly needed, and accept a means tested system for all but the standard state pension. His son or daughter will already have a lower quality of life if he or she earns the same amount as Malcolm in his life, without addressing universal benefits it will be even worse.’

The problem with the “benefits generation” who move straight in to the system at 18 and show no desire to move off it is a far greater problem than redressing the universal benefits for those in retirement. Bringing it into the argument only muddies the waters.

Now don’t get me wrong I am not having a go at a generation who have worked so hard to build the UK economy to be a world leader in many sectors. There are huge problems with my generation and our attitude to saving for retirement. To put it simply, if you are over 25 and don’t have a pension you need a slap, if you have opted out of a work placed scheme you need two slaps and if you opt out of NEST you need not continue, please bury your head and forgo you right to retire. But without redressing the age-related universal benefits the cost will spiral as the number of pensioners increase and it will be the younger generations and those to come who will be paying off an exponential bill.

My State on Sunday 10/52

Weekly Rating: 3/10

Highlight: Watching films from under a duvet

Lowlight: Manflu

Felt: like the world was collapsing on top of me

Watched: Contraband, Margin Call, The Man Inside. Margin Call is good, Contraband is OK and The Man Inside is utter shite. 

Read: The Fear Index, it’s a hard one to get into.

Visited: Work, Hospital, sick bed.

Want: to rid myself of the all powerful manflu that now controls my body

Need: to find the sorceress of Castle Grayskull, so by the power of the Greyskull I can beat the all encompassing manflu.

Miss: not being snotty.

Learnt: I am really melodramatic

My State on Sunday 9/52

Weekly Rating: 9/10

Highlight: Impressing people.

Lowlight: Losing every race I bet on at Lingfield

Felt: Pumped, ended the week on a massive high

Watched: The horse racing at Lingfield.  

Read: The Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox, finished this and have now started on The Fear Index .

Visited: Work, a racecourse, pubs and bars.

Want: to have an iPhone without a smashed screen

Need: to have the most positive week ever, this one could have answers.

Miss: Having a phone I can use without getting shards of glass getting stuck in me.

Learnt: I am really rubbish at betting on horses, I bet on all 7 races and didn’t even pick a horse that placed.

 

My State on Sunday 9/52

Weekly Rating: 9/10

Highlight: Impressing people and spending the day at Lingfield racecourse with the family

Lowlight: Losing every race I bet on at Lingfield, it turns out I’m rubbishat betting

Felt: Pumped, ended the week on a massive high

Watched: The horse racing at Lingfield.

Read: The Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox, finished this and have now started on The Fear Index .

Visited: Work, a racecourse, pubs, bars and friends

Want: to have an iPhone without a smashed screen, an inebriated imbecile dropped it on the pavement.

Need: to have the most positive week ever, this one could have answers, and quite a few of them 🙂

Miss: Having a phone I can use without getting shards of glass getting stuck in me.

Learnt: I am really rubbish at betting on horses, I bet on all 7 races and didn’t even pick a horse that placed.

 

Seth MacFarlane’s Opening Monologue

 

The UK press have gone mental over a song about boobs, suggesting sexism. But if you watch the actual footage, rather than the UK press’s clipped version, it is clear everyone is in on the joke and laughing along. MacFarlane nailed it, unsurprisingly, bringing the cleaner side of Family Guy to the biggest awards night around. Bravo and Encore

My State on Sunday 8/52

Weekly Rating: 8/10

Highlight: Brocking out in the early hours.

Lowlight: Reading FSA proposals and responses, SNORE

Felt: Motivated, you have to be in it to win it, and winning is the only thing that matters!

Watched: ALL THE AMERICAN TV and The Fried Chicken Shop which is comedy gold.  

Read: The Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox, a great great book.

Visited: Hospital, work, pubs, restaurants and bars.

Want: to go a day without feeling like a body part is so cold it will fall off

Need: to have a good week, this one could be big!

Miss: Being able to have a night out and not suffer from a two day hangover.

Learnt: How to use the washing machine without blowing up or flooding the house.

 

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