Archives for posts with tag: neoliberal


I feel as if someone has been drilling holes in my mind and filling them with poison.

I am passionate about social justice and I am passionate about democracy, bottom up, that is, not top down.

The Tories are wiping out people based on an insane binary view of humanity as either strivers or scroungers.

I get it, I’m neither blind nor stupid, but what I don’t get is the passive regurgitation of this nonsense as if it were something other than genocide by pathological homicidal maniacs.

But what we first have to understand in this war of attrition being waged against us, is that it is first and foremost an attack on our minds. Pushing, nudging, bludgeoning with lies and meaningless sound bites and mind numbing psychobabble.

Making sure work always pays by punishing and reducing people to zero income is the work of monsters. Starved to death I understand, starved to work is madness.

These neoliberal devils are capable of anything, yes, even driving hundreds of thousands of ordinary people to premature deaths. But in order to commit their heinous crimes they must control the narrative. People must be persuaded through every twisted foul means that cleansing the poor is either necessary and good or their own fault. And the narrative is the poison they spread at vast cost to twist our minds, to confuse and confound, to alienate and exclude, to divide and conquer.

Too much of my time is taken up with mental survival, as it has been for most of my life, but the Tories spread a pernicious toxicity which no one is immune to. It demands attention because the consequences of ignoring it are disastrous, in fact, lethal.

Theresa May said in PMQs (18 October) that Universal Credit ‘is a system that is working’. Is it? If something is working, that is, it is achieving what it set out to achieve, then the people broken and dead by it (who the government refuse to even acknowledge) are an intended consequence of a system that is working. Certainly, the behaviour displayed in parliament is of a party which is very comfortable with our escalating death toll.

Pain and suffering is an intended and integral part of the process of welfare reform and Universal Credit. I should know, because I am in the process of claiming PIP, and the suffering is immense and intense, but, of course, I am not a witness, I am merely making meaningless subjective observations, because I am weak and feeble minded, one of those intended for cleansing, a useless eater.

After WWII this kind of thing was never meant to happen again and yet here we are. The government has turned on the people, the verminous press (The Mail, Express and Sun, to name but three) still peddle xenophobic lies and promote hate. And innocent people die, who have committed no crime, have had no court hearing and are denied a voice in their own downfall and termination.

One way or another my end is assured, but I will not go silently into that dark place, and I will certainly not say less than I mean against my oppressors, their lies, wilful deception and knowing cruelty. The Tories are lethal brutes, concerned more with their own lives than any of ours. They peddle lies because they lack the courage of their own convictions, they are cowards who deal in treachery for personal gain in which we are absent, not even granted the status of collateral damage to self serving greed.

The Tories are mind poison and toxic to life. They are, and remain, lower than vermin.

I have no immunity to mind poison, quite the reverse, I am hyper sensitive to it and if we are to do something about it we have, to a certain degree, to allow it in. Oh, but warily. It has been a long time in the planning and its execution is managed in real time, which, we can observe, the Tories are not mentally well equipped to do. Car crash interviews are a regular feature these days, earning Theresa May the very apt sobriquet, Maybot. When held to account they often appear taken aback, possibly because in their mindset they cannot, or refuse to, see or understand why anyone would object to their policies.

It’s not hard to see why, when you are a psychopath you are blocked from knowing and understanding what it means to be human and humane, psychopaths are mimics with no understanding of, or empathy for, what they are mimicking (their victims) and the Tories are impervious to reason and will only give ground when all other evasion and avoidance options fail.

The Tories are almost messianic in their own sense of privilege and righteousness, but they are rotten to the core. Even if Jeremy Hunt’s boast of 30,000 more mental health workers than when his government came into office were true (he lied), there is no cure for a people oppressed other than getting rid of their oppressors. The Tories don’t even have the sense or decency to regard or treat us as human beings.

The Tories must go!



We have a problem and it’s one we need to fix urgently. Housing… to briefly put aside all the other myriad disastrous problems which lie securely at the door of the Tories and the neoliberal consensus.

I’ll begin with a proposition – no one should be evicted from their home for financial reasons, as a human right.

In May 2015 The Tenants Voice reported that evictions had risen 53% since 2010, with 170 tenants being evicted every day in 2015.

