The detailed progressive vs regressive analysis that has dominated the debate recently seems a bit over-complicated. The starting point was whether in cutting spending we were going to mostly reduce benefits and services or mostly increase taxes. As soon as it was decided to go with the former, the consequences were almost inevitably going to be “regressive”. Those who pay no taxes but receive lots of benefits and services are inevitably going to lose out more. Who needs all the analysis? Are progressives saying that we should just have left benefits and services for those who don’t earn alone and focussed all the cuts on areas that were entirely neutral as to the position on the income distribution of their beneficiaries? Could that possibly have worked?
Incidentally, do those mythical beasts who have previously been in receipt of £52,000+ a year in housing benefit count as “the rich” for the progressive/regressive analysis, or are you only rich if you earn it?