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Public Investment Is The Way Forward For The UK

The UK has ended an experiment in “conservative” governance. Backed by private investors, the government withdrew support for public services, public investment, public everything. They pretended “private” investment would pick up the slack. Instead and of course the wealthy staged a “bust-out” of the country. “A fraud tactic, commonly used in the organized crime world, wherein a business’ assets and lines of credit are exploited and exhausted to the point of insolvency.”

The privatized water companies are a good example of how the country was managed under conservative governance. Public assets were turned over the private “investors.” The “investors” borrowed heavily with those assets and their income stream as collateral. They paid themselves handsomely with minimal investment in maintenance and capacity. Eventually there was insufficient water supply to support increasing housing stock and raw sewage was being dumped into the country’s rivers. Of course there was no government enforcement of rules that would have prevented this – or prevented the resulting pollution. That would be labeled “interference” in the private sector.

Private investment does not provide public returns. The only interests of private investors is private return.

The Only Way Forward For UK Governance Is Public Investment

The way forward for UK governance is public investment in infrastructure, education, healthcare, services, law enforcement, addressing inequality. Investment.

Over time public investment will result in a booming economy and a prosperous public. It always does, everywhere. Look at the countries that follow this formula. The infrastructure is maintained and modern; education and healthcare are first-class, the economies prosper. The people are more equal, happier and prosperous.

Take all the propaganda labels (socialism, capitalism, neoliberalism, etc) out of this equation and look at it for what it is. PUBLIC investment pays off for the PUBLIC. Private investment only pays the already-wealthy private investors.

For The Many, Not The Few

Investment pays dividends down the road. Let the public collect those dividends.

Progressives — That’s Not How Money Works!

There is a NYTimes Guest Essay, What Kind of Country Do You Want? Start With Taxes. Supposedly a progressive answer to Republican tax cuts for the rich & their corporations nonsense, it actually reinforces conservative arguments about government spending.

The essay amplifies conservative propaganda about the “price┬átag” of government tax cuts and spending. It uses conservative terminology like “revenue,” “borrowing” and “fiscal crisis.” This wording keeps people trapped in a medieval/conservative “gold standard” thought system about money that limits what governments can do to make people’s lives better.

The US dropped the gold standard some time ago. In a modern economy the government issues currency, period. The US government is not “funded” and certainly doesn’t have to round up or borrow gold before it can do things. It is not “in debt.” Think about what “bankrupt” means to a country that prints its own currency. It certainly doesn’t mean we can’t find enough gold to hand over and have to sell off the Washington Monument or the US Capitol. (Actually Congress has already sold itself but that’s another post.)

Taxes Are Not Revenue

Taxes do not “raise revenue.” Taxes balance income and wealth distribution and bring fairness. They incentivize desired behaviours. But they do not “fund” the federal government. The US government is not a family around a kitchen table scraping together a few dollars to┬ápay for food, it manages a modern economy.

Instead of the current medieval-based system of superstitiously limiting spending “in case” doing so might “trigger” inflation, governments must do actual work to plan spending according to production capacities, available labor, available resources, etc in order to keep inflation at bay.

Free Your Minds

Understanding how modern money and budgeting works frees progressives to be able to get things done to make people’s lives better. Why can’t government guarantee a well-paying job with benefits to people who want to help solve society’s problems. For example teacher’s aides, elder or child care, insulating homes, etc? Why can’t government do what is needed to fight the climate crisis and transform to a green economy? Once you understand how money works the possibilities reveal themselves.

However

However, the public is not caught up with an understanding of modern budgeting, and these concepts could scare people and leave them vulnerable to conservative fear-mongering about “government spending” and “debt.” Wall Street and conservatives do everything they can to scare the public into thinking progressives will “bankrupt” the country. For now please just stop reinforcing old fashioned terms that limit what we can do while we wait for people to catch up with understanding how money really works. Do not use terms like “funding” and “revenue” and “borrowing” and “deficits” and “debt” in your discussions of budgets and taxes. We can say the same things without reinforcing those harmful concepts.

The Radical Left

How far have fallen down the rabbit-hole of collapse? How many of the things we take for granted as ‘givens” in our society have gone away?

Imagine if the idea of libraries or public parks or, God forbid, Social Security or the Post Office were proposed today. Imagine if ANY of the “public goods” we take for granted were proposed today. Even police departments or courts.

Picture the national discourse around such “radical left” proposals.

It would be unimaginable today that our country would allow such radical leftist ideas to come to be. The government paying to have places where people can go borrow books … for FREE? Parks that don’t charge a fee?

We all know this is how it would be.

Imagine Economic Democracy

We don’t have to “bring back jobs from China.” Economists explain that exporting low-level jobs and automating free up resources so “we” can have more $ and free time. And places climbing the jobs ladder get jobs.

The problem is how “we” are distributing the gains. Right now a company ships jobs away or automates and a few already-wealthy people in charge of the company get all of the gains. The workers a shit out of luck. They lose homes, etc.

AND on top of that the owners of companies use those job losses to break unions, etc, forcing wages down. “Shut up and accept the pay cut or we’ll fire you.”

Imagine Democracy

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Imagine if “we” all shared the gains, and received more $ and free time. And as those other countries automate, etc., they also get more $ and free time.

What we need is democracy (aka “socialism”,) so we can GET that $ and free time.

Imagine if we had an economic system designed to be of, by and for We the People, where we require that automation and job exports mean those economic gains go to US – We the people – instead of an already-wealthy few.

A company improves efficiency by automating, etc., and the gains go into a fund. As all the companies do this, the fund provides income to working people. People get the same pay and reduced hours because the efficiencies mean there is less work to do. Or they can move up the ladder to more-skilled jobs for more pay.

In other words, imagine democracy

Imagine Democracy

This post originally appeared Nov.12, 2013, at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture.

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“We the People.” How many of us have really thought through the implications of these three words? Can people today even imagine a government that is on the side of We the People, instead of being rigged to benefit the already-wealthy and crush the hopes and efforts of the rest of us?

Since the early 1970s corporate/conservative-funded interests have pounded the public 24/7/365 with unceasing propaganda promoting the idea that government can’t do anything right, business always does everything better and more “efficiently,” market solutions (one-dollar-one-vote) are better than public (one-person-one-vote) solutions, and so on.

Meanwhile democracy does not have a marketing budget, and for so long now so many people have not even heard that there can be another side, another approach to solving our problems and making our lives better. People just hear over and over that “government is bad, efforts to do things for each other are bad, but private business for profit is good.”
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