Money is increasingly weaponized on a daily basis targeting the very poorest people, yet Britain is the 5th richest country in the world but also one of the most unequal in which ‘the richest 10% own over half of the UK’s total wealth’ and the government is knowingly and deliberately pauperising increasing numbers of people with the purpose of increasing that inequality and the flow of wealth out of the hands of ordinary people.

The poor are being used and abused as wealth creators and yet are being denied any part of the wealth they are brutally forced to create. The most targeted group, of course, being disabled people about whom Priti Patel said, ‘cutting some disabled people’s benefits by £30 a week is justified as it will help those with a “limited capability” to work find a job’*. And, just for the record, Patel also thinks ‘the British are among the worst idlers in the world’, in a book she co-wrote with fellow fascists Dominic Raab, Kwasi Kwarteng, Liz Truss and Chris Skidmore,  in which they claim ‘that “lazy” Brits prefer a lie-in to hard work‘ and ‘criticises the “baby boomer” generation for seeking to raise taxes for young workers to pay for their lavish pension pots’*. (*my emphases)

This is the religion of the far right, who treat poor bashing as an article of faith, who would have pensioners working for the pensions they have spent their working lives paying for until death.

In a country in which depriving people of the means of survival and their economic rights is now routine, it is inevitable that, as a consequence, with zero income, people are wilfully prevented from paying their rent to which the answer is, eviction.

It is also inevitable that at the mere suggestion of housing as a human right and that no one should be evicted from their home for financial reasons, the intellectually supine and propaganda rags like the Sun, the Mail and Express, and other right wing, rage fuelling, toss rags, will cry, ‘Why should we pay for scroungers?’, to which I riposte, ‘We pay for the wealth snatchers every day, like media corps, but if people think it is the poor who are the problem, they are bigger fools than even the government takes us all for’.

A study by Crisis on the financial cost of single homelessness in Britain reports that the New Economics Foundation estimated, ‘a single homeless person, if they were homeless for one year, would cost the UK public purse between £24,500 and £26,000 more than other citizens’.

It is economically illiterate to evict people and force people into homelessness. How many times must we have these sad and tired conversations whilst the greedy stuff themselves stupid on the backs of our lives?

Full employment is both pointless and unnecessary, the problem isn’t worklessness, the problem isn’t the poor, the problem isn’t a lack of housing, the problem is wealth distribution and a world predicated on exploitation and the privatisation of resources, including people, and profit.

Millions of jobs have been automated out of existence, but what happens to the people who used to do those jobs, are they taken care of out of the profits from the automation of the work they once did? No, they are thrown on the scrap heap whilst all the profits from automation rise beyond the reach of ordinary people into the hands of the grasping few, often to languish in tax havens thus further avoiding any social responsibility for the distribution of their unearned, other than through exploitation of people, resources and technology, wealth.

However, if anyone is struggling, the DWP offered contracts in 2015 to procure ‘Online Supported Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ (CBT) worth £21 million to promote work as a health outcome. Bullshit!

We are drowning in bullshit, it is a tidal wave that is still mounting and people are dying in despair. The government wants us to rent out our bodies for less than it costs for us to inhabit our own bodies, for life. Our wages are asset stripped (as taxation) to support extreme wealth and corporations who hide their ill gotten gains in tax havens. And if we fail to juggle the impossible we are thrown on the streets to subsist or die.

We know the answers, we know exactly what is wrong and how it could be put right. We know who our enemy is and what they are capable of, and they are not done yet.

This is economic warfare and we are the target. None of this is happening by accident and nor is any of it unintended. We are certainly victims, but let us never make the mistake of in any way sympathising with our oppressors or making any excuses for them. There are no excuses.

Keep fighting and, above all, keep supporting and caring for those on their last legs who this rotten system has broken and if that someone is you, tell someone, as hard as that may feel, reach out.

KOG. 05 April 2017

Samaritans – free any time, from any phone on 116 123.

‘Lazy’ workers: the ignorance and shamelessness of Tory ‘rising stars’


I’ve lived a reclusive life for over 20 years and been a loner from as far back as I can remember. I’ve tried to do all the things that we’re all supposed to do, school, job, meet someone, get somewhere to live, settle down, have kids, grow old, die and I’ve been crap at all of it, though, to be honest, the last two are a work in progress.

