Giving It All Away 169


Just a couple of quick thoughts. Firstly, the bailout funds for Greece are not going to put a single penny in the pocket of the Greek people. They are yet further transfers of taxpayers’ money from working people to rich bankers, who again are becoming rich on the basis of obviously impractical investments they made, this time in outlandish Greek government debt.

The EU now makes an evidently sensible proposal for a transaction tax on inter bank dealings – which would raise back from the bankers some tiny proportion of the money we have given them, and discourage a tiny bit multiple gambling transactions. What is truly scarey is the fact that the wealthy, who are taking our money, have the media so tied up in the UK, that the broadcast media condemned this as comprehensively and without question as a party line was reflected under Stalin. I watched many hours of news from mainstream channel to channel, and every person the BBC or Sky interviewed gave a ludicrously apocalyptic warning of the effect of this small measure. Not one supporter was brought on – even though it is a very highly supported measure among economists.

I have said it before, but democracy in the UK is now a complete charade. Our money is sucked away to the elite, and there is no media freedom to reach a mass audience with any view counter to the governing elite, even one supported by nearly every other government in Europe.


169 thoughts on “Giving It All Away

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  • Clark

    Oh yeah, bring back the rent officers and offer more social housing at lower rents to keep the price of accommodation down. And set up nationalised industries to undercut private companies that price-fix; we could start with printer cartridges and energy companies. And regulate finance, and like you said above, stop bailing out greedy investment banks. There really should be enough to go around.

  • Parky

    I am at a loss to understand how the Greek government got themselves into all this debt. Were they forced to take the money or did they ask for it in order to make themselves look good and perpetuate the idea of a booming economy in the same way Gordon Brown did in the UK. It is common knowledge that the rules were bent somewhat to allow Greece in, goodness knows what they were promised. It would seem unlikely there are no senior people in Greece’s Finance Ministery that couldn’t see this coming many years ago. I can only conclude this mess has been engineeered right from the start and more than likely so has the end of the Euro, which has always seemed rather a fake monopoly game currency not destined for longevity.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Mark,

    There is good reason for the donation. One has to protect one’s loot once the heist is completed, for the people are waking up and challenging. Not a bad bargain – the “banksters” steal, or are given the loot by politicians – then allocate a portion of it to stave off the people protesting the allocation of the monies to the doner/”banksters”:-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2uqm8QNDs0

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Like we “shit people” in the Third World, now persons in the continental US are beginning to understand that they live within a fundamentally exploitative system that:-

    1. Uses its world reserve currency status to build up huge deficits that fund global wars ( Libya being the most recent – Syria and Iran to come).
    2. De-regulated and rewarded Wall Street ” banksters” for having relied on their greed to bring an entire economy to the brink of collapse.
    3. Rewards the same crooks who fell into bankruptcy, but are able to use Washington political control to get paid back huge sums in the trillions – being the very money of the pensioners, mortgage payments, savings that their bad investments lost ( but the providers of the funds are not reimbursed and those who want to go to work are left jobless, while the “banksters” with the politicians sanction are rewarded). Now, with their backs to the wall, the American people are beginning to understand.

    Now – the chickens have come home to roost – for that the same pressures that the majority populaces of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and other areas of the global South have experienced en extensio are now, full circle, back home – to core points of origin – in Europe – in America – and thank goodness that the people there are protesting en masse. It is the European and American populaces that have to change the corrupt and exploitative global system into something globally viable. Either that or the ruling bastards bomb Libya, Syria, and wherever next they want to go to before the final showdown with China and Russia, and if the financers logic is permitted to get to that point – then bombs and bullets bring humanity to World War 111 – and we are all fucked. Those kind of people love profits at any cost – not people.
    http://rt.com/news/us-wall-street-protests-873/

    I place a wager about the seriousness of the crisis over the next 12 months. I will wager good money that it will worsen. The Rulers do not have any constructive answers – they worship at, and are subservient to finance capital.

