- A primary school education
- Library use
- Occasional doctors and dentists appointments
Yet suddenly, having a baby, I'm getting loads of stuff for free - the birth (including about 10 epidural shots at £250 a time), free prescriptions and brilliantly our local council runs some fantastic free classes for babies, including breastfeeding support, baby massage, and an excellent music class. (Though I guess council stuff is probably paid for by council tax rather than income tax, but you get what I mean.)
Up until having a baby, I really resented how over a third of my salary would disappear - seemingly for nothing each month. And I can still understand how galling it is for those who continually pay into the system without getting much back from it.
Being home a lot of the time with a breastfeeding baby gives me the opportunity to watch a lot of shit TV. And of course, the shit adverts that come with it. Mostly they're debt / accident related, but there are also a lot of charity appeals. "£2 per month could provide clean water for a village / £5 per month could stop a puppy going blind" and so on. Some of them even let you sponsor an individual who will write you regular letters to keep you informed of their progress.
This gave me a genius idea. Instead of us all paying money into a massive pot, along with its associated wastefulness and administrative costs, and handing out unemployment and family benefits each month, instead each higher rate or regular tax payer should be allocated a Chav Scum family. Of course we won't call them Chav Scum; we'll use a politically correct term.
Instead of the money going into a massive pot and handed out as benefits, you will have a direct relationship with your Chav Scum (working title) family. They will have to write to you and let you know what they've spent their money on this week, and whether little Chardonnay's child benefit was spent on Bacon Frazzles and BNP membership or a Baby Einstein DVD.
Even better, the tax payer could be in charge of ordering their Chav Scum (working title) recipients' groceries from Tesco. So, no cigarettes or bottles of WKD, but some organic vegetables and brown rice. And the recipients would have to write monthly to say thank you, ideally with some photos of them enjoying the spoils.
"Wow, Laura," you might say. "That's a bit right wing. What about you? The taxpayer probably spent a good £10k on your pregnancy and labour, let alone your maternity leave and child services." Fair point. I would be happy to share photos of my offspring and our activities with a donor who was paying several hundred pounds (or more) a month to keep us in Super Dry nappies.
I really think this could work. Or at the very least, drive more people back to work.