We can have social mobility but we must invest and pay for it. Wealth taxation would be a good place to start

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As the Guardian has reported this morning:

David Cameron has conceded that there is insufficient social mobility in British society and said it was the job of the government to raise the aspirations of people from poor backgrounds to get top jobs in public life.

But this admission came from the same man who earlier this week argued that we need to "build a leaner, more efficient state".

These two objectives are utterly inconsistent. Social mobility is utterly dependent upon access to capital; social, physical, emotional and financial. That is either provided by the state or privately. If the state declines the power of private capital is relatively, and even absolutely, increased.

That is the path Cameron is choosing to follow. But he cannot do so and then say he is concerned about social mobility; that is a tautological impossibility.

Of course we can have social mobility. But it needs investment in health, education, housing and jobs. Not one of them, but all of them. The yield would be high. But the investment has to be made.

A lean state will not make that investment. It could be paid for. We could start by increasing taxes on capital and wealth. We could tax capital gain as if they are income (which they are). We could increase taxes on higher value houses. We could have an effective gifts and wealth tax in place of inheritance tax. We could have land value taxation. We could do all this to level the playing field. And we could deliver as a result.

But that takes political courage.

And a state willing to intervene.

And to act.

A state that is courageous.

And politicians with vision driven by a desire for social justice.

And we don't have them.

Right now we have Cameron and Clegg. And they show no willing to commit to almost any of those things.

And so social immobility will continue. And Cameron's words will mean nothing.