It is difficult to disagree with the editorial on the need to change to socialism, especially as ever since "capitalism`s financial system collapsed in 2008", working-class living standards" have been attacked in order to "bail out the banks and markets".(Morning Star,01/05/15) The reasons the political parties have nearly all given to justify the austerity measures, which they say are necessary for the deficit to be reduced, have been that such debt was unsustainable, and that the country would otherwise follow in Greece`s footsteps on the road to bankruptcy. The Lib Dems swallowed this Tory nonsense completely so long as they could enjoy their share of government, whilst Labour, with Blairite influence still strong, are still insisting some austerity is necessary.
In fact, austerity was never necessary, and not for the simple reason that this 6th richest country in the world has plenty of wealth, and can afford to pay off debts as well as supporting welfare, the NHS, state education and such-like, as long as the tax system is reformed, and everyone and every business is forced to pay their fair share. This coalition has never been serious about ending the tax avoidance "industry", despite all of their "morally repugnant" rhetoric. Anyway, if companies refuse to pay the correct amount of tax, the simple solution has to be to force them by law to pay the money instead, with a much higher minimum wage, to workers who will pay the necessary tax!
Remember how Cameron said that austerity was necessary because such debt had to be erased for the sake of the children and next generation? Then the huge hike in tuition fees happened! Didn`t mind passing on £40-50 grands` worth of debt to all students!!
There is another reason: the country is different from Greece because it is financially independent, and, in effect, can generate its own wealth. With the Bank of England being the government`s bank, quantitative easing is available. Funny how there was no problem in initiating the process of quantitative easing when the banks needed re-capitalisation, to the tune of £375bn! Then it was apparently essential for the benefit of the country, because this would kickstart the economy, as a result of the increased lending to businesses the extra money would generate. As if! The extra lending did not take place, and much of the money went on the vast salaries and obscene bonuses, rewarding the "socially useless" work of the greedy investment bankers.
Austerity, with its accompanying cutting of jobs in the public sector, even 20,000 and counting at HMRC of all places, the tax collecting arm of the government, and the reductions of benefits, is simply the tool the Tories are using to shrink the state. With less jobs in the public sector, demand for work in the private sector will push down wages, and, as we have witnessed, enable greedy employers to use zero-hours contracts, part-time workers, and low wages generally, to increase their profits.
Sadly, but typically, the Tories have not finished, and as can be seen from their election pledges, plan to take government spending back to levels last seen in the 1930s, in effect returning to the laissez-faire system of the previous century, with little or no regulation to prevent firms increasing the exploitation of their workers, increasing their profits exponentially, and avoiding paying the corporation tax which is already 18 percentage points below the American rate. In the last few years, however, despite the claims that deficit reduction is the priority, it has given way to measures designed to stimulate the economy, in the realisation that austerity prevents economies growing. Similarly, despite the rhetoric about the danger of increased borrowing under another Labour government, Tories are very keen to hide the following details: when Labour was in power, over the full thirteen years, they borrowed £142.7bn, compared to the £157.5 bn borrowed by the coalition in its five years!
Quantitative easing, which is now in process throughout the majority of the EU, is not the only remedy available to a British government, as with interest rates and inflation so low, it is possible to borrow for the future at what are, in effect, practically negative interest rates, adding yet another reason to cancel austerity altogether. How can there be a problem with borrowing from a bank you essentially own?
Shrinking the state is Tory ideology; imposing austerity measures because of the need to reduce government debt is Tory propaganda!