  • Canspeccy

    “The rich could be taxed a bit more, and corporations could be made to pay their proper share. Oh yes, devalue the GB Pound”
    *
    Clark, you cannot devalue the pound, its value is determined by the currency market. At least, directly, you cannot devalue it. Of course you can print money, induce more inflation and thus cause the pound to sink, but inflation is a fundamentally dishonest tax on savings and a mechanism for lowering wages.
    *
    Let’s at least try for honest money and look for solutions to poverty elsewhere.
    *
    Taxing corporations anything is counterproductive. You already have a massive problem of capital outflow (to China, etc.). This is call free trade, but it’s actually not even trade. It’s just shipping your economy abroad, the jobs with it. Its the reverse of development. Raising corporate taxes only spurs the outflow, while discouraging inflow.
    *
    Taxing the rich looks dodgy. They’re already taxed rather highly compared with the rest of the world. People begin to think about leaving the country, with their capital, and taking the business or professional skills with them.
    *
    Mary, I was responding the Clark about poverty in Britain. I guess we have poverty in Canada, but we’re more of a “can do” country. People seem to cope better without having to riot a lot, and howl about “sharing the wealth.” I think this shows a healthy attitude. People need to earn a living not become unproductive appendages of the wealthy.
    *
    My own view is that we have to accept wage convergence with the low-wage countries. As this happens the cost of living will fall with wages (and hopefully wages in the low-wage economies will rise). To maintain employment in Western nations during the process of convergence, and to maintain workforce skills, and business investment, I have repeatedly proposed a negative income tax and an end to the minimum wage. But no one pays the slightest attention!

  • John Goss

    Courtenay. It’s interesting that Russian TV is covering the Wall Street protests, but from what I hear and see there is little in the Western media.

  • Clark

    Canspeccy, I hate economics. It gives me a feeling like one of those game show games where they have to grope around in manure to find “treasure”, but here goes…
    .
    Devaluing a currency is usually attempted by lowering base interest rates, isn’t it? It looks like the Bank of England has been trying to devalue the pound since about Oct/Nov 2008:
    .
    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/mfsd/iadb/Repo.asp
    .
    Probably it isn’t working as the other major currencies are also attempting crash-dives. They should have started years sooner. It is interesting that it’s always the same newspapers encouraging a strong currency that also incite hatred of the immigrants thereby attracted to the UK.
    .
    Regarding “capital outflow (to China, etc.)”, presumably the direction of employment flow depends on the total operating cost to businesses, something like wages + tax + costs of compliance with employment regulations, etc.; do you know the corporation tax situation in China?
    .
    As far selling is concerned, businesses can’t dodge taxes without losing that portion of their market, so it would be safe, for instance, to ensure that Vodafone paid their dues.
    .
    Negative income tax is a great idea, rather similar to an idea I’ve held for decades that the tax and benefit systems should be integrated and implemented as a mathematical formula rather than a set of discrete bands. If it lowered the cost of labour enough to attract employment, tax on companies could be increased (see above).
    .
    But all this is moot because the politicians will never do it, because many are corrupt and many are idiots. That’s why I confined myself to conservative tinkering in my earlier comment; all my suggestions could be tried without the mainstream media creating an uproar that the few decent politicians couldn’t withstand.
    .
    Corporate media is a major problem. As Craig puts it above, “there is no media freedom to reach a mass audience with any view counter to the governing elite”.

  • mary

    John I haven’t seem much footage. It has been reported sparsely in the corporate media and on the BBC website here.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15143509 Those arrested have been released.
    .
    Pham Dinh writes on Dissident Voice {http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/10/a-tale-of-two-rallies-2/}
    .
    Linh Dinh is another brilliant journalist. His photos are excellent. They illustrate broken Amerika very well.
    {http://linhdinhphotos.blogspot.com/} Scroll down

  • mary

    Shares fall as Greece says it will miss deficit targets
    Market Data Last Updated at 12:26

    Market index Current value Trend Variation % variation
    FTSE 100 5044.56 Down -83.92 -1.64%
    Dax 5365.09 Down -136.93 -2.49%
    Cac 40 2917.07 Down -64.89 -2.18%
    Dow Jones 10913.38 Down -240.60 -2.16%
    Nasdaq 2415.40 Down -65.36 -2.63%
    BBC Global 30 5243.37 Down -22.69 -0.43%
    .
    European stock markets have fallen sharply on news that Greece is likely to miss targets to cut its deficit.
    .
    Athens announced that the 2011 deficit is projected to be 8.5% of GDP, down from 10.5% in 2010 but short of the 7.6% target set by the EU and IMF.
    .
    The government, which on Sunday adopted its 2012 draft austerity budget, blamed the shortfall on deepening recession.
    .
    Share indexes in London, Frankfurt and London opened between 2.5% and 3.5% lower. Asian stocks also fell.
    /…
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15145292
    .
    Down and down we go, round and round we go…… Each time the markets fall and rise, the dealers are taking their cut of course.

