November 25th, 2011

breaking bad

Next Wednesday's strike

I keep telling myself that I won't post any more economic/politics rants, but I just can't give them up. Someone argued passionately yesterday that the public sector is not a drain on the economy, but a net economic benefit. Who said it? Francis Maude and Danny Alexander (Tory and Lib Dem respectively). They said yesterday that next Wednesday's strike will cost the economy half a billion pounds. That's one day where the strikers receive no pay, and do no work. So - clearly - striking workers alone are injecting half a billion pounds more a day into the economy than they cost in wages. So how can the same politicians argue that the public sector is the cause of our current economic crisis, if it is producing a net benefit of a billion pounds every two days (in reality far more)? If it is bringing in money at that rate, how can reducing it raise money? I honestly don't know how much longer the Coalition can sustain this deep contradiction at the heart of their strategy.

The right wing commentators on the Guardian and BBC sites are stymied by the same contradiction. They want to say that the public sector workers are a drain and should all be sacked, and simultaneously, that they are essential and should be forced to work.