Austerity, in all its British Glory


The British elections brought an unexpected
landslide of power to David Cameron’s conservative government. Now Cameron only
has to figure and jigger a way to deliver on his promise to balance the British
national budget by removing £12 billion pounds ($18 billion US) annually from welfare.
 

We Americans might well
pay special attention to just how he does
that
and its affects upon the British
social system
because this election may presage our own in November of 2016.
Even as the polls closed, Brit pundits insisted this election was too close to call and Cameron would most
certainly have to rule by coalition. 

We Americans are not big on coalitions,
preferring (in our two-party system) to call it bipartisanship. But would it be
a great surprise to see Republicans sweep the presidency and both houses of congress
in 2016?

Possibly. It was a surprise in London as well
and now promises must be delivered.
The fact is that the Republican Party has made similar commitments and our
annual welfare costs are fifty-three times that of Britain, at $956 billion. 
So
I have some helpful hints for a potential Republican victor:
First, trickle-up is a possibility, but American business
far prefers trickle-down and so it has never been tried. Trickle-up would
involve a national minimum wage of about $30,000 per year and Nobel
Prizewinning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman suggest it would both balance the budget and maintain the stock market on its upward
trajectory. 
But we Americans are
trickle-downers at heart and have an inborn hatred of the poor—useless and lazy
bastards that we conceive them to be. So, that solution is unlikely, even
though we have fashioned ourselves as a consumer-driven society that is
increasingly short of consumers.
The second choice is
to rally the poor. Call them out from their dilapidated housing and subsistence
jobs to the national need. Let the flags wave and the bands play. Call up the
Republican budget-makers to speak in glowing terms of what America might be with them in the saddle.
After all, in the
words of FDR they have nothing to fear
but fear itself
. $956 billion is doable.
If they care for their nation, they’ll dig deep into their frayed and mostly
empty pockets for loose change. Together
(but for those of us who have good jobs) we
can do it
.
$956 billion is only
a tad over $2.6 billion a day and
there are 110 million American welfare-cheats, sucking up dollars like pigs at
the trough. The statistics are solid. $2.36 a goddam day. C’mon you deadbeats, certainly you can kick in two and a half bucks
each and every day for your nation. Rattle the tin can you live by a bit. Kennedy
said it: “Ask not what your country can
do for you, ask what
you can do for
your country
.”
This whole austerity deal has been overblown.
Statistics don’t lie. If you torture them sufficiently, statistics will confess to anything.
I feel better already, having put this whole
bit of nonsense to bed for once and for all. Having rallied all you useless
poor, old and disadvantaged to the cause of your country, waved the flag, played
triumphal music and speechified you, feel free to wander back to
whatever the hell hovel you crawled out of. Welfare is imprisonment. Poverty is
the freedom of the market.
Case closed. Austerity, finally proven by democratic
process. Thank you all and special thanks to our mentor, David Cameron.

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