Lefty Resource Library

Posting articles as I go

Tag: the Right

‘Who is dependent on welfare?’

Ananya Roy testing apart ideas about welfare an an amazing video.

‘post welfare generation’ – grew up at a time when the welfare system was systematically dismantled. A time when ‘welfare, rather than poverty, had become the problem to be solved’

Reagan literally invented the concept of the welfare queen

The middle class ‘enjoy a host of hidden government subsidies that bolster opportunity and mobility, but they do not think such subsidies should be available to the poor

‘…the rich have state help, the poor have self help

‘…fretting the welfare dependency of the poor while failing to realise that they are dependent on welfare

‘I live in public housing, because the tax deduction I enjoy on my mortgage is a more substantial handout than any money spent by the US government on what has come to be stereotyped and vilified as public housing’

Corporations are the real welfare queens e.g. wal-mart pays its workers so little that the government has to give them welfare i.e. its business model hinges on leaching from the government.

Poverty is not only economic, but also a poverty of power. Part of this is to be defined as dependent.

Corporations taking much more from the economy (and individuals) than they give

This article is US-specific. Case studies of tax cuts and companies just using them to amass wealth for themselves while giving less and less back to the economy e.g. by moving jobs overseas.

http://www.alternet.org/economy/4-reasons-why-corporate-income-tax-should-be-doubled-not-abolished?page=0%2C1&paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

Privatisation in practice (why it doesn’t work); the Right unravelling the gains of the past century due to amnesia (privilege)

‘So much for the theory. The practice is very different. What we have been watching these past decades is the steady shifting of public responsibility onto the private sector to no discernible collective advantage. In the first place, privatization is inefficient. Most of the things that governments have seen fit to pass into the private sector were operating at a loss: whether they were railway companies, coal mines, postal services, or energy utilities, they cost more to provide and maintain than they could ever hope to attract in revenue.

‘For just this reason, such public goods were inherently unattractive to private buyers unless offered at a steep discount. But when the state sells cheap, the public takes a loss. It has been calculated that, in the course of the Thatcher-era UK privatizations, the deliberately low price at which long-standing public assets were marketed to the private sector resulted in a net transfer of £14 billion from the taxpaying public to stockholders and other investors.

‘To this loss should be added a further £3 billion in fees to the banks that transacted the privatizations. Thus the state in effect paid the private sector some £17 billion ($30 billion) to facilitate the sale of assets for which there would otherwise have been no takers. These are significant sums of money—approximating the endowment of Harvard University, for example, or the annual gross domestic product of Paraguay or Bosnia-Herzegovina.2 This can hardly be construed as an efficient use of public resources.

‘The third and perhaps most telling case against privatization is this. There can be no doubt that many of the goods and services that the state seeks to divest have been badly run: incompetently managed, underinvested, etc. Nevertheless, however badly run, postal services, railway networks, retirement homes, prisons, and other provisions targeted for privatization remain the responsibility of the public authorities…semiprivate, semipublic

‘A bus that provides an express service for those who can afford it and avoids remote villages where it would be boarded only by the occasional pensioner will make more money for its owner. But someone—the state or the local municipality—must still provide the unprofitable, inefficient local service. In its absence, the short-term economic benefits of cutting the provision will be offset by long-term damage to the community at large. Predictably, therefore, the consequences of “competitive” buses—except in London where there is enough demand to go around—have been an increase in costs assigned to the public sector; a sharp rise in fares to the level that the market can bear; and attractive profits for the express bus companies.’

‘it is notoriously humiliating to be on the receiving end of that kind of assistance [the welfare kind]…Conversely, it is not humiliating to be on the receiving end of a right…without anyone investigating to determine whether you have sunk low enough to “deserve” help—then you will not be embarrassed to accept it. However, such universal rights and entitlements are expensive.

‘But what if we treated humiliation itself as a cost, a charge to society? What if we decided to “quantify” the harm done when people are shamed by their fellow citizens before receiving the mere necessities of life? In other words, what if we factored into our estimates of productivity, efficiency, or well-being the difference between a humiliating handout and a benefit as of right? We might conclude that the provision of universal social services, public health insurance, or subsidized public transportation was actually a cost-effective way to achieve our common objectives.’

‘Few in the West are old enough to know just what it means to watch our world collapse.7 We find it hard to conceive of a complete breakdown of liberal institutions, an utter disintegration of the democratic consensus. But it was just such a breakdown that elicited the Keynes–Hayek debate and from which the Keynesian consensus and the social democratic compromise were born: the consensus and the compromise in which we grew up and whose appeal has been obscured by its very success…The first task of radical dissenters today is to remind their audience of the achievements of the twentieth century, along with the likely consequences of our heedless rush to dismantle them…The rise of the social service state, the century-long construction of a public sector whose goods and services illustrate and promote our collective identity and common purposes, the institution of welfare as a matter of right and its provision as a social duty: these were no mean accomplishments.

‘That these accomplishments were no more than partial should not trouble us. If we have learned nothing else from the twentieth century, we should at least have grasped that the more perfect the answer, the more terrifying its consequences. Imperfect improvements upon unsatisfactory circumstances are the best that we can hope for, and probably all we should seek. Others have spent the last three decades methodically unraveling and destabilizing those same improvements: this should make us much angrier than we are. It ought also to worry us, if only on prudential grounds: Why have we been in such a hurry to tear down the dikes laboriously set in place by our predecessors? Are we so sure that there are no floods to come?’

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/dec/17/what-is-living-and-what-is-dead-in-social-democrac/?pagination=false

The Economist advocating stimulus over austerity

‘Public investment is not a panacea: Japan’s government paved over half the country in failed bids to thwart stagnation with stimulus. But what better time to invest in urgently needed infrastructure than when the cost of borrowing is at record lows? Greater public investment will boost economic potential in the long term and bolster spending in the short term. It should be at the top of today’s bubble-prevention arsenal.’

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21591177-financial-markets-are-looking-frothy-answer-not-tighter-monetary-policy-more-public

Research on the positive effects of the social safety net

‘powerful evidence for a three-pronged counterattack against this conservative narrative, which has come to play a dominant role in Republican politics in the post-Bush/Obama/Tea Party era: 1) The safety net works in the short term, producing measurable improvements in newborn health; 2) it works in the long term, improving health for both men and women, and reducing dependency among women in the next generation; and 3) it works currently in much the same manner as it has worked in the past.  The long-term effects findings are clearly the most remarkable, which is why they’re worth looking into more closely.  But it’s the overall combination of evidence — along with the work of others working on other aspects of the safety net — that provides a robust picture of what the real-world safety net actually does to build better lives, pushing back against the onslaught of right-wing lies.’

http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/gop-proven-100-wrong-about-food-stamps?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

Welfare as overall economic good, despite what the right says – a case study on youth in England

Austerity politics potentially crippling a generation economically, creating a bleak-looking future

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/11/if-coalition-wants-reduce-neets-it-should-bring-back-ema

Great quote about the Right’s policy-making process

“It is the think-tank way, of course, not to let facts stand in the way of an off-hand policy solution to a problem that, at its foundation, is both complex and disturbing”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/27/illiteracy-rates-australias-national-shame