The Rich Get All The Gravy, And That's Why We March

The maths of austerity are simply pushing wealth to the top of the tree, economic consultant Michael Burke finds. 

One of the biggest and most damaging myths about the current crisis is that “there’s no money left.” 

But the experience of all of those who have been hit by austerity disproves that big lie.

When your food bill has gone up, or you are paying more for gas and electricity, or your rent has been increased, or your fares have been increased, that means that you have a lot less money. 

But at the same time it means that the big food companies, the privatised utility companies, your landlord or the private rail and bus companies all have more money. 

There isn’t less money around, it’s just changed hands.

This is one key aspect of austerity, which takes away incomes from ordinary people to hand to major corporations, bankers and the rich. 

There have been winners as well as losers from austerity. It’s just the overwhelming majority of us who are losing out.

The government claims that austerity is necessary to get the deficit down. 

But the progress in cutting the deficit has been painfully slow because while they raised VAT, which hits ordinary people most, they have also cut the top rate of income tax for the highest paid. 

And the level of corporation tax on profits has been slashed from 28p in the pound to 20p.

These policies mean that the real aim of government policy is not to reduce the deficit but to raise the incomes of big business, the banks and the rich. 

And because growth has been so weak, there is only one way to do that. 

Workers and the poor are being made to pay for a crisis they didn’t cause.

And we are paying twice over. First, living standards are falling as wages aren’t keeping up with prices. 

Secondly government services like schools and the NHS are also being slashed to pay for tax cuts for the rich. 

This is a recovery only for the one per cent.

The whole of the austerity programme could be reversed simply by taking money back from big business and the rich to invest in decent well-paid jobs and the services we need.

That’s why the biggest possible demo on June 21 is needed, drawing in all those being made to pay for a crisis they didn’t cause. 

It will send a clear message that we don’t want or need austerity from this government or any future government. There is an alternative.  

Michael Burke is an economic consultant who regularly writes for the Socialist Economic Bulletin.

National demonstration and free festival

Saturday 21 June
Assemble 1pm, BBC HQ, Portland Place (Tube: Oxford Circus)
March to Parliament

See full details


Article for the People's Assembly Against Austerity, also published in the Morning Star

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