The Bickerstaffe Record

Being Labour, The world beyond West Lancashire

The fiscal stimulus debate: make clear who’ll pay it back, Gordon

03.31.09 | Comment?

Like Hopi, I’d like to see a fiscal stimulus package agreed at the G20 summit this week. 

Like Hopi, I’m pessimistic about the chances of getting one now that Sarkozy in particular has decided to go all hard man on us, even though immediate action is what the French people clearly want to see.

Sadly, as I’ve set out here (with a bit of help from Paul Krugman), it looks likely that we’re going to lose the significant added value that comes from a Europe-wide stimulus. Even so, Britain should push on.

Hopi’s quite right when he says that we need to link any push for a stimulus to the current needs of people – both in the developed and underdeveloped worlds – who are now suffering from the effects of a recession they didn’t create (Their Crisis, Not Ours).

Further, that needs to be linked to a commitment from Brown et al. to ensuring that, as the stimulus pulls us out of recession, the additional borrowing should be paid for through a radical redistribution of taxation (both personal and corporate); this shoud make sure, as far as possible with the relatively blunt instrument of taxation, that those who got us into this mess are the ones who pay to clean it up.

That link between what we borrow and who pays it back should also be the way those protesting at the summit should sharpen up the focus of their current set of demands-as-afterthought (see Don Paskini on this). 

Brown et al. need to get on with this redistribution, not as some nice aspiration for the future, but as a necessary corollary to the borrowing and stimulus that is now needed to protect the poor. 

Brown et al. should be unapologetic about that, and they should call the bluff of the neoliberal/multi-national/capitalist class conspiracy, exposing the myth that low tax burdens on them are essential for us all. 

As I’ve set out here, the capitalists are talking bollox, and a Labour Prime Minister should tell them so.

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