Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The "there's no money left" argument


One of the most oft repeated "economic" arguments posited by Tory party supporters is the "didn't Labour leave a note admitting there was no money left?" question, which is often used in conjunction with the absurdly counter-factual "Labour bankrupted Britain" narrative.

The first thing to note about this question is that the note that was left by Liam Byrne saying that "there's no money" was intended as a joke, not as a serious statement of fact. The joke being a reiteration of the 1965 note left by the Tory Chancellor Reginald Maudling for his successor Jim Callaghan that said "
good luck old cock, sorry to leave it in a mess".
  
If the crux of your economic argument is a joke note written over five years ago by a fool like Liam Byrne, then it's absolutely clear that you don't have the faintest regard for genuine economic analysis, and prefer to rote learn absurd economic fairy stories from the employees of right wing press barons like Rupert Murdoch (S*n, Times, Sky TV), Jonathan Harmsworth (Daily Mail, Metro), the Barclay brothers (Telegraph, Spectator) and RIchard Desmond (Express, Star).

It's hard to believe that anyone could be credulous enough to believe that the proposition that "there's no money" was a serious and accurate one rather than a joke, but apparently lots of Tory supporters do, and even use it as the keystone of their argument in favour of reelecting the Conservatives!

It's hard to not feel like I'm being patronising in explaining what is to come in the next paragraph, but there are apparently a heck of a lot of Tories out there who honestly don't seem to understand this stuff.

The idea that there ever was "no money left" is a childlike fantasy. The United Kingdom has a central bank called the Bank of England that can just create new money out of nothing via a process known as Quantitative Easing. Since the global financial sector meltdown of 2007-08 the Bank of England has created £375 billion in this way. When a country has a sovereign central bank that can create new money, the idea that there is "no money left" is economic baby talk.

One of the things that this Tory reliance upon the 
"no money left" arguments illustrates is the incredible selectivity of the Tory mind. It seems that the Tory has perfect recall of events in 2010 when it comes to stupid joke notes left in the treasury by an embodiment of uselessness like Liam Byrne, but when it comes to all of the promises and predictions made by Tory politicians back in 2010, they've managed to completely forget them all.

They can remember Liam Byrne's stupid note perfectly, but they can't seem to remember stuff like George Osborne promising not to raise VAT (then raising it just 2 months later), David Cameron promising "no more top-down reorganisations of the NHS" (then launching the biggest top-down reorganisation in the entire history of the NHS) and they can't remember George Osborne predicting his ideological austerity experiment would have completely eliminated the deficit by 2015 (they now admit that it won't be eliminated until long after 2020).

Whenever you hear anyone use Liam Byrne's
 "there's no money" note as the crux of their economic argument, you can be absolutely sure that you're communicating with someone who is an economic illiterate who prefers to rote learn their opinions about the economy from the pages of the right-wing press in lieu of making the remotest effort to actually understand economic issues for themselves.

   
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