Monday, June 21, 2010

Cuts are not painful

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, is preparing the country for austerity, mk III.

Mk 1 was the easy part, the 1% trimming of public spending to save £6.2 billion in the current year, essentially the spending the Conservatives had promised to cut. Was not much, but a taste of what was to come.

Mk 2 was last week. £2 billion worth of projects were cancelled, and another £8.5 billion deferred. Almost all of it spending approved in the dying years of the Brown regime. This included the absurd "investment" of £80 million that the government didn't have to "create" 200 jobs, although I doubt the average wage was close to £400,000 each!!

Mk 3 promises to be much much "worse" say the papers. Actually, it mostly wont be painful, if it weren't that 20% of the austerity will comprise of tax INCREASES in one form or another. Capital Gains Tax and VAT are likely targets, and it is they that will threaten the recovery, not the spending cuts.

There will be major cuts hopefully. Public sector pay is expected to at least be frozen if not cut, and public sector pensions are expected to face severe cuts because they are becoming unaffordable. Welfare benefits are likely to be frozen as well, with a scythe taken to the "middle class welfare" Labour built up to buy votes. One of the absurdities of the UK welfare state is how many recipients are on above average incomes. Hopefully it will be the end to that and more.

You see the Tories have stupidly ringfenced health and overseas aid spending for no cuts, which means it will be welfare and public sector pay that get hammered. Painful?

No. It isn't painful unless you think living within your means so you are lumbered with debt (or your children aren't) is painful. It is called being prudent. It isn't painful to stop stealing money from future generations. The UK public sector is already better paid that the private sector - yes you read right, the average income in the public sector is 2% higher than the private sector for similar jobs.

It isn't painful to wean people who are on average and above incomes from the state tit, so they actually bear the cost of raising their own children. It isn't painful for the private sector to no longer be shouldering the burden of competing against a bloated public sector staff.

Already the government is announcing new privatisations, the latest being the high speed railway between London and the Channel Tunnel.

It would be too much to hope for no tax cuts, or for the NHS to start charging for GP visits and face its own cuts, or for student fees to be at least 50% cost recovery, or for welfare to be time restricted (and only restricted to UK citizens!). However, it will be the start of rolling back the creeping (and bankrupting) state of New Labour.

Labour's lies about it are too easy to refute. It "threatens the recovery" if the state doesn't keep borrowing at record levels. Furthermore is the deceit that the deficit is about bailing out banks, when the truth is that the proportion of spending related to the banks is close to 2%. Labour is claiming it is ideologically led, as if overspending and growing the state by Labour wasn't.

The deficit is a legacy of Labour bribing voters with their kids' stolen future earnings, it was immoral then and is now. It is only moral for this government to end this as swiftly as it can, and start to confront the debt.

Note the difference with a certain government on the opposite side of the world.

1 comment:

Jeremy Harris said...

I do note the difference on the other side of the world - our government is essentially freezing spending until economic growth lifts tax receipts to match spending, projected to happen in 6 years, while the UK on the other hand faces 10 years minimum to reach economic balance again...

Of the two I know whose books have been better handled the last 20 years...