Saturday, April 18, 2015
Bye Bye Labour Richard Seymour
''..Wolfgang Streeck and Armin Schäfer argue in Politics in the Age of Austerity (2013) that one result of cost controls is to emaciate the budget for discretionary programmes, as more of the budget is consumed by debt repayments and other mandatory expenditures. Given the success of the rich in lobbying against tax increases, and in avoiding paying tax in the first place, it is increasingly difficult to raise the revenues needed for existing services. Taxes on consumption – which hit the poor hardest – have been implemented, but there is limited political tolerance for these. States are increasingly left with very little room to manoeuvre, while the growing domination of government discourse by neoliberal doctrine tends to suppress policy choices which are not ‘market-friendly’. In this situation, mild market interventions such as temporary energy price freezes might be possible, but nationalising energy companies will not be seriously considered. This narrowing of democratic choice renders Westminster politics increasingly irrelevant to the lives of citizens, except in so far as it panders to spite: the punishment of the obese, the disabled, Scots, single mothers, immigrants and so on..''