It can't be coincidental that this is being done to us by three men – Cameron, Osborne, and Nick Clegg – who have never worried about a bill in their lives. On a basic level, they do not understand the effects of these decisions on real people. Remember, Cameron said before the election: "The papers keep writing that [my wife, Samantha] comes from a very blue-blooded background", but "she is actually very unconventional. She went to a day school." Osborne is a beneficiary of a £4m trust fund he did nothing whatsoever to earn and which is stashed offshore to avoid tax. Clegg actually thought the state pension was £30 a week, a level that would kill pensioners.
It is striking how far commentators across the broad range of the political spectrum from the ardently pro-cuts right to the sceptical left - and especially the neutral wonks, who love to scour a Treasury red book, in between - quickly coalesced around the view that Osborne's presentation to the Commons was much too tricksy and misleading for his own good...
So how does the Great Osborno conjure up his tricks? We couldn't claim to have uncovered this magician's full repertoire from one performance, but let's look at ten examples of sleight of hand in yesterday's CSR.
Welfare cuts announced yesterday are regressive, less so once child benefit cut fully in placeOverall, richest tenth lose most, but because of Labour’s tax rises
HMT say that package of tax and benefit reforms to be introduced by 2012-13 is progressive (apart from bottom income decile)We disagree. Having considered all welfare cuts:
Reforms by 2012–13 are slightly regressive or flat within bottom nine-tenths of householdsReforms by 2014–15 are more clearly regressive within bottom 90%The regressive impact is the result of reforms announced by the current Government both in the June Budget and in SR
Families with children the biggest losersHMT said that reforms will not increase relative child poverty over next two years. Maybe, but what about future years?
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