The Deficit Myth illustrated, or ‘how public spending became a victim of some weird neo-McCarthyism’

Ever wanted a really brief timeline of how the British public bought into justifying the demise of the welfare state? Look no further! Here’s a recap of the post-crisis UK, where public spending became enemy number 1, a mystical shield for the free market, which still reigns supreme against all odds. Congratulation, free market! Also congratulations to the Conservatives, who have managed to monopolise ‘economic competence’ against even greater odds and even greater logic!

Ahem, here goes:

2008: Deregulation (thus small government) leads to a banking crisis. No discipline by the US Congress due to a fundamentalist market orthodoxy breeds fiscal irresponsibility.

2009-10: Gordon Brown’s Obama-isation: recovery via capital investment and, yes, borrowing. [gasps]

2009: Cameron U-turns, decides ‘it is big government that has got us into this mess’ (See step 1 for why this is literally the worst), begins ideological reshaping of the narrative to justify austerity that hits poor hardest, yet never considers tax rises to raise revenues –in fact offers tax cuts to the very wealthiest.


Tax and spend becomes toxic even though it helps Germany and America recover in half the time Britain does (Britain leaves recession in 2013, a year after America and after having dropped the AAA credit rating)

Media benefit street-imisation and tabloid scapegoating aids the Tory narrative. Hence begins ‘scroungers v strivers’. Let the peasants fight while the gentry run wild with tax cuts and avoidance and avoiding the blame that is rightfully theirs.

Austerity becomes the definition of ‘economic competence’. Read this on Osborne’s social engineering.

Bro, austerity literally does not work:
1m use foodbanks, benefit caps and sanctions result in thousands of deaths, a housing crisis due to lack of investment to build homes, benefit claimants and immigrants become the victims of ‘blame thy neighbour’ and two nationism, inequality and child poverty reach record highs

….and even after all these sacrifices, put on the backs of the poorest, the deficit is only halved after Osborne targeted its eradication by 2015, and borrowing is up to £91bn.
In the 2010 election, Cameron demonized Labour plans to borrow the disastrously high amount of £75bn, and belittled Labour’s plans to just halve the deficit. Yet ‘economic competence’ is monopolised by the Tories, and they begin their 2015 campaign with the slogan ‘Competence or chaos’.

Labour is trapped into sticking to the austerity narrative, fears spending and investment, the ‘tax and spend’ party is dead, even though the US Democrats seemed to enjoy the brand quite well. The media traps Labour, too. Oh, Murdoch, you!

May 2015?: And if the Tories win on the back of this myth? It is not an exaggeration to suggest there will be a reimagining of the role of the state as public spending becomes minimal and continues to shrink even after a surplus has achieved

FIRE, DESTRUCTION. Well really, who can tell? The fire service has probably been bought by the French government at this point.



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