I don’t do guilt any more since I discovered how useless it is apart from making me feel bad, but I do have one abiding regret which is inescapable, letting my daughter down and betraying her when I abruptly brought my marriage to an end. I am not going to say much about it other than she was the innocent victim of adult circumstances. It’s enough to say Philip Larkin was right, ‘They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had and add some extra, just for you’. It is just true, and there’s no point making excuses for it or beating myself up, it happens. Nothing makes it right and it is pointless to call it wrong, unless it is done maliciously and with deliberate cruelty in mind.

It is hard (perhaps impossible) to forgive deliberate cruelty and yet it is a fact of life, from snubs and insults to the brutal horror of war. Wilful cruelty lies at the heart of much, if not most, campaigning, my own included, which brings me to my point here.

2008 was a watershed moment when the bankers crashed the global economy and have been richly rewarded for doing so ever since, at our expense. In Britain it led to another watershed moment in 2010 when the coalition government under David Cameron launched its attack on the lives of ordinary people, wilfully, brutally and with malice aforethought. But that wasn’t the worst of it, it was intolerable but the kicker was that they enjoyed it, it pleased them. No one knows the number of lives lost since, although they probably have a good idea, but they’re not letting on and they simply don’t care.

This is last gasp capitalism in which the bankers caused a crisis, if not deliberately, then wilfully through greed, which has been brutally exploited ever since. Since Thatcher destroyed Britain’s industrial base we now have an excess workforce which, despite all Cameron’s bogus claims about job creation and making work pay, sees millions of people doing bullshit jobs for bullshit pay. How they made this bullshit work was in the transformation of our system of social security into a secret penal system that has been depriving people of he means of survival and killing people off ever since. People are supposed to be pathetically grateful for a zero hours contract and an hours work a week, because that’s better than the treatment dished out by the DWP and Jobcentre Plus. I think the ‘Plus’ relates to the added anguish and torment which now comes as standard.

I joined an ever growing number of people who decided speak out and act to expose and challenge what was going on. For four and a half years I wrote a letter a day to number 10. I believe it is vitally important to challenge the official narrative which is just propaganda and based on deception and lies. When I began writing in 2012 it was not clear to me what their plans were, what emerged over the ensuing years was shocking. It wasn’t just a war on the poor, it was a demolition derby, a neoliberal feast of the state, with its eyes on the tax pot, public services, state assets and people’s lives, a massive transfer of wealth upwards to the already exceedingly rich; a new imperialism based on the economic conquest of the nation’s wealth for private gain. It was the same colonial mindset turned inwards, devouring the nation for profit.

I burned out after four and a half years. Nothing had changed for the better politically, but opposition to this obscenity had grown along with understanding.

For me, personally, the burning question was and is, ‘what am I going to do now?’ And therein lies a problem.

I have made a working peace with reclusiveness and social phobia, problems that seem intractable, but lately that peace has been shattered, they have now become a source of acute distress and discontent in which my home has changed from being a haven to a prison. I began to realise that I had to do something, but what? I found myself thinking round in circles, unable to remain in, nor yet finding any way to move out in a circular war of fear and frustration. So acute is the distress that I found myself just before Christmas 2016 wanting and hoping to die.

That is not a solution, that would be the end and I am not ready to give up on life, which I care passionately and deeply about, enough that I am not going to be driven to death either by those who are so abusing life, nor by my own fears. Which means I need help. It’s time for change and that means I must change and that means stepping out into the great big scary unknown.

The greatest effective changes in my life have been brought about through person centred therapy. With the aid of amazing therapists I have walked to the precipice of my fears and stepped out to discover that the abyss I feared was in reality, solid ground, but daring to go there means engaging with terror in a way that I do not believe can be or should be attempted alone, certainly not in my circumstances.

Tomorrow, 23 January 2017, I am taking my 65 year old bones to an initial meeting with a local therapist. If we find we are both comfortable working together then I will begin what I know will be a very scary and yet exciting journey of discovery. If either of us is not comfortable, then I shall seek another. Whatever happens now, I want to make the journey into the unknown, I am ready for change, enough that tears are falling down my face in the yearning for it.

