The world financial system went into meltdown last week as the collapse of the housing bubble in the US and Britain brought down banks on both sides of the Atlantic.
But in the midst of this chaos one question remains unanswered – who is going to pay to clean up the mess caused by the “free market”?
In the US the government is planning to spend $700 billion on bailing out the financial system by taking on the bad debts currently on the bankers’ books.
The cost of this bail-out will be shouldered by ordinary people – in the form of increased taxes, higher interest rates and swingeing cuts to public spending and services.
In Britain, Gordon Brown is also preparing to make us pay for the crisis. We have already seen the Northern Rock bank rescued by the government at the cost of £50 billion.
Unemployment is rising, home repossessions are shooting upwards, while the price of everyday essentials such as food and heating remains sky high.
Brown blusters about “fairness” and promises to “crack down” on City greed, but his actions amount to nothing more than tinkering with regulations. Meanwhile the pay freeze on public sector workers remains firmly in place.
The New Labour project is wedded to big business and the “free market”, which is why the government puts the interests of the rich above those of ordinary working people.
Brown himself said at the Labour Party conference on Tuesday of this week,
“We are and always will be pro-enterprise, pro-business and pro-competition as a government.” He went on to spell out his commitment to “fairness and business”.
The previous day, chancellor Alistair Darling spoke of the need for “discipline in public finances” and warned that we must “live within our means”.
Brown echoed this theme, speaking of “tough choices for tough times”. He means “tough” on ordinary people – less pay, higher prices, fewer jobs.
We have to say enough is enough. Let’s get tough on big business, Brown and the bosses to defend our jobs, pensions and homes.