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End 'signing on' culture

Fifteen million tonnes of food ...

Humanity's current dilemma

Osborne's 5 Awkward Graphs

Previous ...

Government of the one per cent,
by the one per cent, for the one percent:

Permanent Austerity - Smoke and Mirrors.

The new feudalism is ...

After nearly four years in office Osborne still has a £20bn 'black hole', so the welfare budget is lined up for a further hit of £12bn. [FT]

Public sector net debt as of January 2014 ...

... was £1,239.6 billion (74.6% of GDP). This compares with a PSND ex of £1,158.4 billion (72.6% of GDP) at the end of January 2013.

Furthermore, the IFS is of the opinion that the national debt will only return to pre-crisis levels in the mid-2030s. Gdn

Higher taxes on the rich are out of the question, however, because the Tories cling to the bankrupt trickle down theory of wealth, despite the fact that wealth is more likely to 'flood' out to tax havens.

Therefore, evicting the poor from their homes is the 'only' alternative. [Gdn]   [LL]

But there is a wider agenda here than simply cutting the welfare budget.

The growth of the working poor - insecure part-time work, and zero hour contracts - is symptomatic of the coalition's attack on living standards.

This is presented as an interim, short-term problem to be cured when the economy starts to grow.

However, like austerity, it may well be a longer-term trend with a different objective in mind: competing with China.

The new 'flexibility' overturns the post-war redistributionist policies - lowering inequality - returning instead to Victorian times when charity WAS welfare.

Socialising the 'free' markets

Because 'free markets' must not be subsidised by the taxpayer, the energy 'market' in the UK is expected to levy it's investment costs from the consumer.

However when it comes to building a new generation of power stations, the private sector expects the market to be rigged by a 'strike price' for the electricity produced. [SP]

It also expects the clean-up of the nuclear waste to be socialised. [SC]

(Thorium - a much safer alternative to nuclear, btw - is not considered: it does not produce weapons grade plutonium for that horrendously expensive pretence that it's still 1913, and the UK is still a world power: Trident.)

The manner in which the wealthy expect government support - no longer extended to the poor - was well illustrated by Alistair Darling who reported this interchange with the-then chairman of RBS in 2008:

‘I remember being summoned out of the meeting to talk to Tom McKillop and he said things were just terrible, that money was pouring out of the door.

‘He said, “What are you going to do about it?” Which I thought was a quite remarkable thing to say – what are YOU going to do about it! ... [AD]) MoS

Having destroyed much of Britain's industrial base in the 1980s - Gdn - in the insane belief that the City of London could replace it - a fantasy also bought into by that, er, 'socialist' chancellor who believed that boom and bust had ended.

Since 2008, however, there's been much chatter about 'rebalancing' the economy away from the chimera of banking-finance.

The problem with rebalancing is two-fold: a UK investment-led recovery would require more (short-term) government borrowing, mainly because corporate capital is sitting on it's wealth, rather than investing. [SEB]   [SEB]   [Infr]

So, where would you turn if your name was George Osborne and you wanted 'growth'?

The answer is Help to Buy. [FT]

In an era of low interest rates rising house prices provide an alternative to banks and building societies for those with savings.

This is especially the case in regard to pension annuities, which are now very poor value thanks both to low interests rates, and quantitative easing.

Enter the Buy To Let bubble - [Gdn] - which now dwarfs the rest of the housing market. [HTB].

Rebalancing the economy? Forget it. Housing IS the economy.

The reality behind the 'free market' rhetoric begins to emerge:

... demands for the rollback of government intervention in the economy have always been one sided. The government is called on to lesson regulations and intervention in the economy only when it will benefit the economic elites.

Thus labour and environmental regulations were attacked by neoliberals as distorting the price mechanisms of the free market and were seen as examples of how government intervention in the economy always leads to inefficiency.

Yet the same neoliberals were surprisingly quiet in 2001 when President Bush approved a massive bailout for the airline industry.

Surely if government intervention in the economy distorts prices and subverts the more efficient market mechanisms then they would oppose such “government overreach” as a gross violation of neoliberal theory?

Here is where we can apply Harvey’s insight about neoliberalism as more of a practical attempt to restore elite class power than as a theoretical project driven by the works of Hayek or Friedman.

Thus we end up in practice with a kind of one sided neoliberalism, where government intervention is bad if it would protect labour or the environment, but government intervention is good if it will help economic elites.’ ...

Capitalism – Neoliberalism, Plutonomy, and Neo-feudalism

Parasite Bankers


Rules on unemployment benefits tightened to end 'signing on' culture

If you can't afford a laptop - go to your local library, if it's still open. Looks like a lot of folk are not going to get any more JSA. Which will be the whole point of the exercise.

Esther McVey, the employment minister, will launch a significant government push on welfare this week by saying that unemployed people must prepare for their first interview with a Jobcentre Plus adviser by preparing a CV.

They must also set up an email address and register on the government's jobs website ...

Gdn  07 Apr 2014   Arbeit Macht Frei   Reserve Army

Think welfare spending is spiralling out of control? You're wrong

Fraud investigators called in as a 'third of a million'
vacancies listed on Government's Jobmatch site are claimed to be fake


Fifteen million tonnes of food waste in UK is 'repugnant'

[Lords EU] Committee chairwoman Baroness Scott of Needham Market said:

"Food waste in the EU and the UK is clearly a huge issue. Not only is it morally repugnant, but it has serious economic and environmental implications.

"The fact that 90 million tonnes of food is wasted across the EU each year shows the extent of the problem and explains why we are calling for urgent action.

"Globally, consumers in industrialised nations waste up to 222 million tonnes of food a year, which is equivalent to nearly the entire level of net food production of Sub-Saharan Africa." ...

... jobs and carbon savings cannot be created while landfill remains an easy option and systems for collecting the products for reuse and recycling are limited, the [Green Alliance] think tank said.

C4 News  06 Apr 2014      

Urgent action on food waste needed

More jobs, less carbon: why we need landfill bans


UK Recovery Needs 'Economically Literate' Politicians

John Longworth - unawares - exactly pinpoints humanity's current dilemma ...

You can pursue 'great growth' or you can pursue 'the green agenda', John, but you canNOT pursue both!

"The simple fact is that it is only through wealth creation - through sustainable, 'great growth' - that we can afford all of the things we want like the green agenda, defence, emergency services, overseas aid, education, a social safety net and the NHS.

"I have said it before and I cannot repeat it enough - achieving sustainable great growth should be and must be the number one priority of any government, and our political class needs to be more economically literate and business orientated. Great growth is not a luxury, it's a necessity," [John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce] will say ...

Huff Post  31 Mar 2014

Climate Change Is Here, And No One Is Immune


Osborne Says Britain Is 'Walking Tall', Ignoring These 5 Awkward Graphs

Nearly everyone else is walking taller than us...

The UK is set to fall behind in the 'global race'

Osborne will keep struggling to get Britain exporting

Britons are getting more in debt

The country's own debt is still rising

Huff Post  31 Mar 2014


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