Posts Tagged ‘Government Spending’

Vox Political: Eoin Clarke Shows How Labour Will Pay for Its Policies

April 24, 2017

Mike over at Vox Political has reblogged a piece by Eoin Clarke, who’s on Twitter as @LabourEoin, showing how Labour will pay for their reforms. It’s to counter all the critics, who complain that Labour haven’t shown where they’re going to get the money from.

See: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/04/23/sick-of-people-telling-you-the-uk-cant-afford-labours-plans-show-them-this/ and follow the links to Eoin’s original article.

This also answers, in part, a deeper object that you’ll always hear from the Tories: That the country can’t afford Labour’s welfare policies. Of course it can. As Mike has shown ad infinitum, Labour kept well in budget during its time in power. The only period of massive overspending was when Gordon Brown had to pump money into the global economy after the banking crash. This wasn’t Labour’s fault. Labour had contributed to it by following the same ‘light touch’ regulation – in fact continuing the Tories’ deregulation of the financial sector – but the direct cause was the massive speculation and bizarre financial shenanigans of Goldman Sachs et al in Wall Street. I’m not a fan of Gordon Brown. Despite claims that he was ‘Old Labour’, I’ve seen no evidence to suggest that he did not share Blair’s neoliberalism. But Brown did keep us out of the Euro, and he did save the global economy.

What is clear that is the country and its people definitely can’t afford another five years of the Tories.

Thanks to the Tories’ privatisation of essential services, we are paying more for a worse service for everything from the NHS to the railways. We are paying more in subsidies for the rail network than we were when it was nationalised. And contrary to Tory claims, during the last years of British Rail when the network was operating under Operating For Quality, the company offered better value for service than any time since nationalisation or after privatisation. Since then, fares have been raised and services cut.

The same is true of the Tories’ privatisation of the NHS. Private healthcare is actually far more bureaucratic than socialised medicine, as the private healthcare companies charge for advertising and their legal department as well as administration. They also must show a profit for their shareholders. Thus, as the Tories have outsourced NHS services, a process that began with Peter Lilley and the PFI, costs have actually gone up due to the inclusion of private industry.

Not Forgetting the millions of low and unwaged workers, and the unemployed, Cameron and May have created.

There are 8 million people in ‘food insecure’ households, according to the UN. This is because Cameron and May have deliberately kept wages low, and introduced zero hours contracts, among other tricks, in order to keep labour costs down and the workforce frightened. As a result, we’ve seen millions of people forced to rely on food banks for their next meal. These are hardworking people, who have been denied a living wage, all for the profit of big corporations like Sports Direct.

Then there are the millions of unemployed and disabled, who have been thrown off benefits under the absolute flimsiest of pretexts. This has been covered by left-wing bloggers again and again. And tens of thousands have died from poverty and starvation. See the stats and biographies of some of those, who have been murdered by these policies, collected by Stilloaks, Johnny Void, Mike over at Vox Political, Another Angry Voice and so on.

It isn’t a case of Britain being unable to afford Labour. The country cannot afford not to have Labour in power.

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Secular Talk: Donald Trump Makes Up Numbers on Medicare, Republicans Fail to Tackle Him on Real Issues

March 6, 2016

In this piece from Secular Talk, Kyle Kulinski discusses how Trump was caught out making up the numbers for the amount the American government spends on drugs for the Medicare programme during the Republican presidential candidates’ debate. Trump claimed that because the Medicare administrators were forbidden to negotiate over the prices with the drug companies, the government was paying vastly exorbitant prices for the drugs. He claimed that once this restriction was lifted, about $300 billion could be cut from the budget. Chris Wallace, the debate moderator, pointed out that in fact the government only spent $78 billion on Medicare.

Kulinski points out that Wallace is correct to show how Trump is making up the figures, but states that this attack on Trump is misdirected. Trump is actually right. The American government is forbidden from negotiating with the drug companies over the costs of pharmaceuticals, with the result that the American tax-payer does pay too much for drugs. So the average voter will still be impressed with the general point Trump’s making. Just like they are when Trump says he’ll stop the corporations from going abroad, and keep jobs in America. Average American voters will support this, and they won’t be impressed with the policy’s dismissal by rival candidates like Ted Cruz, who sneer at it for not being serious. Just like they have a sneering attitude to spending money on Medicare on the pretext that the government must balance the budget, and so the poor must do without, and starve. He points out that it’s the same when Trump says he’ll spend more on American infrastructure. It’s a popular policy with ordinary voters, but not with the rest of the Republicans, so they lose to him here.

Trump’s rivals in the Republican party choose to attack him on the weakest points, because they secretly agree with his core policies, horrendous as they are. They like the idea of Torturing terrorist suspects, and deporting millions of immigrants. They like the idea of banning Muslims from the US. And so they mount only weak attacks on what are actually his strongest policies, like saving money by buying drugs cheaply. And the result is that Trump storms past them in the polls.

