Exactly as predicted, the broadcast media this morning are hailing Cameron’s patriotism in opposing a financial transaction tax and “Protecting the City of London”, as though this were the Blitz.
Both the BBC and Sky News have featured economists “explaining” what a bad thing a financial transaction tax would be for the City of London. Both were employed by institutions which would have to pay the tax – a fact which was not pointed out.
Despite the fact that a large majority of academic economists, the European Commission, 23 European governmnets, the Obama administration, and Vince Cable before he got his ministerial chauffeur, all believe that a transaction tax is an essential step towards preventing the banking speculation that caused this whole mess, the media are not presenting anyone who believes in the transaction tax.
No, the media narrative is simple. It’s fighting off the Johnny foreigner, Batting for Britain.
What a load of crap.
End of update: here is yesterday’s piece:
The xenophobic yaah-booing of the Tories over the demand for Cameron to show the “Bulldog spirit” is Europe is quite sickening. It is astonishing that the broadcast media have universally bought in to the spin that Cameron is “Defending Britain” by opposing the banking transaction tax, that all other major European powers want.
Cameron is not defending Britain. He is defending his banking paymasters. A transaction tax is essential to discourage multiple speculative transactions and other banking practices which have shown they can wreck entire national economies. Cameron’s opposition to the transaction tax should be vilified as reckless and a blatant pursuit of class interest, not universally lauded as “patriotic”.
Our schadenfreude at Germany’s difficulties is misplaced. Germany remains a much better economy than the UK. They manufacture a great deal more and thus have a much better balanced economy. Despite having swallowed East Germany, German GDP per capita is once again higher than that of the UK, by about 3%.
Crucially, as shown in the recent OECD report, income in Germany is much more fairly distributed than in the UK. The UK in fact is twice as unequal. In the UK the top ten per cent of the population have an average income that is twelve times that of the bottom ten per cent. The same figure for Germany is six times. What is more, inequality in Germany has been falling for the last six years, whereas in the UK it is accelerating.
Yet the German economy has outgrown the UK economy in the same period. That is impossible, according to every TV pundit I have seen in the last month. “It is massive reward for thrusting executives that encourages them to put the dynamic effort in, that leads to economic growth and drags the low paid mere mortals along behind them. If the gap between rich and poor is not colossal and widening, the economy cannot perform as well. Otherwise these vital high earners will desert us and move to Singapore.”
The mantra that economic growth must entail a widening wealth gap is scarcely challenged in the mainstream media narrative. But it is plainly untrue. In Germany in 1990 the top 1% of income “earners” received a staggering 11.1% of total national incomes. By 2007 that figure was – still 11.1%. By contrast in the UK in 1990 the top 1% took 9.9% of national income. By 2007 that figure had shot up to 14.2%. And all the indications are that in the last four years it has accelerated still faster, almost certainly now over 16%.
So if those braying conservatives are right about what makes economies grow, our economy should be streaking ahead of Germany. But it isn’t, quite the opposite. Meanwhile the “right wing” Merkel has overseen a greater drop in inequality than Britain has seen in two generations.
A period of humility from Britain is called for. Those braying Tory MPs are fools.