Sunday, 6 July 2014

FDR`s solutions could be relevant today

With increased concern over a likely crisis in NHS funding, it becomes more important than ever for the tax gap to be closed, and a "reappraisal of priorities" to take place.Will Hutton`s article in last week`s Observer on the lack of ethics in the corporate and public sectors showed how "the absence of purpose, of a moral language within government, media or business" have infiltrated society.
 America faced similar problems in the 1930s after the previous profit-at-any-price, "fast buck", decade, and perhaps Miliband, as clearly the other main party leaders are not concerned, could learn from this Roosevelt too. Fearful of wild Republican and media accusations about "revolution" and "communism", FDR`s solution was the Blue Eagle, awarded to all companies working towards an economic recovery for the country, rather than just their shareholders; these awards could be use to attract custom, and were also a means, of course, by which consumers could judge where to spend their money. In this country similar accolades,rather than the costly bribe of 12 months tax breaks, could be given to companies which pay a living wage, at least, to all their employees. All businesses which pay the correct amount of corporation tax would be eligible to receive one, too. Perhaps there could also be one for introducing apprenticeship schemes, another for allowing trade unions, for not paying obscene salaries and bonuses at the top, and a Fair Rent award to non-exploitative landlords? Allied to these could be a re-vamped Honours system, which did not recognise greed and tax avoidance.
 Such a proposal would be a step in the direction towards not only "responsible capitalism", but a time when funding our most essential public services would not be at the whim of politicians and ideologues! 

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