  • mary

    Gideon’s latest little wheeze is ‘credit easing’ in place of quantitative easing. Credit easing is apparently the Treasury injecting credit directly into companies by the issue of corporate bonds. I assume that your face has to fit to qualify. ie more quids for the boys and more funny money into the system.
    .
    Pesto, the shill for the banks and the big boys, approves apparently.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15148638

  • mark_golding

    “There are around 13 million people in Britain living in poverty” – Mary
    .
    The Welfare Reform Bill Committee reading is tomorrow – I think in a committee back-room (to restrict the number of witnesses) instead of the main chamber – unless public pressure has changed that under-handed trick. Tabling the motion for the afternoon following PMQ’s is also an underhand trick as it means it will be harder for people to object through the main stream media.
    .
    Meanwhile lets remind ourselves of agent Cameron’s words before the general elections:
    .
    “with compassion, with reasonableness, recognising we’re all in this together.”

    “The test of a good society is how do you protect the poorest, the most vulnerable, the elderly, the frail.”

    “That’s important in good times, it’s even more important in difficult times. People need to know that if they have me as their prime minister and they have a Conservative government, it will be that sort of prime minister.”

    “That is who I am. That is what this party will do. We will look after those whose needs are greatest.”
    .
    Yeh right!

  • mary

    Not so I am afraid Mark. The troughers last met in the HoC on 18 September and return from the recess (ie another holiday) on 10 October. Party conferences must be held for the old boys and girls to get the propaganda out via live coverage on BBC News and Sky.

  • John Goss

    Thanks for that link Mary on the Wall Street protest. The embedded video commentary is revealing about police tactics. It appears as if the police led demonstrators onto the bridge to make arrest easier. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if peaceful protest could overthrow the nastiest government in the world?

  • Azra

    John Gross.. Dream on (as we all do and hope!). I have stopped watching news, and read the websites and blogs a lot less.. I started to have panic and anxiety attacks, the situation in the world today stresses me out so much. Only if I knew, I would not have any parts in bringing children to this world.. what a nasty, greedy, Unscrupulous people rule the planet..I just heard Osborne plans to start charging for Employment Tribunals £ 250 per claim and £ 1000 per hearing, I wonder which contributor to Tories ordered them to do so.

  • Canspeccy

    “But all this is moot because the politicians will never do it, because many are corrupt and many are idiots.”
    *
    Not to mention those who are both corrupt and idiotic.
    *
    Devaluation by lowering interest rates is not much of an option when base rate is currently 0.5%.
    *
    As for taxing Vodafone et al., everyone likes the idea, but it’s daft because corporations invest with an eye to after-tax profit. So if a tax is imposed on corporate profits a corporation has the following choice: invest elsewhere, or raise the price to the consumer to cover the cost of the tax. In a globalized world, taxes on national corporations drive investment offshore, the exact opposite of what is wanted.
    *
    The only people who pay taxes are people, so it is best to tax people directly. But right now, the problem is that people are reducing debt and cutting expenditure. Raising taxes will only urge them on.
    *
    What’s needed are lower taxes, matched by cuts in government spending.
    *
    Government spending is virtually all waste — believe me, I worked for three different governments, the problem is systemic.

  • John Goss

    Courtenay asks if we’re already there as Fascist governments. It’s hard to measure because the goalposts have moved, and the game has changed, since the thirties. The parallels are unquestionably there. Clare Short resigned in the end because of the ‘dictates’ of Tony Blair, and it has emerged since he became peace envoy to the Middle East, that he is answerable to nobody but Tony Blair (which will hopefully be his downfall). It occurs to me that certain words begin with Sodium (that is Na) a ‘highly reactive’ metallic element. One of them is Nazi, another NATO, another nasty. It has been argued that Germany built up its economy with the huge weapons’ arsenals via the Krupps’ factories and in the end there was nothing left to do but use them. It’s a simplistic view but this appears to be what has happened with NATO weapons too. Are we there yet as Fascists? We’re getting there, but while we are still allowed to make adverse comments about our “Fascist” governments on blogs and social networking sites there is a glimmer of hope. When we can’t it will be clear to me that we are indeed Fascist states. (I use the plural because in the deployment of weapons by Western countries today decisions appear no longer to be executed unilaterally).

