Friday, June 18, 2010

TUC's case against cuts

Via Liberal Conspiracy, the TUC has issued a pamphlet making the case against cuts. It's a bit late in the day, I think, but welcome nonetheless. The pamphlet assembles detailed evidence to demonstrate that the cuts will damage public services, undermine economic growth, and hurt the most vulnerable. Public services are both redistributive and countercyclical, which are valuable assets in an economic downturn. As Richard Exell points out in his Liberal Conspiracy article, most of the debts held by the government have exceptionally long maturity, so there is no urgent need to pay off the deficit right away. The TUC therefore argues that the debts should be paid off by stimulating economic growth, which will be harmed by the Tories' cuts package. Its a straightforward trade union argument - the desiderata of economic efficiency and social justice are complementary, rather than competing, ends. It will be interesting to see how these arguments play with the Labour leadership contenders, four of whom are committed to the idea that the deficit must be paid off with deep spending reductions, but they should form the foundation for a trade union based coalition against the cuts agenda.