Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly

Even though the abolition of the 50p tax rate may do nothing for growth, the fat cats will be delighted with George Osborne’s budget, writes Prof. George Irvin.

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George Irvin is Professorial Fellow at the University of London, SOAS, and author of Super Rich: the growth of inequality in Britain and the United States: London, Polity

Today’s budget is a damp squib, purportedly ‘neutral’ in clawing back the conveniently small sums lost by abolishing the 50p rate on very high incomes.

George-Osborne-Budget-Red-BoxSuper expensive houses draw higher stamp duty, middle-income earners will benefit from raising the tax threshold and there is a watered-down anti-avoidance principle; but corporate tax will fall to 20% by next year and new loopholes will appear.

The inconvenient truth of a small budget for the rich merely masks the much larger inconvenient truth of Andrew Lansley’s NHS giveaway.

The pundits are pretty unanimous that George Osborne has done nothing of significance to promote UK jobs, it contains no growth strategy and there’s no real help for the disproportionate burden borne by the poor or by women.

NIESR says the depression will last at least another year, longer than in the 1930s; the IFS has called for a fiscal stimulus; at the Bank of England the MPC is gloomy while the OBR is not about to revise its 0.8% growth forecast for 2012 upward.

As for the commentariat, Osborne’s strategy has been excoriated by everyone from Larry Elliott to David Blanchflower, from Heather Stewart to Robert Skidelsky. Even business leaders like BA’s Willie Walsh think Osborne has forsaken growth.

The obvious question is why anybody would expect George Osborne to produce a budget promoting growth or based on fairness? After all, since 2009, the financial sector has continued to prosper and the rich have grown richer.

 


See also:

The charts that shame the “we’re all in this together” coalition 16 Mar 2012

Autumn statement 2011: “We’re all in this together” – when ‘we’ means the bottom 80% 29 Nov 2011

Budget 2011: Distributional analysis of coalition’s major tax changes 24 Mar 2011

How the government lost the fairness argument 8 Jan 2011

CSR 2011: IFS: Tax and benefit changes are regressive 21 Oct 2011


 

It cannot be repeated often enough: the captains of finance – not ordinary Britons – are Osborne’s constituents. The City put him in power and he will remain in power as long as he serves their interests.

Their interests are pretty obvious: low interest rates and fiscal rectitude will help keep sterling strong and capital flowing into the UK, while labour market deregulation, wage cuts and high unemployment will keep trade unions cowed and inflation in check. Privatising public services will fill the coffers of corporations at the expense of the public.

A tax cut for the rich may not boost growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly.

One could of course produce a raft of Keynesian arguments in favour of public investment as the keystone of a strategy for growth, as many have done over the past few years. But the time for analytical dissection of the budget has passed, and arguments about the micro-impact of this or that bit of fine print appear to fall on deaf ears.

Osborne’s budget is about naked class interests. The current crop of Tory MPs is more reactionary than those under Margaret Thatcher or even John Major. Thirty years of right-wing politics – only slightly alleviated by the Blair-Brown interregnum – has produced a generation of neoliberal politicians unapologetically aggressive in their pursuit of rampant self-interest.

It is their good fortune to have taken on board some cheaply obtained Lib Dem window dressing.

When will it end? When the ranks of the opposition have grown bold enough to say it loud and clear that plutocracy in 21st-century Britain is an absurd anachronism.

This budget, in combination with the passage of Andrew Lansley’s shameful NHS bill, merely serves to highlight the need for a far more important debate: how long can Britain continue to call itself a democracy when it is ruled increasingly in the sole interests of big money?

 


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47 Responses to “Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly”

  1. NonnyMouse

    Fat cat’s dont pay the top rate of income tax anyway. That is why the budget raises more income from the rich.

    Here are seven examples of prominent tax avoiders who should be named and shamed by the media.

  2. Budget 2012: Impact per decile – the poorer you are, the harder you’re hit | Left Foot Forward

    […] “we’re all in it together” line was missing from today’s budget – and no wonder, when one looks at the distributional impact of George Osborne’s latest […]

  3. KMJ

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  4. KMJ

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  5. KMJ

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  6. David Kent

    Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly | Left Foot Forwar http://t.co/LmoTTTqR

  7. David Kent

    Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly | Left Foot Forwar http://t.co/LmoTTTqR

  8. David Kent

    Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly | Left Foot Forwar http://t.co/LmoTTTqR

  9. Anthony Adshead

    RT @leftfootfwd: Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly http://t.co/z0JUyl4N

  10. Anthony Adshead

    RT @leftfootfwd: Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly http://t.co/z0JUyl4N

  11. Anthony Adshead

    RT @leftfootfwd: Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly http://t.co/z0JUyl4N

  12. Peter Collins

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  13. Peter Collins

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  14. Peter Collins

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  15. Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd: #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/vywUbbe9

  16. Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd: #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/vywUbbe9

  17. Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd: #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/vywUbbe9

  18. Newsbot9

    Uh-huh. No, they pay capital gains. Which is 28%. You of course then support raising this to the same level as income tax, right?

