Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Millionaire Cameron: Patronising, Out Of Touch

Millionaire Cameron was to tell the rest of us to pay off our credit cards to help the economy - but this was pulled from his conference speech at the last minute. Someone realised that his patronising demand for families to clear their debts is bad economics and terrible politics.

George Eaton explains that at a time when voters are facing the biggest fall in living standards since the 1920s (owing to a combination of rising prices, falling wages, lower benefits and higher taxes), Cameron's demand is hideously patronising. It is a perfect example of what the novelist Joyce Carey once described as a "tumbril remark" - the sort of statement seemingly designed to ignite class war.

Cameron, a man who has had never had a money worry in his life, insists that the poor must repay their debts, as if, up to this point, they had merely chosen not to do so. Has there ever been a less sensitive or more thoughtless remark from a serving Prime Minister.

But worse, Cameron's comments confirm that he has no grasp of basic economics. The more people save, the more they reduce aggregate demand, thus further reducing (and eventually destroying) economic growth. They will be individually wise but collectively foolish. If no one spends (because they're paying off their debts) then businesses can't grow and unemployment willl soar.

The final irony is that Cameron is leading a government whose own policies are increasing household debt. George Osborne's decision to take an axe to the welfare state is helping to fuel the household debt bubble.

Cameron's blunt demand for households to repay their debts suggests a man who not only can't solve the problem but doesn't even understand it. Today, we have seen the clearest indication yet that he is unfit to govern this country.

And this from a man who claimed 40p for a chocolate bar on his parliamentary expenses.

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