Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Tory welfare scroungers continue to bank along

For all the cretinous duplicity of Iain Duncan Smith, whose ignorant and evil perpetuation of the myth of generational welfare-dependency was a further example of the extent to which government has been captured by a delusional fantasy, there is a silence from Labour and the left around the extreme hypocrisy that continues to underpin current ideology.  From Gideon through Beaker, there is a myth around the necessity and desirability of bankers, "entrepreneurs" and other Tory-donating parasites continuing to receive copious subsidies while the rest of the population have austerity and privations thrust down their throats.

There is a reasonable argument to be made that, in the face of the global financial meltdown, Brown and Darling did what they needed to in order to stop the UK being sucked into an over-leveraged crash of even greater proportions.  This does not absolve them, or their Tory forebears, of responsibility for creating the environment where over-leveraged, ill-informed speculation backed by other people's money caused the breakdown of the system.  However, in the light of subsequent amoral cupidity they look like the Rochdale Pioneers.

A reasonable expectation, in the light of the complete irresponsibility and incompetence of the self-styled wealth generators, would have been for a thorough rethink on the basis on which the economy and society is managed.  However, this would have involved debunking all the myths of the right with which we have been plagued for the last three decades.

There is nothing morally sound about capitalism.  At best the market is the "least bad" method of conducting economic life, but that does not imply any moral superiority or financial worth to the protagonists on either side.  Nobody has seriously suggested that there is a viable alternative - even in the former eastern bloc the market continued with the ineptitude of planning ministries substituting for the cupidity and avarice of gangsters.  The success of the new right is in removing any moral responsibility from those in a position to exploit their interests.

Whenever even marginal reform is proposed, for example in splitting off the functions of retail banking (on which individuals rely for their financial stability) from "investment" banking, where self-styled geniuses gamble with money in which they have no direct stake, there is a cry that this will be "inefficient", as the allegedly higher returns from the latter might not "subsidise" the former.  The amoral and brazen way in which the creatures dress up their cupidity and greed, through the abuse of language through pseudo-respectable terms such as "risk" and "analysis", should make them candidates for lamppost-decoration rather than adulation.

Having received billions in bail-outs (far more than the pygmy storm over EU budgets currently being peddled by the Tories), they then think that they have the moral right to lecture the vast majority of the population on the need to accept and embrace a masochistic austerity.  Never having had a job where their own actions lead to direct consequences, and usually living in the kind of community which has been insulated through corporate welfare payments from the consequences of their actions, they have the morals of a desensitised alley-cat, and the charm of said animal infected simultaneously with rabies and ebola.

A just society would regard their selfishness and hypocrisy as a worthy target.  As a start, there should be moral equivalence in the treatment of bankers and welfare recipients.  As many of the latter are in the straits of desperation as a direct or indirect consequence of banking incompetence and fraud, this would be a fair deal.  On bonuses, instead of arguing how they can be reformed, they should be taxed out of existence.  Until every penny of direct subsidy and lost output has been reclaimed from the group that has caused and exacerbated the depression, any attempt to reward the guilty should be protested.

Nobody argues that the majority of people who work in order to live are entitled to automatic bonuses just for doing their job.  To postulate that a bonus culture is what is required to drive "wealth creation" is a breathtaking parody of genuine interest - and if that is what is required to attract people into banking the world would be better off if they were populating the bottom of gravel pits.  To counter that any reform would drive out organisations from London and the EU is possibly valid, but the social and institutional benefits that would be derived makes it perfectly reasonable to set out an alternative which is not reliant on the snivelling thieves.

As Duncan Smith argues for tighter and tighter controls on welfare for the emerging underclass, the corporate state continues to subsidise its beneficiaries.  The intention of Blair's tax credit system was to reward work - instead it becomes a scheme that allows companies to underpay staff and boast about wealth creation whilst simultaneously expecting the state to pick up the difference between starvation and subsistence.  As part of a reform of corporate tax, an incoming government should ensure that profits are taxed at 100% up to the value of the tax credits paid out to the workforce - this might make any changes to the wider welfare regime more equitable as well as reducing the corporate subsidy.

We live in a world where challenging the shibboleth of the moral capitalist is seen as a fringe belief, bordering on subversion.  If reform is possible, it will come at the expense of dismantling the apparatus and the busting of mythologies.  If this results in the machine spewing out its apostles and evangelists at all levels with a life of dispossessed paupery, given their lack of human and technical skills, then the usual Tory mantra should apply.

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