Vaughan Jones from Dorset writes that he finds the prioritisation of cuts in welfare over the obvious alternative irrational and lacking objectivity:
“As welfare is already tightly controlled, the scope for savings without inflicting harm is severely curtailed. Particular mention is made of the £26,000 annual benefit cap, a sum that most of your readers would struggle to survive on and which any self-respecting banker would consider a derisory bonus. Most of the £26,000 is invariably housing benefit, which goes into the pockets of landlords. It is the nature of welfare benefits that they go straight into the economy.
“Tax avoidance money does not – to anywhere near the same extent. It is well documented that HM Revenue & Customs is a soft touch for multinationals and the über wealthy, while at the same time being heavy handed with small and medium-sized enterprises and ordinary individuals. Tax avoidance by corporations and wealthy individuals is costing the country tens of billions, arguably much more than the £35bn often quoted. At the same time there was reportedly a £38bn taxpayer-funded subsidy last year to Britain’s biggest banks (New Economics Foundation).
“Quantitative easing has boosted asset prices and effectively transferred wealth to the already better off at the expense of the rest of society. Low interest rates have robbed savers but benefited bankers. Farm payments go to millionaire farmers and are not capped like welfare benefits”.
Arun Motianey, Bombay, Princeton, Cambridge educated mathematician and economist, also looks at the elites – a global class – the super-rich in New York having more in common with their counterparts in São Paulo or Mumbai than ever before:
“They work together and they play together. They are the industrialist and investor class with vast reserves of mobile capital. They feed from the same trough, gorging on an outsized portion of the economic surplus.
“Workers in both the developed and emerging world get the leftovers, though the easy availability of credit in the some of the poorer countries has temporarily fostered the illusion among the latter that they are better off. We’ll see how long that lasts.
“But herein lies the opportunity for populists. Unlike the mid and late-19th century, there is no Disraeli or Mazzini around to deftly harness capitalism to nationalism or a Bismarck to buy off the working classes with social benefits. If anything, the opposite is happening. This means the forces of reaction within western societies are greatly weakened. An international working class movement is now ready to be born, if only a leader will be found. And if I am right, this has the potential to strangle the new global capitalism and perhaps a more equitable order will come out of it.”