No austerity cuts pic

Boy holding placard outside 10 Downing Street saying 'no cuts'.

By Richard Shrubb

The mainstream media just loves to roll out talking heads to reinforce what they are saying. ‘Economists’ and ‘Think Tanks’ are often used as part of the MSM ‘journalist’s’ spiel to show what they are telling you is ‘unarguably’ right because you plebs should respect their brains.

In this piece I’ll show you that an economist isn’t an economist – they don’t believe the same thing, and depending on who those in power (and the MSM) listen to will suggest the government does wildly different things.

Friedman – Market Monetarism

Whenever you hear the term ‘neoliberalism’ you will be hearing Milton Friedman’s words uttering from the grave. He died a year before the 2007 Credit Crunch, of which he was the main architect. He believed in free market economics (businesses should do as they please) with the government at hand to pump up the tyres when there was a blowout. If you were around in 2007 you’ll remember it was the sort of blowout that kills all car occupants but governments of the world decided that the banks (that should have been wiped out in the accident) should be helped out while millions starved and committed suicide to pay for it.

Yes, Austerity came from that. Friedman’s theory is that the government isn’t there to help people but it can through improving the wealth of businesses, and that trickling down into people’s parched throats.

Keynesianism

According to the (neoliberal) economics website Investopedia, 1930’s era John Maynard Keynes “proposed that the government spend more money, which would increase consumer demand in the economy. This would, in turn, lead to an increase in overall economic activity, the natural result of which would be deflation and a reduction in unemployment.” The idea is that with more money in their pockets so people will spend more. The more people spend, the more jobs are created. Until the 1970’s when Friedman wrote his essay that attempted to demolish the underlying economic theory of the day it was the main economic theory governing world politics for 40 years.

Out of Keynesianism came the NHS, Welfare State and governments that actually cared for those they governed. The better off people are the more they spend.

2018 Budget

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond

Philip Hammond.

This year’s UK government budget showed that even the hardline right-wingers saw rioting and its own collapse coming before any free market recovery from the privations of Austerity. They saw the cracks appearing and the politically astute Chancellor Philip Hammond chose to take a step back from pure Monetarism. This should shut his backbenchers up and the MSM will back off from stories of starving children and the NHS in complete crisis.

While the BBC was trotting out right-wing economists before the budget on Monday morning to talk about ‘balancing the budget’, afterwards it started bringing out the more left-wing thinkers. It quoted Samuel Tombs of the Newcastle based Pantheon Macroeconomics who said, “The chancellor could have announced higher spending for 2020-21 and beyond, but he is keeping some ammunition in the locker in case the economy needs emergency support.” He also said that that this was the first budget to invest in the economy since 2014.

Monetarism in the bin?

Why we haven’t had a proper riot in the last five years is anyone’s guess. Here’s mine: If you can get the middle classes to feel OK then a right-wing government can function. If their consciences are bothered by too many MSM stories of food banks and grannies dying on hospital trolleys, and they are affected by that misery then there are problems coming for the government of the day. You can only squeeze so hard.

For those at the bottom – the disabled and people forced onto Universal Credit as their jobs don’t pay enough for them to survive – Austerity still exists in a big way. Speaking to the Guardian, Victoria Todd, of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group pointed out “for those earning just above £11,850, the gain would be closer to £48.10 as their universal credit award would be reduced by £81.90.” As they earn more, so the 2019 2.5% increase in National Insurance is going to sting them again, wiping out their gains in private income from the increased Income Tax allowance.

In short, while the middle classes might be putting their pitchforks away as Austerity ‘is over’ for them, the working classes and those like me who care about other people should still be having gatherings to overthrow the government. Sadly, no rioting please – we have a small matter of electing Jeremy Corbyn to power. See you at the barricades!


Richard Shrubb

Richard is a marijuana, water sports and electric vehicles writer based in Dorchester, Dorset. Living in Prince Charles model housing estate, Poundbury, he is an avowed republican, community and Labour Party activist. Visit his website at www.richardshrubb.com for more about what he does.

Kiddies on Xanax - WTF!
Government shoots itself in the foot with drug laws again.