The following is vaguely ‘economics’, the piece written with a few expletives and hopeful wit around material aimed at the Telegraph market segment. The problem is I could write something equally consistent for the Grauniad, Mirror or Times. We are essentially being conned by that combination of writers, editors, owners and trustees who angle everything at market segments. The French used to get doctoral students to write an argument for, an argument against and an ‘objective’ piece that had to be publicly defended. What’s missing in our public dialogue is evidence. We just end up with stories in which rhetoric takes its place. We are repeating the sad tale of the Athenian Democracy, even though we have some clue as to what science is and what bullshit history we are steeped in. The ‘cutting mentality’ appeals to a certain market segment dragged up on myths of thrift, not spending what we don’t have and so on. I won’t write the alternate theses, but will say Japan has been through it and reckons delaying cuts until there is some upswing is the better alternative. This is more or less the current opposition angle. I really think we should grow up and get rid of this kind of politics altogether. My guess is that the sensible moves are towards self-sufficiency in food, energy, military and manufacturing competence and the development of creative industries for home consumption and export. I guess too, that what prevents this is international finance spun with invisible threads. If we worry about poor, dumb sods in social housing not working and think of them as part of a benefit culture, we should turn our thoughts from this origin to the idle rich and overpaid. I suspect the most parasitic whack on our backs is not an idle or evil poor. Much more serious problems can be posed than in this short example, ostensibly about what our current cuts are and are about.
The leaderships of both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are now speaking openly about the UK‘s chronic fiscal position and putting forward measures designed to address it. It would help if they didn’t blame the NuLabour cretins and Bollox Brown for the problems, just as NuLabour jerk-offs were still blaming the Tories after 13 years in office themselves. There was a total failure to challenge the grotesque spending habits of Brown and his off balance sheet accounting, until after the bank Ponzi schemes collapsed. The Tories, in particular, pledged to match Brown’s fuck-brained plans pound-for-pound, scared to tell voters the truth. They are still lying to us.
Receipts from the VAT rise last year have already had to be spent servicing debt and we borrowed more last month than in any September ever. The 2010 budget deficit will be around 10pc of GDP. This is vastly more than when Healy went “cap-in-hand” to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1976, believing our account was in worse order than it in fact was. The multi-billion pound bank bailouts are still buried off balance-sheet. We are not being given data to work out how fucked we are by them. Ireland seems to have been rogered more than an old dripper, a fate we may or may not be spared. I don’t know the extent to which the banks can up sticks and give our government two fingers and leave us with the bill after they take whatever is worth having.
The UK is in genuine fiscal peril. I see no solution in ConDem‘s slash and burn drivel. All Osborne did on Wednesday was to confirm the current expenditure totals he set out in his Emergency Budget in June. He makes an appeal to Britain’s clown fuckwit middle-classes, Gadget fans and others who fall for the idea our problems are down to an idle, criminal poor. On the welfare bill, we are talking about a slower rate of increase, not a cut. “Savings” of £3.5bn were claimed to make this squeeze less severe than in Osborne’s budget. The “plans” are so poorly devised we can have little faith they will even happen, let alone work. The extra spending by other departments lavished out as a sop to ‘fairness’ can be relied on!
Total Managed Expenditure (TME) is set to fall by 3.3pc a year in real terms by 2014-15. As a proportion of GDP, TME comes down from 47.5pc to 41pc over the next five years. TME fell 6.5 percentage points during the retrenchment of the early Thatcher and by 5.5 percentage points from 1992-93. The fiscal situation we face today is far, far worse than during the early 1980s or early 1990s and figures from then are ‘real’ rather than ‘bullshit’
490,000 CPSOs, cops and other public sector workers will lose their jobs over the next five years – this is merely a return to where the public sector headcount was in 2005. However much many of us resent under-performing, rude cops and Town Hall workers and the evil poor committing crimes from welfare mansions, we should be careful not to be manipulated by the revenge on offer to us by the Cuntilition, which is pulling back from really serious action. We need answers on how much the welfare budget is in comparison with what is taken out of the economy by every over-paid stuffed dork who has ‘managed’ so badly over the last 30 years, and especially so once their pay differentials and bonuses really took off. I haven’t got a figure I can rely on yet, but can say this form of welfare dwarfs anything given to the disabled and jobless. ‘An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK’ from the LSE (2008) gives many clues, and giving this welfare to the well-off burgeoned under ‘Thatcherism’.
All this spending review did was to slightly reduce what the Government will spend in the future, money it would anyway have to borrow. Brown racked up state debts averaging £30bn a year in his last seven years. The UK will borrow more than £100bn a year for the next three years. I doubt profligate Brown is responsible, other than in not putting an end to massive managerial welfare payments to management, rather than borrow. Another huge welfare payment we don’t account for is house price inflation.
It is ludicrously difficult to get hold of figures safe to work with. Keynesians argue that our national debt – at around 70pc of GDP – “isn’t high”. That ignores public sector pensions and other state liabilities equal to around 100pc of GDP that lurk off the books. Enron and loads of completely bent companies were more transparent. Our debt interest bill of £2.3bn a month may well rise, given “quantitative easing” (QE) will ultimately have to end. The Bank of England is creating money from thin air (QE) and using the vast majority of it to buy government IOUs, keeping state borrowing costs artificially low. UK debt interest payments will rise once this has to stop. No other G7 nation comes close, say some, raising very serious questions among the UK’s creditors. Most UK gilts are unindexed, with inflation is rearing its ugly head. Others, like me, think they have heard over-blown crap about the UK’s death before.
I believe we lack the will and political system to sort ourselves out. ConDem may well be selling the whole country out to the rich by collapsing us to the point of a fire-sale. They appear to be cleaning out London by exporting welfare families, cutting cops just when we are likely to need more and doing nothing at all on jobs, leaving that to a private sector that is even failing in the USA. My own feeling is for potlatch and a conspicuous burning of ‘wealth’ to remind us that most of what we think is important isn’t. Then we need a real national plan that accepts we can, collectively, work for a living if we can shake off the money-lenders.
When you wonder who is on welfare, wonder how much money the treasury would have to invest in all kinds of new renewable energy schemes and downline industries to use it, if everyone only earned enough to avoid missing out on child benefits. Most of my house was bought on a very old welfare benefit – tax relief on my mortgage in the past.