Saturday, 26 March 2011

March for the unthinkable alternative

The first I heard of the March for the Alternative was this post from Tom Paine.

Through Twitter, I then discovered this post from Sam Bowman at the ASI. The TUC video he links to is something special.

I also found this post from Tim Worstall, in response to some ridiculous tripe from Richard Murphy, who seems unconcerned that interest payments on the national debt are rising.

The 2011-12 budget predicts spending of £710 billion against income of £589 billion — a deficit of £121 billion. When the government is already living beyond its means, it takes a warped mind to suggest that increased state spending would somehow leave our children and grandchildren in a better position.

The budget shows £50 billion for debt interest — more than Defence (£40 billion), "Public order and safety" (£33 billion), and Transport (£23 billion). I find it incredible that those who purport to care about the working man would wish to see an increasing portion of his hard-earned income confiscated, and handed over to the holders of government debt.

The government has no money of its own. Everything it spends, it must seize or borrow. What the government takes from taxpayers, they cannot spend. What the government borrows, businesses cannot borrow.

Daniel Hannan put it brilliantly:
I’ve just watched the soi-disant “March for the Alternative” snaking its way across London. It is clear enough, from the banners and slogans, what the protesters are against: spending restraint, open markets, private enterprise, property rights, free contract, Tories, bankers and Nick Clegg. Fair enough. But what are they for?

Their website suggests that they think the answer to our debt crisis is more spending. In fact, they don’t think we have much of a debt crisis. They want higher taxes, particularly for the rich, whom they expect to wait around meekly to be fleeced. And they insist that higher state expenditure (”investment”) will create more jobs. Why so half-hearted, comrades? Why not go all the way, nationalise every business, place every adult on the state payroll and confiscate all income? By your logic, it would surely make Britain the most prosperous country on Earth.
After “No Cuts!” the marchers’ favourite slogan was “Fairness!” Alright, then. How about parity between public and private sector pay? Or job security? Or pensions? How about being fair to our children, whom we have freighted with a debt unprecedented in peacetime? How about being fair to the boy who leaves school at 16 and starts paying taxes to subsidise the one who goes to university? How about being fair to the unemployed, whom firms cannot afford to hire because of the social protection enjoyed by existing employees?
The truth is that the marchers care not a whit for fairness. They seek only to preserve their public-sector non-jobs, at our expense. We would be far better off if they sought employment in the private sector, responding to what consumers actually want. Some of them, no doubt, are so incompetent and unprofessional that nobody in the private sector would hire them, but that is not an argument for preserving their non-jobs. On the dole, they would cost us less, and do less harm.

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