The Budget: four reflections and a rule of thumb

by Michael Rosen

(Photo: flickr cc The Weekly Bull)

(Photo: flickr cc The Weekly Bull)

1.

In the post-Budget fog, there are occasional dissident voices that say something along the lines that obsessing about small differences in “the deficit” is some kind of smokescreen for what’s really going on. In other words, capitalism can cope with what are by all accounts relatively small differences (i.e. people go on lending money to each other).

So, what is really taking place is a deliberate attack on public services, the public sector and wages for ideological reasons not “sound economic ones” under the cover of saying that “we are balancing the economy”.

This point is extremely hard to make because:

(a) Labour keep fudging it by going on and on about how “we’re going to balance the books better than the Tories” even as they do indeed point out the potential disasters ahead by cutting the public sector.

(b) Interviewers talk over people the moment they try to make this point.

So, we’re living in a time when the post-war arrangement of public welfare is being smashed to bits, and the conversation about this is being constrained and restricted.

 

2.

The economy, green shoots of recovery: big growth in jobs for those willing to work at different ways of convincing people they are better off than they are

 

3.

Two questions to ask of the last 5 years:

Have the super-rich got richer?
Have the poor got poorer?

If the answer to both is yes, then we can say that any talk about the ‘economy recovering’ is neither here nor there. What’s going on is that the super-rich are just working the system to suit themselves in slightly new ways – with all the added help from a grovelling media to put over the message that the super-rich are making life better for everyone.

 

4.

Osborne is not telling us where the 12 billion quidsworth of cuts are going to come: 12 billion reasons for not voting Tory.

 

5.

How about this as a rule of thumb?

The super-rich arrange the economy so that it suits them.

That’s it. Nothing else. And all the billions of column inches about this or that tendency or shift or change or taking people off this, or putting people on this, or paying off that, or sorting this are all competitions in the art of bullshit. At heart, everything they say is either to justify the rich getting richer or to conceal that. Or both.

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