Thursday, 26 April 2012

Cash is King

From: Noel Hodson to The Guardian, UK
Will Hutton (Kamikaze chancellor – Guardian 26 April 2012) is correct in saying the UK’s economic and fiscal positions are “a disgrace” and “totally unnecessary”. Are millionaire posh-boys George Osborne’s and David Cameron’s policies suicidal cock-ups or conspiracies? Did their Eton, Oxford, Bullingdon Club educations churn out dunces? Did their banking, capitalist families teach them nothing? True to their supporters, they are most likely consciously and determinedly pursuing a solid Tory, City, Thatcherite agenda to enrich the rich and screw the poor.

If so, how does it work? The OECD estimates huge cash deposits in tax-havens; up to $18 trillion. Even half that repatriated and reinvested would pay off the World’s deficits and boost graduate jobs, growth and all social services. This off-shore hoard is controlled by the cash-rich, including most millionaires, most corporations and tens of thousands of highly-paid executives.

In the good old days, Thatcher and cronies stripped the flesh off the UK and fed it to the global rich simply via a 17.5% Bank of England base rate – creating record unemployment and business collapse while doubling cash-sterling-deposits every 7 years, risk and effort free. Similar “monetarist” moves in America heralded a 30 year freeze on wages – cruelly slashing incomes during decades of unearned-income-led inflation – drones-inflation. Today there is so much global free-cash, the “Free Markets”, chasing unearned income that interest rates are near zero and will remain so. The government licensed banks still gouge money from the Have-Nots through 15%, 30% and 300% charges to individuals but the loan-shark industry is a few billions out of the off-shore trillions, which only the mysterious Bond Markets can absorb. Greek, Portuguese and Spanish crisis drive national Bonds to 6%, but that is not enough for The Markets. To screw the UK poor, Osborne cannot crank up the base-rate to effortlessly increase the value of cash as did Thatcher.

Scarcity – cash starvation – in a world where well paid jobs evaporate; where the young are forced into unpaid indenture; where millions are paid less than a living-wage delivering them to loan-sharks; is Osborne’s choice. By making cash scarce and driving down wages – the value of cash soars; we all need cash. What now is the going free-market price for a child-prostitute? The 2008/09 bank collapse lost a trillion pounds from the UK and de-leveraging Wall Street and The City took many trillions from global liquidity. Quantitative Easing has put back a pathetic fraction, freezing the levels of traditional business loans, mortgages and new-start investment; so far so good for the cash super-rich. Restricting government spending and diverting department budgets into the private sector takes more billions out of circulation, reducing the spending power of the poorest and freezing infrastructure investment. The value of any scarce commodity increases. The smart global money is buying Cash.

Will Hutton is too kind in assuming Osborne and Cameron are stupid. They are being true-blue cunning capitalists and Conservatives. It is a terribly risky strategy for the nation – but real capitalists revel in risk – and they will never have to pay the price.

Noel Hodson

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