At every level, I feel in my bones, it is time for change and whatever else follows, change begins in me.

KOG. 22 January 2017


A letter a day to number 10. No 1,531

Tuesday 23 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Another homeless person has been attacked on the streets of Britain and is now in a coma, fighting for his life.

I cannot accuse your government of doing nothing when it is doing so much to create such fragile existences.

Homelessness is the embodiment of fragility on the public stage of everytown, shame on those who are offended and angered by this very public display of precariousness and assault those who unwillingly and unwittingly force it upon their attention, exposed, as they are, without privacy, dignity or security. Shame on all those who persecute those less fortunate than themselves.

I feel this insidious rise of precarity, at 65 I fear homelessness, it is not something I can ignore in an ever more insecure world, but I do not fear the homeless, for they are me in one twist of neoliberal driven misanthropy.

If I attacked them, I would be attacking myself, my own psyche, but as if this very public display of abject loss were not bad enough, councils are making homelessness and begging illegal and even impose fines for begging. Fining people for having nothing is a particularly twisted kind of perverse and sadistic cruelty which actively increases the danger of assault because ‘society’ has legislated against and criminalised homeless people.

The bedroom tax, benefit delays and sanctions, enforced pension delays, the Universal Credit system and benefit caps are all policies which put people in danger of homelessness to which many have already fallen victim.

Fragile and precarious living is the new normal for millions of people in Britain today as are the increasing attacks on those living in enforced vulnerability. Homelessness, like poverty, is a political issue and not the individual personal failing of those afflicted. Such people are the economically excluded as Britain’s safety net is demolished. You pledged that, “The government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few but by yours.” I have only one question. When?


A letter a day to number 10. No 1,512

Thursday 04 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

The Telegraph reports that there has been a rise in payments for NHS trust interim managers being paid “off payroll” from 961 in 2013/14 to 1,193 in 2014/15.

Given that the NHS is in crisis thanks to the actions of Jeremy Hunt, there can be no possible excuse for the eye watering sums these people are being paid. One interim manager, Steve Leivers, was apparently paid £59,500/month, equivalent to an annual salary of £715,000, to act as ‘turnaround director’ of Kings College Hospital Foundation trust, in London. I rather think it is not Kings College Hospital Foundation trust that needs a turnaround director but the Department of Health. Jeremy Hunt is not only Britain’s most renowned typographical error he’s a walking disaster.

I remind you that this is public money that is being used and abused and government has a duty to protect the public purse and to apply pay restraints at a time when front line staffing pay is capped.

The government was right to put a cap on agency staffing which hospitals are increasingly forced to rely on if they are to remain in operation due to catastrophic cuts in nursing staff.

The NHS is reported declaring a £2 billion deficit this year. Even a modest cut in corporate handouts, which were £93 Billion last year, would amply cover the needs of the people’s most vital and important asset. David Cameron boasted of creating 1,000 jobs a day, jobs that he actually did not create and which were mostly insecure, zero hours contracts and desperate self employed ventures because no jobs were available, yet the real jobs he could have created and boasted of are entirely absent in Britain’s largest employer, the NHS. Britain needs real jobs not PR spin.

Britain is in the grip of a housing crisis and the worst social housing crisis since WWII. Instead of selling off housing estates to privateers, who are more interested in profit and building luxury homes rather than homes for ordinary people, what we need is a massive social housing building programme, which would create real jobs and boost the real economy. But, of course, that’s not part of the neoliberal end game, so beloved of George Osborne, which involves the transfer of the nations wealth and resources to privateers and the unlovely hands of vulture capitalists. Britain is suffocating under the weight of corporate greed and it must stop!


A letter a day to number 10. No 1,499

Friday 22 July 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

In your first speech as prime minister you said, ” If you’re a white, working-class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university.”

On Tuesday the Higher Education and Research Bill passed its second reading. Included in this bill is the ability for ‘universities to raise tuition fees in line with inflation’ if they ‘can demonstrate good teaching through the new teaching excellence framework’.

I guess we’re so used to market forces as god that it is easy to miss the point that education should not be market led nor rewarded on a market basis and worst of all that education as a consumer product is utterly misguided and wrong. It means a tiered education system with the bottom line being the ability to pay and in such a system inequality will reign supreme.