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Simon – good to see you posting.

    You wrote “France last had a balanced budget in 1974, and Greece ! An opt-in tax system, or a train network whose receipts are a tenth of its costs, or a stay-as-long-as-you-like,-deal-dope-and-riot university system are unsustainable in this world or any other. Whatever we think of bond markets and credit rating agencies, who else was going to call time on these arrangements ? Every body else had there chance.”

    The budget doesn’t need to be balanced so long as enough of the money the government spends goes on things that will create economic growth and so increased tax revenues in the long run (that can even include education and healthcare for a better workforce), but i agree Greece made it far to easy to avoid taxes.

    You wrote “Blaming the banks, bond markets or rating agencies for the crisis in Europe is every bit as barmy as blaming “the government” for the crisis in the states. In both cases, it comes naturally, however”

    I’d disagree, since the height of the boom and the depth of the recession is mostly the result of deregulation. The banks lobbied governments and funded political parties to deregulate the financial sector (and most other sectors) and governments obliged.

    Without deregulation you would still get booms and recessions, but the boom wouldn’t be so overblown and the resulting recession wouldn’t be nearly so bad or so long – and not nearly as much fraud would have happened during the boom.

  • Roderick Russell

    @ Canspeccy re your quote “What’s needed is laws to prevent bankers controlling politicians with two-million-pound-a-year pay-offs on leaving office” Are you not being a little naive – surely they don’t have to wait until the politician has left office before making the pay-out? Confidential numbered accounts in tax (i.e. legal) havens mean that the politician can be paid off confidentially while still in office on a sort of a fee for service basis. After all our politicians could close down the worlds tax/legal havens if they wanted to in 5 minutes – so why don’t they???

  • Ruth

    Roderick,
    They don’t close them down because they’re subservient to the Establishment/permanent government, which needs somewhere to conceal their illegal pickings from excise and VAT frauds etc until the funds can be recycled.

  • Clark

    Canspeccy, you wrote “Devaluation by lowering interest rates is not much of an option when base rate is currently 0.5%”. I do wish you weren’t so keen to miss people’s points, mine and others’. My point about Oct/Nov 2008 was that the bank already has lowered the rate, but only after it became too late.
    .
    Re: your 4th paragraph; corporations have another choice – accept lower profits. They will do this if there is some profit to be made in a country, so long as a situation of competition prevails. But I suspect that many corporations are more in collusion than in competition these days. Why would any of them undercut, when doing so would derail their gravy train? Considering, say, cellphones, it’s not like some company can start up and undercut the big corps, not with the costs of infrastructure and what the government charge for radio spectrum bandwidth licences.
    .
    Hence my suggestion about nationalisation. Not comprehensive nationalisation across whole industries like the UK used to have, but government owned competitors with completely public accounts introduced to these markets that are competitive only in theory. However, this is currently illegal under EU law.
    .
    You say that wasteful government spending is systemic. OK, (1) describe the system, (2) suggest solutions. More democracy needed, as Evgueni has so often said! Government should be a good thing, regulating the markets and providing public services that are unprofitable by nature.

  • Canspeccy

    “surely they don’t have to wait until the politician has left office before making the pay-out?”
    *
    Rod, That’s true. My point was that rewarding politicians for services rendered is perfectly legal, provided the payoff comes after the politician has left office.

    This has been standard procedure for several hundred years, as discussed by Lord Macaulay, in his mid-19th century “History of England” and by Carroll Quigley in his mid-20th century history of the world “Tragedy and Hope,” and by many others.

    But, yes, some of them no doubt accept girls and gold while in still in office.

  • Canspeccy

    “corporations have another choice – accept lower profits”
    *
    No. Never.
    *
    Corporations never accept lower profits — as a matter of choice.
    *
    They have a legal obligation to the shareholders not to do so. They have to maximize profit, which they will do by, among other things, investing wherever the return is greatest, i.e., by exporting their capital (so far as is practical) from Britain or wherever taxes are raised, to countries such as Canada, where corporation taxes are lowered.
    *
    In reality, what happens is you will get less new investment in Britain by raising taxes. In the case of phone companies, this will probably mean not abandonment of the market but just poorer service for your money, than you might otherwise have received.
    *
    So bring it on. Raise taxes as high as you like. We’ll welcome the fallout. LOL

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