Wednesday, 16 March 2016

George Osborne's budget of failure

George Osborne's 2016 budget was a shambles, with a few bits of glitter (sugary drink tax, ISA savings accounts for wealthy young people, cutting the cost of the Severn bridge toll, some long overdue infrastructure investment ...) to distract attention away from the recurring theme that he has missed all of his economic targets again, and instead of changing tack he's sticking with the same tactic of big handouts for corporations and the rich whilst loading the burden of ideological austerity on the poor.

If we look back to 2010 Osborne promised that his ideological austerity agenda would have completely eliminated the budget deficit by now. In reality he hasn't even managed to halve it, and this budget, like so many before it. included revisions to his botched over-optimistic economic projections and a load of excuse making.

One of the most bizarre things was Osborne's change of tune since November 2015. Just a few months ago he filled out his budget announcement with a load of hubristic gloating about what fabulous shape the UK economy was in. All of the over-optimistic projections that underpinned Osborne's gloating have now been revised downwards, and instead of crowing about what a great job he's been doing, Osborne focused instead on blaming global economic conditions for his woes.

Osborne's budget of failure included £3.5 billion worth of ideological austerity cuts, many of which will severely impact disabled people. Meanwhile wealthy investors have been given a huge tax cut on capital gains (from 28% to 20%), corporations* have been handed another tax cut from 18% to 17%, and the vast majority of the dividend from Osborne's changes to income tax thresholds will benefit those who earn over £42,000 per year.

Anyone who understands basic macroeconomics knows that transferring wealth from poor and ordinary people to the wealthy minority is a poor idea (because majority tend to spend most of their income stimulating demand, whilst the extremely rich tend to save it or stash it in tax havens). None of this matters to George Osborne though, because the Tory party is bankrolled by the extremely wealthy, meaning that he has no real interest in doing what's best for the economy. In fact, doing such a poor job of eliminating the deficit provides him with the excuse to continue with his failed policy of transferring as much wealth as possible from the majority to the tiny super-rich minority because there are some 11 million people in the UK daft enough to believe the Tory bullshit and bluster about how there is no alternative to their "let's cut our way to growth" ideological austerity agenda.

Jeremy Corbyn was technically correct to say that Osborne's budget has "unfairness at its very core", but what else would anyone expect from a Tory budget but a set of policies aimed at the upwards redistribution of wealth? Perhaps a better line of attack would have been to focus on the fact that such unfair policies have manifestly failed to achieve the results George Osborne has promised time and time and time again.

Nobody would ever a Tory chancellor to ever deliver a budget with fairness at its core, so to highlight that is to highlight the obvious. What really needs to be done is the breaking of this pervasive popular myth (propagated by the right-wing press) that George Osborne and the Tories are economically competent, when this budget is yet another demonstration that they are as economically incompetent as they are unfair.

See also: The Tory plan to force privatise every school in England

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The austerity con
The Tory plan to force privatise every school in England
How do people think George Osborne is a genius?

How gullible would you have to be to believe the Tory "hardworking people" propaganda?
How the mainstream media frame the political debate
The Tory "economic recovery" mantra is a lie