As a working class ‘boy’ I was the first in my family to obtain a university education, but that was back in the day when there were such things as student grants. What is particularly relevant, as a working class ‘boy’, is that I simply would not have considered university at all had I been rewarded with a mountain of debt, but had I done so what is certain is that I would have opted for the least financially punishing option.

I’m not sure how you hope to attract working class people into the university system, it is looking far from attractive from where I sit. Debt based education is hardly the road to aspiration where, perhaps, thoughts of home ownership might figure at some point in a housing market that is entirely out of control. I wonder in what way you think that a life time of servicing debt in the kind of neoliberal unrestrained market world we live in is a smart or educated idea?

Banks and interest rates are merely a siphon of wealth upwards. Usury is an outdated, outrageous, practice by banks making obscene profits from people’s lives and aspirations. At the very least, if you want to make a difference, then end usury and make financial loans fee based at the very least and protect education from the money sharks and ensure student debt is not subject to interest or fees. What price education, eh?


A letter a day to number 10. No 1,484

Tuesday 05 July 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I see that George Osborne is set to lower corporation tax to 15% and there are even calls for it to be lower to woo investors to Britain, not least from China.

The problem with overseas investment is that company profits are siphoned out of the country and corporate returns to the nation are minimised, if they even pay taxes at all and don’t indulge in tax avoidance/evasion schemes.

I am sure that you, or whoever we get saddled with after you, will tell us that these corporate immigrant gold diggers will create jobs, but they are jobs of the worst kind offering no hope to those forced to take them up. Grinding away on minimum wage and/or zero hours contracts, workers, the real wealth creators, will be exploited to the max and the ill gotten gains made at their expense will depart these shores, never to be seen again. What’s in it for ordinary people? Not a lot and we’ll be saddled with the shortfall in tax revenues into the bargain, plus fuelling the neoliberal ideology of the ever shrinking state for private gain.

What Britain needs is internal investment and higher wages, that way the fruits of investment, labour and wages boost the national economy and not the fortunes of global capitalists who have no loyalties beyond the board room.

If Mark Carney wanted to aid Britain’s recovery and ease the pain of Brexit, he could invest in the real economy via Quantitative Easing and such working money could provide schools, housing, flood defences, cleaner energy, well paid jobs and the like and would see, according to Positive Money, a return of at least £2.80 on every £1 invested. When Mervyn King gifted the financial markets with £375 billion of new money the return on that, again according to Positive Money, was a miserly 8p in the pound but saw a rise in the wealth of ‘investors’ of 20%.

Osborne is married to public debt for private gain, he talks about the Northern Powerhouse but perhaps he should go and ask the people of Sunderland, Liverpool, Manchester and Ashton Under Lyne, to name but a few, just how they are getting along in his powerhouse. You claimed in 2015 that you’d created 1000 jobs a day since 2010, that’s a grand boast to dole out during Prime Ministers Question Time, but it fails dismally to answer whether a single person was lifted out of poverty by the types of jobs created. In fact in-work poverty now exceeds out of work poverty, so well done for that. It isn’t investors Osborne should be wooing, it’s workers, but frankly neither you nor he have much time for Britain’s workers. Whilst they are, indisputably, creating wealth, they just don’t get to take it home with them.

Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside


A letter a day to number 10. No 1,483

Monday 04 July 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

There has been a great deal of media coverage of the alleged rise of right wing extremism, and certainly Nigel Farage was triumphant about nationalism. “We have done it without a bullet being fired,” he trumpeted, a heinous insult to the memory and family of Jo Cox.

Britain is certainly in turmoil, not least from 6 years of imposed austerity and relentless fear mongering and manufactured division from politicians and the media alike and if people are angry, they have good reason to be with the most divisive, right wing, god awful government in our history.

If we look beyond the news and all the lies and spin, however, something very different is going on. The latest news from the Trussell Trust is that they now have a network of 424 foodbanks and in 2015/16 they saw a  2% increase in foodbank use, handing out 1,109,309 three-day emergency packages to people living below the bread line. What that means in real terms is that whilst those suffering under your brutal austerity are still on the increase, so too are the number of people who are donating more food than ever for those in need.

