I’ve been pondering Zoe Williams’ Guardian column about the energy market for a few days. In it, she points out that for a few days last week, over 50% of Britain’s energy needs came from renewable sources. Good news, except that we (consumers) are still paying for energy as if 100% of it came from fossil fuels. That the price of gas determines the price we pay for energy is a scam, of course, one of the many scams that capitalism runs on a rolling basis. Another such scam is the Forever War (currently in Ukraine but a moveable feast), and other excuses for increasing prices and depressing the value of wages.
Keeping wages low is rule #1, of course, and so people have to be trained to ignore the evidence of their eyes and accept that money is tight and so they can’t possibly be paid more, or work fewer hours for the same money. Among many other tech companies, Google has announced layoffs (12000), which is one way of exerting downward pressure on wages (create a surplus in the job market). Google made nearly $14 billion in profit in the most recent quarter, on revenues of just over $69 billion. The New York Times, which takes its responsibility for perpetuating the scam seriously, describes this huge profit as a result of the punishing blows to the global economy. Money is tight. So tight that Google only made 14,000,000,000 dollars in three months.
Money is tight, the rail workers are told, so they can’t have a pay rise to match inflation. Nevermind that the minister in charge has admitted that the resulting strikes have cost the UK economy more than the pay demand ever would have. Meanwhile, useful idiots/Russian bots flood social media with nonsense about average salaries for nurses, teachers, and train drivers, hoping to divide and rule through envy. In the real world, two teachers I know, who want to buy a house together, are contemplating their need to move out of the area because they can’t possibly afford a house around here. They’ve both got degrees, they’re doing an important job, full-time, but they can’t afford a house. But sure, post what the teachers’ average salary is on the Twitter. Treat them like you treat your babysitter.
Money is tight, unless you’re an MP who has avoided tax amounting to millions of pounds, while telling the rest of us that money is tight. Money is tight, unless you’re a former journalist turned politician and you want a cheap £800,000 loan. The basic salary for a bog-standard MP is just over £84,000, and the PM’s salary to April 2020 was nearly £162,000. So if there was justice, two teachers earning around £35,000 each ought to be able to borrow £350,000 to buy a house, guaranteed by the Chairman of the BBC.
Money is tight, unless you want some.
Apparently, surgeons and anaesthesiologists won’t get out of bed for less than £250k, but sure, tell us about nurses earning IN EXCESS OF £30,000. It’s not as if they do most of the work in the NHS or anything.
Money’s tight, unless you’re in on the scam, in the House of Lords, and can be fast-tracked into supplying – as it turns out – nothing useful in return for millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money.
The budget of Avatar 2 was somewhere around $250 million, but you can bet your life that somewhere down at the bottom of the pile there was an intern (or several) working for no pay. I was listening to The News Agents podcast the other day, an episode focused on student life. Three people who work for Global, the parent company, were interviewed about their student loans. One of them left university 10 years ago owing just over £40,000 in student loans. He’s now having 9% of his salary taken to service the debt… which stands at somewhere around £65,000. Current students were interviewed, who were paying rent of £110-5 per week for a cold room with no sink, mould on the walls, rats in the alley, a faulty fridge.
Money’s tight. Unless you’re a landlord.
Young people, early in their careers, are paying, proportionately, more tax than me. (It is tax, because that loan is clearly not getting paid off.) They’re paying more tax than most MPs, especially the tax dodgers. I’m sure they’re paying more tax than the mortgage-paid-off retired boomers who keep voting Tory.
Is this government of spivs, grifters, and gamblers in its final days? You’d like to think so. But while money might be tight, lies are abundant.