All Fools Day today!

It’s All Fools Day today! And the biggest fools of them all today are the poor — and also the small businesses that employ the poor. Today the National Minimum Wage goes up from £6.70 an hour to £7.20. It’s intended that the minimum will become £9.00 an hour in due course.

The government will recoup most of the £0.50 by paying smaller welfare benefits every week. But the full brunt will be felt by small businesses that just about survive at present but will now have to fold up. Overall, the latest increase will only be a temporary retardation in the continuing 25 year-old slide in the real cash earnings of the under-class population — that is, about 80% of the total.

As for the 20% over-class — mainly London-based — which subsidises the rest of the country, then it has been prospering in the last 25 years. Because it is adequately educated and closely in touch with scientific research and innovations, the over-class will still probably continue to prosper by exporting sophisticated services to China in exchange for physical products.

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