Of course this is not news, it doesn’t have the same ‘wow’ factor as the relentless dismal stories so beloved of the main stream media who profit from doom and gloom and yet do nothing about it.

The coup attempt against Jeremy Corbyn has gained much media attention and much of the reporting has suggested that he is an unelectable throwback to old fashioned socialism by those with a vested interest in pursuing a right wing political agenda. Corbyn is responsible for an unprecedented rise in support for socialism and social democracy, which had taken a beating from Margaret Thatcher onwards such that it looked as though socialism and social democracy were all but dead. Corbyn has proved that socialism is very much alive and well and what he represents is the worst nightmare of pretentious neoliberal apologists of all political persuasions.

The more Corbyn is opposed the more people come out to support him, as seen this weekend with thousands attending rallies across the nation. That’s real time feet on the streets in support of social democracy and people have had enough of the sneering disdain which self serving politicians have for the people. We are certainly a nation in turmoil, but it is a necessary turmoil and I hope all you right wing neoliberals are quaking in your boots, because you damned well should be.

Latest Stats

30_march_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,387

Wednesday 30 March 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

It looks like another shambolic coup for George Osborne as we approach the roll out of the new living (minimum) wage.

Your government has created another policy with no structure behind it to facilitate it’s roll out, leaving workers vulnerable to exploitation, lower pay and even loss of jobs.

Private companies are already changing employees hours, terms and conditions effectively neutering any advantages in increased pay.

In the public sector, with no extra cash available services will be affected through scaled back hours, job losses and services abandoned with private service providers driven from or abandoning the market.

This is the real trickle down effect in action, the pain is passed down to the bottom, to employees and end users.

Osborne is, of course, not alone, Theresa May’s new immigration rules will see highly motivated and qualified teachers recruited from overseas being deported for earning too little as they fall under the £35,000 salary threshold rule for staying in the UK.

How to destroy a nation the neoliberal way, hollow out the country forcing people and service providers to throw up emergency scaffolding to shore up the structures that are failing because of your policies, then your government destroying the scaffolding.

This is government by economic hitmen and women, Osborne, Gove, Morgan, Grayling, May, Hunt, Smith, Crabb, Patel, to name but a few, headed up by you, the man who announced permanent austerity at a gold plated banquet at which you appeared too sated to move, which was really little more than a meeting of criminals overseeing the fall of Britain.

13_january_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,314

Wednesday 13 January 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

You Tories employ what I can only describe as the anti-Midas touch in your attacks on Britain. You’ll have to pardon my crudeness but it matches the crudeness of your polices because the simple fact is that everything you Tories touch turns to shit.

Back in 2011 you announced your plans for the privatisation of the state, “services should be open to a range of providers competing to offer a better service. These are practical reforms, driven by a clear rationale that the best way to raise quality and value for money is to allow different providers to offer services in an open and accountable way.” And, “It will put in place principles that will signal the decisive end of the old-fashioned, top-down, take-what-you’re-given model of public services.”

You assured us, “This is not about destabilising the public services that people rely on; it is about ensuring they are as good as they can be. These are practical reforms, driven by a clear rationale that the best way to raise quality and value for money is to allow different providers to offer services in an open and accountable way. Our public services desperately need an injection of openness, creativity and innovation. These reforms will bring that – and that is why I am determined to see them through.”

Since then I cannot think of an area of public service, whether still under state control or privatised, that has not descended into chaos. Education, housing, front line services, care services, welfare reforms across all areas of provision and, of course, our NHS which today saw the first strike by Junior Doctors in 40 years. And that’s just the short list.

If there was any virtue in privatisation you would not have to lie, cheat and steal in order to impose it on the nation.

However, two policy areas serve to highlight the use of the anti-Midas touch in your neoliberal, ideologically driven, destruction of the state – welfare reforms and the junior doctors dispute. The use and abuse of both punitive and destabilising measures reveal the deceit that lies behind your market driven, privatisation, agenda and your utter contempt for the lives and well being of ordinary people, or perhaps I should I say everyone who is not involved in your millionaire government or the greed of the financial markets.  Perhaps the anti-Midas touch is really too sophisticated as in reality the lot of you strike me as little more than bloated leeches sucking on the life and wealth of the nation, bleeding us dry.