Since the 1970s when workers were defeated at the hands of Thatcher and her successors there has been a continuous shift of wealth towards the rich. Since that time workers have needed two working parents to support a family. Mortgage debts grew and credit card debt ballooned. Even working families couldn’t support themselves; the state paid benefits to more and more working families to subsidise inadequate wages.
At the same time the wealthy needed to find investments which they did in banking and privatisation. These are little more than unproductive rackets but they were much more lucrative than the weak British industrial sector. And it didn’t involve any real work.
The banking crisis was simply this. With less of the nation’s wealth workers relied on debt and benefits while the nation’s wealthy encouraged more debt so that workers could maintain consumption. It was not sustainable and the crash was inevitable.
The austerity programme aims at more privatisation; it is not austerity for private equity companies. The NHS is the biggest prize yet for the parasites in the City with the Post Office next on the list. Suffolk County Council has already sold off its care homes and elderly residents to the City. Wealth is being shifted even further to the rich in a period when we are all supposed to be suffering austerity.
For workers austerity has meant real hardship with further attacks on jobs, on rights, wages, pensions and benefits. Food banks and pay-day lenders are symptoms of the new austerity economy. It is as unsustainable as the economy which lead to the crash of 2007/8: where are the customers to come from? Austerity solves nothing and a new crisis will follow. For workers it is just a con.
“Making work pay” is an insulting and deceitful slogan aimed at working people. Rather than cutting benefits and creating more hardship what is the Government doing about raising wages so that work pays enough and benefits are not needed? Even the dimmest Tory must realise that businesses need customers. Even the most out-of-touch Labour opposition politician must realise that the root of the problem is that the people they claim to represent are being screwed. Even the most cautious trade union leaders must realise that they have to do something.