Democracy is the concept that the people should get what they want


Good and hard, as Mencken put it. But even so some of the things that people want surprise. As in this Owen Jones piece:

According to the opinion polls, most Britons want public ownership of rail and energy, higher taxes on the rich and a statutory living wage.

A statutory living wage?

The poll of 1004 employed people shows that 71% of Labour voters, 66% of Lib Dems and even 44% of Tories (60% overall) say we should increase the Minimum Wage to a Living Wage – and that the government should make the Living Wage the legal minimum. There is majority support for such a move across all regions of the country and all social class groups. Interestingly, the group who most agree that a Living Wage is needed (even if it costs jobs) are the D/E social class group – working class voters who are more likely to be paid the minimum wage, and know how hard it is to live on the poverty line.

The argument against the Living Wage becoming the legal floor is that it would cost jobs – which is exactly what was said about the Minimum Wage, and it didn’t happen then. However even if that is the case, the public still think poverty wages are something that should be a thing of the past.

The problem with this is that the pe4ople don't know the truth about that living wage. That it is a pre-tax number. They also don't know that if we did not charge income tax and national insurance to those low wages (as we have repeatedly argued that we should not) then the current minimum wage would provide a higher post-tax income than the proposed living wage would with the current tax system. They don't know this because the current agitators for the living wage don't tell them.

And the reaction really will be different if the question is properly couched. For example, would you support the ending of tax poverty? would be an interesting formulation.

For that's actually what we've got, not low wage poverty but tax poverty.