WHAT planet is chancellor George Osborne on?
Day after day, we see evidence of financial incompetence. And he uses fiscal failure as an excuse to hammer the poor.
The ‘austerity’ cuts are getting worse, targeted not on the fat cats who caused the triple-dip recession, but on ordinary, decent families struggling with mounting debts and escalating utility charges.
Now we are seeing the Tories and Liberal Democrats using austerity to cut social security and introduce the bedroom tax.
It is a blatant excuse to cut the bone benefits for the poorest in society while giving more tax breaks to the rich.
Last month Britain lost its triple-A credit rating. And Osborne’s response? To claim it was yet another reason to stick to austerity.
The treasury has failed on every front. Debt targets have been abandoned, the austerity programme has been extended to 2018, public services have been cut to a degree not seen for 90 years, and low and middle-income earners are suffering the highest tax increase since the 1930s.
At the same time, the government has failed to get a grip on the banks, end the scandal of obscene bonuses to reward failure.
Over the last two years, only Italy has preformed worse amongst the G7 economies. And on current forecasts, average real-term wages will by 2017 have fallen back to their 1999 level.
The falling value of the pound will intensify that squeeze, industrial investments is 15 per cent below its pre-crash peak, corporations are sitting on a £777bn cash mountain, and productivity has plummeted.
Yet Osborne and co still insist austerity is working. It would be comical if the consequences in human terms were not so tragic.