Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm confused

For many years, it has been obvious to anyone awake that we are wrecking the environment world-wide and that the days of energy profligacy would have to end soon.
I remember a few year ago advising a senior employee of one of the motor giants now rattling their begging bowls that he was in a dying industry and should change career while he had time. He didn't. And he was working in their finance arm!
And it isn't just the car industry that is in trouble. Every day there is news of more companies making employees redundant, just in time for Christmas.
Banks are tumbling all around. No sympathy. Senior bankers have used their power over real people to line their own pockets to an obscene extent, not infrequently in a fraudulent way. And they produce nothing, generate no wealth. Their personal millions come from taking a cut every time money moves. Sharks.
Our previous Prime Minister had a message from his god that he should sign up to the American invasion of Iraq. And where was the money going to come from? As my grandmother used to say, "God knows, and He won't tell."
So, all in all, money is pouring away from the country in all directions, but apparently there will be enough left over to build two aircraft carriers and a new "nuclear deterrent" fleet. Do you hear that, bin Laden? Doesn't it terrify you?
Clearly we must cut down our spending somehow. When I have to do this in my personal financial planning, I look first for the big things I can chop out, like an aircraft carrier or a nuclear submarine, or cutting out some entertainment like a crusade.
And here comes my confusion. The big boys running the country must know much better than I do how to prune a budget, but they have gone in for displacement activity instead by once again attacking people claiming benefits. All of them. Must be right, because investment banker David Freud says so, after spending all of three weeks demolishing the work of Beveridge and Bevan. As Matthew Norman wrote in the Independent, "It takes a rich man to pour such scorn on the poor".
So, we can borrow billions (or is it trillions? I've lost count!) of pounds to kill our fellow humans in Iraq or to bail out bankers, but we cannot afford to look after the people at the bottom of the income scales here at home. And experience tells us that the effort to squeeze money out of those who haven't got any will cost more that it saves.
But David Freud himself knows what losing a job can do to employees, admittedly at the expensive end of the pay scale, as this article in the Observer shows.
Yes, I'm confused.