The ‘blithering idiot’ responds

Apparently, I’m a blithering idiot. This morning I had a ‘pingback’ on my post – a very useful feature that lets you know if someone links to your post on one of theirs – so I thought I’d take a look.

The result was quite amusing. Tim Worstall, a ‘right-wing writer’ according to his Amazon page, considered my post on the founding of the welfare state and the real structural problems of concentration of wealth & income in the pockets of people and companies who pay little or no tax on it, to be ‘blithering idiocy’.

Frankly, I find being called an idiot by people who’ve fallen for the right-wing myths a badge of honour and a substantial compliment – and when it’s by people who propagate those myths, it’s even more so. However, I also spent a couple of minutes writing a quick rebuttal to his points. It wasn’t very hard.

You can read his comments here. My rebuttal is below:

Thanks for your ‘kind’ comments lol. Unfortunately, as so often the case when we call someone an idiot, as we point one finger 3 point back at us.

The government is not having to rebuild the NHS from scratch now – it arrived & took over what existed. But instead of maintaining it, they’re dismantling it. That’s idiocy of the highest order, especially when changing it is costing a fortune, and adding a profit margin for private providers must either make it more expensive or drive down wages, either of which is bad for the economy.

As for pensions, even Hutton who recommended changing them forecast the cost to come DOWN for the next 40 years – WITHOUT his changes!

Re tax share of GDP – tax rates have come down massively since the Thatcher government, both top private rate and the corporate rate. And that’s the problem – a much bigger share of our national income now goes to people/entities who pay little or no tax on it. Correct that and everything is easily affordable. But a neoliberal worldview doesn’t want a fair system. It would rather penalise the vulnerable an make the rich richer.

Besides, you denigrated my point without addressing it. I don’t know you, so I can’t say whether that’s a tactic or an oversight. VAT isn’t relevant to my point. Has corporate profit gone up as a share of GDP or not? Have wages come down as a share of GDP or not? If they have, then my point still stands. And VAT disproportionately affects low earners, so it does anything but nullify my argument.

Don’t have a lot of time to get into an ongoing debate with you, but right of rebuttal to your comment and all that. Let’s see whether you’re brave enough to approve this comment lol

Have a nice life!

I’d expected him to have to approve my comment before it would appear on his page, but it seemed to go straight up. Let’s see whether he leaves it on show.

Making waves is fun..


  1. Worstall’s rude, but he’s happy to be abused right back and never censors comments to my knowledge.

    Anyway, I don’t believe you fully address his points.

    1) The welfare state in 1945 did not look like the welfare state in 2012. Take pensions. In 1945, life expectancy was around 65, so setting a pension age at 65 meant that half the men were dead before they even claimed their first payment. today with life expectancy around 80, the average man is going to receive 15 years of pension payments. The two situations are simply not comparable.

    2) Your two graphs of corporate profits and wages as a proportion of GDP are hard to compare as they are different sizes, but they don’t appear to agree with this comprehensive graph which shows all of the four constituents of GDP so that it totals to 100%:


    Here you can see that corporate profits have not risen by much if at all (depending on your starting point), maybe two or three percent. The majority of the shortfall in wages has been taken by an increase in self-employed income (which is both wages and profits) and an increase in tax. So yes, employee wages have fallen as a proportion of GDP, but not purely or even mostly because of an increase in profits – it’s an increase in tax and a shift to self-employment that have made the largest differences.

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