Rishi Sunak – a man who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing

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I quoted this Guardian article on Twitter yesterday and I do so unashamedly again this morning here:

It's worth noting what came next as well:

I very rarely quote at such length, and do so on this occasion reluctantly. I do, however, think it appropriate to do so precisely because of the extraordinary content of this article, which has to have been produced with the consent of HM Treasury.

Note the language used and that it is said that Sunak 'had not opposed booster measures' not that this would have a cost on other services. The choice of the language that 'doses do not grow on trees' is undoubtedly deliberate. There is in here a very clear message that there is no magic money tree.

Except, of course, there is. Sunak's attempt to suggest that there is a shortage of money, and that we have to live within our means is, as we all now know, completely ridiculous. Over £450 billion of quantitative easing was used to fund all the deficit spending that has arisen since the coronavirus crisis began as the New Economics Foundation has shown:

Every single pound that is required to pay for booster jabs can be created by the Bank of England, costlessly, in that case.

But, just in case there is any doubt as to the availability of funding to pay for these boosters note this chart of tax revenues produced by the office for budget responsibility in October 2021 as part of its budget reporting:

Capital gains tax is forecast to raise £9.2 billion in revenue this year. But, as I noted yesterday, most capital gains tax is charged at rates that are near enough half those charged on income. If only those rates were equalised then it is likely that a significant part of those capital gains would continue to be made, but that the tax revenue would increase significantly. For convenience, and I happen to think that this is entirely appropriate, let us presume that the yield doubles. The booster vaccine doses will cost nothing like £9 billion and yet that sum is readily available to have Rishi Sunak.

In that case, and taking these two truths into account, let's consider what the messaging that Sunak is delivering is meant to suggest.

Firstly, he's arguing that cash is a scarce resource for government. He knows that is not true. He is, as a result, blatantly lying.

Second, in that case, we need to ask why he is lying and the reason is obvious. This falsehood is presented as an argument to support austerity. This is the very clear subtext of the narrative that was presented by the Treasury spokesperson.

Third, this austerity narrative is being presented even though it is glaringly obvious that the gross injustice is in the society that have been created by coronavirus, as demonstrated my recent data that I have noted from the New Economics Foundation, are not being addressed by tax changes which I have noted would be easy to deliver.

In other words, as usual, Sunak is using every opportunity to pursue class warfare. Even Covid is now within his reach as a mechanism to impose austerity on those who need never suffer its consequences. The politest term for this is callousness. The alternative is psychopathy when it is known what despair austerity delivers, to which Sunak appears utterly indifferent by allowing comments such as these to be made.

Johnson's incompetence is scary. However, Sunak's very clear dislike for the well-being of the people of this country is truly frightening. I can only hope that he never achieves his ambition of moving into Number 10.

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