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Short sighted policies threaten the West

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Bad news for the futures of the USA and UK. When we should be seeking to strengthen our ability to compete in a world where new economic powers are becoming stronger – we are wasting our natural and human resources.

Deficits should be reduced – where they are the result of wasteful spending. But we endanger our future if we cut back on our infrastructure; if we fail to prepare the next generation of income earners.

The US is taking its eye off deficit reduction – by granting extended tax cuts for the very richest. Conservative ideology – and the self interest of those in Congress (who themselves are extraordinarily rich compared with the average American – and who are financed by extremely wealthy individuals and corporations) is trumping the needs of the USA. For years the richest have been contributing less and less to the society they benefit from. As a result of policies followed the rich have skimmed off the wealth – infrastructure improvements have not been made – and the US has ceded some of its competitive advantage. Tax cuts have become more important politically than preparing the nation for the challenges of 21st Century.

In the UK Parliament is due to vote today on increasing student fees. Again over a period of years we have “chosen” to enrich the few (PFI schemes are an example of this – note the Public Accounts Ctte report on how banks have put up the costs – “Overall, bank financing costs increased by 20-33 per cent compared to bank charges before the credit crisis. This added £1 billion to the contract price, payable over 30 years, for the 35 projects financed in 2009. Furthermore Treasury did not require individual projects to submit detailed re-evaluations to assess whether contracts were still value for money.”) – and tax for the richest has been kept down. At the same time it has been made more daunting for lower income students to enter Higher Education. We need to encourge participation in Higher Education – we need, as a society, to invest more in the intellectual capital of the future.

Great empires in history have fallen when their rich and powerful elites became flabby and complacent. If the UK & US want a prosperous future – we must harness all our people’s energy. The agenda of conservatives will eventually destroy us.

Written by David

December 9, 2010 at 8:03 am

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