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The TUC Anti-Cuts Demo: Tragedy or turning point?


The TUC Anti-Cuts Demo: Tragedy or turning point?

A WORLDbytes crew followed the TUC March for the Alternative demonstration in London from Temple tube to Hyde Park. The turnout exceeded all expectations yet alternatives to government cuts were hard to find as cutting ‘someone else’s’ income seemed to be the main message. Growth scepticism it seems is rampant.

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Vanessa said:

I personally believe that we live in a world of limited resources and therefore infinite growth is not realistic. Nevertheless is economic growth still possible, if you think about green energy and other problems which have to be solved and coincidentally are an opportunity for new branches of economy. In view of the government’s plan to cut the budget for public spending is to say, that these proposed solutions are for sure the wrong way. If people have to spend more money for things like health and education because of the cuts, they will spend less on other goods, and that will reflect on the economy. The purpose of the many interviewed people, to cut on other areas like taking more taxes from the rich is understandable. Wealth redistribution is necessary to let the distance between rich and poor not getting too large. Of course should achievement and success not be punished, but wealth is not always and only a consequence of capacity but very often also nothing else as fortune and accident. On the other hand is poverty not self-imposed, and society should be a solidary group. Moreover is a low distance between rich and poor necessary for a stabile society. That is why, following the idea of the Pareto improvement a good solution could be to try to reinforce the economy and route most of the surplus profit into public spending. This way the levels of income could be equalised, without making any other individual worse off.

Tauras said:

The problem persists. We are living on expectations that things getting better and better. The fact, that prosperity is not a constant size. We do not want accept that recession is absolute natural as a growth can be. If business income decreases it loses abilities to pay taxes at the same rates. The Government has very complicated issue to deal with that. Some of people believe that proper redistribution can help instead of cuts. Very complicated – benefit at the expense of other. Is it solution? I am not sure. This can be named not as “cuts” as rebalancing of budgets. Sounds good but reality is different. Inflation, economy stimulation affects all growth, but unbalanced growth can cause recession. Of course when we are talking about education and healthcare and other sensitive sector it is much complicated. There is very difficult to follow principle here: “Spend less than you afford” especially when we are talking about public. It can help to save resources, but it does not help for economy. In other way sometimes it is logical to increase taxes for growing businesses or those who’re earn more, but personally I can agree just partly with this position. Those, who are earning more, they also paying more absolute taxes. Try to imagine, that you running something own and you are successful, it means that your tax rate is higher than average. Embarrassing? But some “ferraries” and other “golden loo’s”  can be charged more. Solution seeking should avoid fighting “amongst classes” it smells as a mature socialism, where all are equal, but some of them are more equal than others. (an idiom from these times).Not many people are competent to realize how to act in financially strict times. And there is always easy to criticize solutions after their happening and easy to say – no cuts.

George F said:

Great video, great comments. What I found shocking is that in an anti-cut rally so many were for cuts. In fact in a lot of interviews people said you can’t eradicate poverty. Really, since when? Why not? I think we can and we urgently need to believe this is perfectly possible.

Geet said:

Hi Martin B, after the free market policies of the World Bank and IMF that was so detrimental to the Third World countries, and I agree they absolutely were, came the pro poor strategies requiring these countries to grow less and to focus on small scale projects etc. This has also been devastating and left so many people poor as no major investment in industry left public services with no resources.

I was surprised that so many people assumed there had to be cuts in this video, even the guy at the beginning who wanted growth seemed to say cuts are good. I want to grow the cake bigger, I don’t agree with cutting anything because we have run out of money but instead because they are bad ideas. I want more, for one and all, and i want it spent on creating a world class services for all, not the mediocre services we offer now by the way, I want better please.
I do think banks who fail should be left to fail, close down, not helped,but if we put up with the idea that this is all we can expect both in terms of the public services we have now and the money available to us then we will lose out. The Robin Hood tax doesn’t help us in this either. Are you saying that you think people shouldn’t be rich?

Lluisa V said:

In a crisis period sooner or later appear words as public spending cuts or increasing taxes. They are some of the measures which the governments use to get more incomes to address the deficit, activate economy and be all wealthier.
Maybe they are necessary, but governments have to use these measures so that the impact on poor and working class is as less as possible. Sometimes it seems they don’t work in that direction and they represent rich people.

Martin B said:

Sorry, but massively disagree with this! The assumption runs right through the video that the only way to grow the cake/economy is to stop redistribution of wealth, whereas this is a highly contentious issue. There are numerous examples of countries who have grown their economies under policies of public investment, including our own! After WW2 Keynesian policies of investment in public services were used, which helped us pay off the loans to the newly created World Bank and IMF quickly and efficiently – we founded the NHS when we were in a similar position of debt to today. In contrast, we’ve seen Third World debt spiral as a result of the IMF’s change in direction, asking for free market policies to be implemented as a condition of IMF loans. Not only has debt spiralled, but so have unemployment and dollar per day poverty levels. The “trickle down effect” is negligable. In this case, the vision of growth which you present in this video of “the economy growing = all of us being more prosporous” is false.

Of course it is right for people to want prosperity for themselves and their families, but if this self-interest pushes them into conflict with the right of others to basic levels of welfare – for instance, investment bankers gambling of derivatives, etc. making millions and then poorer people being expected to bail them out, then this is unacceptable. The tax on the bankers/cutting their bonuses is not intended as a “stealing from the rich for the hell of it” system, but to pay back what they owe society rather than reward their risky behaviour and allow them to carry on much as they were. Also, there has been much research into how bankers bonuses don’t actually improve their performance – indeed, the studies concluded that being distracted by the bonuses actually made their performance WORSE. In the name of making the bankers perform better, I demand their bonuses be taken away!

The Robin Hood tax is also justified because investment banking is a parasitic force on society – essentially a massive gambling house. As soon as it is separated from high street banks the better. The people gain their wealth by betting on capital – they should be forced to pay a sizable amount of that back to society. Here is an example of how investment bankers parasitically bet on food prices, thus driving them up and increasing their volatility:

These measures (and cracking down on tax avoidance – which unless you want to question the validity of the rich paying how much tax they are already meant to now, you should agree with), would mean NO CUTS ARE NECESSARY.

Andy H said:

The limited nature of the debate today amounts to an agreement that there will be cuts so the question becomes where. What needs addressing is the question of economic growth. Why is a country borrowing money seen as such a bad thing anyway?

P Mantir said:

I saw myself in the crowd on the demo here and although I hadn’t really thought about how pro cuts the demo was-it didn’t seem like that on the day- its true so what is the alternative then-if no cuts then what?