Theresa May won't use the term "austerity" to describe her government's policies, preferring the misleading phrase, "living within our means" -- a term used to describe cuts to survival basics for millions of Britons, from housing to health to food to social care.
These policies have killed tens of thousands of Britons since they were enacted under May's predecessor David Cameron, and her party manifesto going into the election promises more and worse, including a vicious dementia tax that she won't talk straight about.
These policies don't just affect the older voters that are the Tory base (though, unsurprisingly, they're defecting in record numbers to the "unelectable" Labour Party who promise to reverse austerity, tax the rich, and renationalise the state industries that were sold off -- often to foreign governments -- who asset-stripped them, starved them of cash, and gouged Britons on their services).
Young, working-aged people won't leave their ailing, benefit-capped parents to die on an ice-floe somewhere. They'll take them in, support them with savings that could go to their kids' eduction or their own mortgages. Young, working-aged people won't shrug off cash-starved, segregated schools and send their kids there anyway: they'll go into debt for private education, or give up on having kids altogether, lighting the fuse on a demographic bomb that goes off in a couple decades when today's young working people become tomorrow's pensioners with no generation behind them to keep the economy going.
Labour is polling its highest since the Brexit vote.
A decade of cuts, when added up, also means that some key agencies that protect us, such as the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency will have been decimated by up to 60% of funding cuts. Scaling back on an already paltry funding in these critical areas of regulation will lead to a rise in pollution related illness and disease and will fail to ensure people are safe at work.
The economic folly is that austerity will cost society more in the long term. Local authorities are, for example, housing people in very expensive temporary accommodation because the government has disinvested in social housing. The crisis in homelessness has paradoxically led to a £400 million rise in benefit payments. The future costs of disinvesting in young people will be seismic.
Ending austerity would mean restoring our system of social protection and restoring the spending power of local authorities. It would mean, as all the political parties except the Conservatives recognise, taxing the rich, not punishing the poor in order to pay for a problem that has its roots in a global financial system that enriched the elite. It would also mean recognizing that the best way to prevent the worsening violence of austerity and to rebuild the economy is to re-invest in public sector jobs.
Government Austerity Demands That We Die Within Our Means
[Dr Victoria Cooper and David Whyte/Naked Capitalism]