Vox Political: Ian Duncan Smith Whines that It’s Not His Fault Councils Can’t Manage Services Due to Cuts

March 2, 2016

More whining and self-justification for the Gentleman Ranker. Presumably he believes that it wasn’t due to him that his wretched party couldn’t mount a successful challenge to Blair.

Mike over Vox Political has posted a piece about aIDS’ latest attempt to defend himself on the subject of cuts to local councils. Doug Taylor, the leader of Enfield council, has been forced to cut youth services, blaming the decision on the cuts in local government funding from the Tories. So aIDS got on his high horse to announce that successful councils were those, which were able to manage their funding successfully without it making ‘headline news’. In other words, ‘you should be able to deal with these cuts, shut up about it.’ The Grauniad, who are carrying this story, remarked that aIDS was like his boss, David Cameron, in carrying on blissfully unaware about the cuts his government was making, despite austerity being the government’s central policy.

Mike remarks that he’s just the latest politicians to claim that the cuts aren’t his fault, just like the deaths and suffering caused by his policies in the DWP aren’t his fault.

Iain Duncan Smith: the latest MP to pretend council cuts are not his fault

Precisely. The Tories don’t like the welfare state. With the exception of the questionable support it received from the ‘One Nation’ group, they have always attacked it on the grounds that state provision supposedly weakened the individual’s will and ability to stand on his own two feet. Hence all that cobblers about ‘welfare dependency’. It all ultimately goes back to Maggie in this current political incarnation, who in turn derived it from her precious ‘Victorian values’. Instead of complaining, you’re supposed to stand straight, straighten your tie, and sing ‘God Save the Queen’, or whatever it was Cameron shouted at Corbyn when he couldn’t answer his question at the Despatch Box the other day.

And it is all about closing services through cutting funding. It’s grossly hypocritical for aIDS and Cameron to claim otherwise, when for the past half decade and more they’ve been in power, services have been cut to the bone and beyond. This was, after all, part of their wretched localism campaign, in which senior citizens and other volunteers were supposed to take over the running of certain services like libraries. It was the ‘Big Society’. Which sounds good, as it’s supposed to call to mind the American’s ‘Great Society’. Unfortunately, this was the American’s penny-pinching, curmudgeonly, mean-spirited little brother. Rather like the people, who dreamed it up in fact.

The real cause of Tory fury here, is not that services are being cut – that’s always been the plan – but that they’re getting the blame. And that would never do. It would stop them getting re-elected. And so they have to find someone else to blame. It used to be ‘high spending Labour councils’ giving money to anti-racist activists, Blacks and lesbians. They can’t quite make that stick this time round, and certainly not after Cameron’s decided he wanted to get the gay community on board. And so without an adequate scapegoat, we have aIDS throwing a tantrum, yelling that they should be able to balance their books anyway, and that it’s not his fault. Perhaps he’ll go and sulk in a corner after this.

The man’s a pathetic charlatan, who’s unable to accept responsibility for the cuts, and for the suffering he’s deliberately inflicting on the people of this country. He has never, ever been remotely fit for office, and it’s a disgrace he got anywhere near the corridors of power.

Lloyd George’s Pensions Act and How the Treasury Tries to Make Welfare Take-Up Difficult

February 24, 2016

One of the things I’ve noticed is that as soon as a government roll out some new form of welfare benefit, there’s almost always an attempt immediately either to block it, or to make sure that spending on it is kept as low as possible, and that as few people as possible take it up. In the case of the Tories, this is part of the whole point of these reforms: they’re too make sure as few people qualify for the benefit as possible, but make it appear as though they’re still somehow giving help to the poor. Hence increased benefit cuts, disguised with verbiage about how benefits are being raised in real terms, or else they’re reforming the system so that its geared towards those who really need it. Or some other such nonsense.

In the case of the Labour party, opposition to increased welfare spending seems almost always to come from the Treasury, which immediately makes a statement about the need to preserve spending limits, and recommends amendments to make sure that expenditure is lower than that actually desired by those who formulated the reform. This has been going on for a very long time, almost as long as welfare benefits were introduced. Lloyd George’s pension reforms of 1908 were similarly criticised and modified by the Treasury.

Asquith, Lloyd-George’s predecessor at the Treasury under Campbell-Bannerman, had promised to introduce non-contributory state pensions in 1906. This was to be 5s a week for people over 70. Married couples would only receive 7s 6d. In 1908 Lloyd George gave into pressure from the backbenches, and removed the discrimination against married couples. However, the Treasury had also succeeded in limiting the take-up of the new benefit, was putting a limit of £7 million on the amount that could be spent on it and moving the age when it could be paid from 65 to 70. (See G.C. Peden, British Economic and Social Policy: Lloyd George to Margaret Thatcher, pp. 20-1). And the Tories have done exactly the same today. A few years ago they raised the retirement age to 70 for men, on the grounds that more of us are living and remaining active to that age. They may well be right, but I doubt that’s the only reason they raised it. It seems to me to be something they’ve wanted to do for over a century, ever since Asquith and Lloyd George brought it in. There are certain things in Tories that really don’t change. Unfortunately.