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Populist inequality… June 14, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

It’s fascinating to see M5S and the League in Italy have two policies in government that almost uniquely cut across one another.. that is:

..a flat tax, as the League proposes, and a universal basic income (UBI), as M5S advocates…

The latter seems a bit moonshiney, but the former is utter poison and points up the reality of ‘populist’ rhetoric as being utterly hollow. A moments analysis of progressive (in the technical sense of the term) taxation as against flat taxes and it is clear that those seeking flat taxes are utterly reactionary. And they are. Flat taxes – the poll tax being one, and we’ve seen efforts to introduce same here in the form of ‘charges’ are uniquely inequitable. As the Guardian piece notes:

But whether the government will use that space to get growth going again is very much in doubt. The League’s flat tax would benefit mainly the rich, who have a relatively low propensity to spend, and aggravate complaints about inequality. And, given its dire fiscal implications, M5S’s proposed UBI would trigger a sharp reaction by financial markets.

If the League is populist it is a very conservative populism. M5S are in a different category again – a very bourgeois populism. In a way both tell us a lot about the dangers of a politics detached from genuine class politics.

The Guardian piece articulates concerns about how all these contradictory policies will function in the broader euro context, but as telling will be how the two parties work together. My own suspicion is that they’ll do just fine, for as long as the contradictions can be evaded, and that tells us something very interesting about ‘centrist’ and populist politics.


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