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The 2008 financial crash: Punishing the victims, rewarding the perpetrators

6 29 32

It was the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression of the 1930s. However, unlike then, the crash of 2008 did not lead to the adoption of progressive New Deal-style policies, but the exact opposite. The massive bankers’ bailouts that were introduced following the collapse of Lehman Bros were paid for by ordinary taxpayers, who then saw their living standards plummet as governments imposed harsh austerity measures, which led to important public services being cut. Let’s look at what happened in Britain.

In the 2010 General Election, the Conservatives, out of office since 1997, promoted themselves as the party most serious about “cutting the deficit.” The election was all about ‘the deficit’. The ‘d’ word was everywhere. The Tories scrapped home, but could only form a government with the support of the Lib Dems, who, under the leadership of banker’s son Nick Clegg, were now enthusiastic neocons.

New Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne introduced an emergency “austerity budget,” which we were told was going to “rebuild the economy.” Cuts in public spending would reach £17bn (US$21.7bn) by 2014/5. There was a public sector wage freeze and an announcement that a rise in the state pension age would be brought forward.

The following winter, local authorities across the country announced cuts in public library provisions. I was involved in a campaign to save my local library. We were told that councils couldn’t afford to keep professionally staffed libraries open, given the reduced money they were receiving from Whitehall. But ‘austerity’ was a sham, a failure even on its own terms, as the figures show. Public........

© RT.com