  19. Steven Adams

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  20. Steven Adams

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  21. Steven Adams

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  22. H. O.

    RT @leftfootfwd: Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly http://t.co/cEADdTAm

  23. H. O.

    RT @leftfootfwd: Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly http://t.co/cEADdTAm

  24. H. O.

    RT @leftfootfwd: Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly http://t.co/cEADdTAm

  25. Blarg1987

    You have forgotton to name Senrior Conservative MP’s as well as those who voted for privatisation and are non executives on the board of directors :p

  26. Janet Graham

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  27. Janet Graham

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  28. Janet Graham

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  29. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly http://t.co/ei3RrBEN

  30. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly http://t.co/ei3RrBEN

  31. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly http://t.co/ei3RrBEN

  32. Ed's Talking Balls

    ‘The City put him in power’

    Did it? I was under the impression that individuals elected governments. I don’t think Barclays et al go into ballot boxes and vote.

  33. Anonymous

    So what do you reckon, are the amounts of avoidance by your seven even a fraction of what has been avoided by Lord Aschcroft or Greenie?

    So what do you reckon, are the amounts of avoidance by your seven even a fraction of what has been avoided by Lord Aschcroft or Greenie?

  34. Daniel Pitt

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  35. Daniel Pitt

    #Budget2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly, writes @gwi40: http://t.co/CvJpaZrp #Budget

  36. Anonymous

    So, you’re not aware of how local elections work in the City then I see.

    Or how easy it is to buy the media lately, as seen in the referendum campaign…

  37. Michael

    Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly – http://t.co/nukynLxU

  38. BevR

    Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly – http://t.co/nukynLxU

  39. Jarvis

    Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly – http://t.co/nukynLxU

  40. cameronsfollys

    #Budget2012 It may do nothing for growth, but the #fatcats [#bigbiz #lobbyists] will purr more loudly http://t.co/7NMBA6EW

  41. Ed's Talking Balls

    I was under the impression that we were discussing the Westminster (i.e. national) election. Never mind.

    Ah yes, that old yarn – ‘we would have had AV, if it weren’t for those pesky media barons!’ Get over it. The pro-AV took an absolute hiding, because FPTP is so self-evidently preferable to Clegg’s ‘miserable compromise’.

    I didn’t like Blair, but was at least honest enough to admit that he was elected by people rather than corporations. Some of the delusion around here is really quite amusing.

  42. Anonymous

    Ah yes, you were under the impression I wouldn’t mention the inconvenient facts. Typical.

    And in fact, I opposed AV, as a miserable cludge. Not because of the “No to AV” campaign, using secret money to buy the media. That I don’t mind the result can’t cancel out the fact that it showed how broken the system is.

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  45. Ed's Talking Balls

    Inconvenient facts? You’re a cretin – there’s one.

    Why are you talking about one local election when the article (you know, the one I was commenting on) said that the City put Osborne in power? I don’t deal in irrelevant diversions. Corporations don’t vote in general elections. More people voted Conservative than Labour or Lib Dem. You don’t like it. Tough. Thankfully, lots of people disagree with you.

    I’m glad that you opposed AV. At least that is one thing we can agree on. And even if you can accept the result, plenty of deluded souls seemingly cannot. This is, of course, hilarious. Rather than accept the blindingly obvious (i.e. that it’s a rubbish system that people were very quick to reject, comprehensively), these morons blame the media. They should dry their eyes and get on with it.

    The papers tend to decry murder and paedophilia. Newsflash: people tend to deplore those things because they’re evil, not simply because the papers tell them so. Why is it that so many “progressives” struggle with the concept of independent thought?

  46. Anonymous

    Ah yes, opening with an insult, typical.
    Why do you make things up to suit your need? Try reading what I said. Wait, that takes sense.

    Again, that the system for referendums is broken and it brings into grave question the integrity of general elections isn’t something you can handwave away, it goes to the heart of our democracy.

    And you throw in a random comment and an insult. Trying to hide the fact that you, personally, are evil.

  47. Budget 2012: The myth that lower taxes for the rich generates more tax revenue | Left Foot Forward

    […] Budget 2012: It may do nothing for growth, but the fat cats will purr more loudly 21 Mar […]

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