Saturday, 1 August 2009

You Don't Support People On Benefits. Footballers Do.

Every now and again I will hear someone go on about a neighbour, friend, or family member who is a dole bludger. It's either someone with no job and no intention of getting a job, someone claiming Disability Living Allowance who appears outwardly to be able to just about any job, or someone (usually a lass) who has a bounty of offspring all supported by state handouts. Usually the complaint will involve one or the other of the following statements:

"I've paid taxes all my working life, and now I'm supporting this dosser."

Or:

"They're perfectly capable of working. They just know they don't have to!"

All in all, it's a fair point. I mean, I actually quite like the idea of someone giving me money for what might appear to be nothing. But then I get bored easily, and working seems to pass the time without me resorting to increasing Kleenex's profit margins or seeing my waistline expand again. So by working I have that unavoidable situation where I have to pay taxes. Or work in a sweatshop/brothel.

Here's the other statement I've heard:

"Some of these bastards get about £30 000 a year of my money in benefits!"

What always impresses me about statements like this is that absolutely none of the people I've ever heard say it have ever paid £30 000 in a year in tax. Quite honestly, most of them have never been educated well enough to be in a position to earn that amount. Which begs the question: If there are thousands of doleys out there raking in 30 grand a year in numerous state handouts from our taxes, who is picking up the slack?

It's obvious. It's the other end of the spectrum that we like to moan about: professional sportsmen. Particularly footballers.

Look at it like this: A guy in the Premiership can easily earn £60 000 a month kicking a football around for a few hours a week. I'm not doubting the skill involved, or the effort put into maintaining the highest standards of fitness and craftsmanship, but I am saying that giving someone that much money is no less offensive than handing a single mother of four half that each year in benefits. Then when you take into account that footballer has to pay a flat rate of 50% in income tax, and what you've suddenly got is a guy that pours £30 000 a month into the benefits pot. Even more notable are the players who earn more than that 60k.

In short, an average Premiership footballer can support 12 single parent, non-working, full-benefit families a year. A superstar of the league can probably keep a dozen eighteen year olds sniffing glue and smoking cheap crap weed for a whole year, and ease the burden on the chronic asthmatic smokers, the golf playing spine injury brigade and the epileptic drivers without ever having to worry about where the next meal is coming from.

Yes, your taxes probably do contribute to supporting some undesirables, but why not have a bit of faith in humanity and consider your taxes might pay to rehabilitate an injured soldier, or help train a doctor, or provide funding for the various nationwide projects that are beneficial to society but don't draw widespread right-wing press coverage?

Seriously, unless you pay more than 30% of your wages in tax, you should probably shut the fuck up about who is getting what from the government. Especially if you're a football fan. Even moreso if you're a fan of "The Big Four".

Remember: for all the looking down you do on those less fortunate than you, there will be some big earner doing the same to you. It's not a nice aspect of our society.