I have the distinct feeling that today may mark a real seismic change in British and possibly even international politics.
It’s been indeed a very long time since any government (we’re working on the rumurs from Sky here so if it doesn’t turn out then it’s their fault) looked like rasing taxes on the top earners in society.
For over a quarter of a century we’ve been fed the line from a dominant neo-liberal agenda that if we lower taxes on the higher earners it encourages them an stimulates entrepreneurship. I’m not exactly sure what a few percentage difference on Â£150,000 a year or more is in terms of stimulus but like the 98% of workers in Britain, I’m not in that group and probably never will be so I can’t say.
We were told that allowing people to amass greater wealth would stimulate a trickle down effect making everyone better off. It was a sham and history will record that it failed miserably. I’m reminded of an old Ben Elton sketch from the 1980′s which summed it up rather nicely. These people with lots of money did go out spending, buying Japanese televisions and German cars. Sartorial and simplistic but not a million miles away from the truth.
I once came across an old Labour Party leaflet from the early 70′s while hunting through some old archives. Th curious thing about it was that the balance of trade featured as one of the main criticisms of the Heath Government. It struck me that I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen such an economic terms in a leaflet from any party. Perhaps it’s indicative of the levels to which our deficit grew in the 1980′s that it’s just not mentioned anymore because it’s a bit taboo and with a devastated industrial base is never going to look good.
Neo-liberal economics failed. Trickle down principles turned out to be nothing but a sham of an idea to allow the already rich to get richer and perversely be subsidised by the poor.
A lot has been done over the last 11 years to address the deep social and economic problems brought about by such an economic regime but as good as they have been, there’s not been a time when the core principles have been challenged to such an extent.
This could be that time where we see a real shift away from the morally and intellectually bankrupt neo-liberal unfettered capitalism of the right. Away from a position where the system dictates society instead of the other way around.
Hopefully this will be the start of ‘trickle up’ economics. Putting the money in the hands of those who really do spend it in the economy, bringing about economic activity and growth where it is truly needed, not with investment companies and hedge funds but putting ordinary people in jobs providing goods and services that ordinary people need and use.
Here’s hoping then.
Perhaps I should do a spot of live blogging of the pre-budget report? That’s a thought.