Monday, 11 February 2019

Under Growth

At least the pitiful economic growth is not as bad as the recession that we were supposed to have been having by now. But it is still pretty grim.

Instead, and made possible by Brexit, we need a return to the pro-business tradition that came down to the Attlee Government from the ultraconservative figures of Colbert and Bismarck, via the Liberals Keynes and Beveridge, and which held sway in Britain until the Callaghan Government’s turn to monetarism in 1977.

That tradition corresponds closely but critically to the Hamiltonian American System as expanded by the American School, a pro-business tradition that between the 1860s and the 1970s worked to make the United States the world’s largest economy, with the world’s highest standard of living, culminating in the glorious achievements of the New Deal, which in turn made possible the rise and triumph of the Civil Rights movement.

That was achieved, by Democrats and Republicans alike, through the strict division between investment banking and retail banking, with large amounts of federal credit (in Britain, that would be central government credit), at low interest rates and over a long term, to build great national projects, notably enormous expansions in infrastructure, which then paid for themselves many times over.

There were pro-business tariffs and subsidies, and there was a pro-business National Bank to promote the growth of productive enterprises rather than speculation. Britain and America both need a lot more of this today. North West Durham needs it more than most.

I am not a fan of eye-watering top rates of tax for the sake of them, nor am I very much of fan of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but it is worth considering that her proposal for a return to the top rates that were levied under Eisenhower and Nixon, but with a much higher threshold even when adjusted for inflation, is supported by more than half of Southerners and by more than 40 per cent of Republicans.

In their country as in ours, there is an urgent need to get money out of the hands of the people who, one way or another, bank it abroad, and to get that money into the hands of the people who will spend it at home.

Another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email Very many thanks.

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