COVID-19: “PAURA e GENEROSITA’ FISCALE” (Fear and fiscal largesse) – da Nuovo Paese – Filef Australia

Paura e generosità fiscale

di Frank Barbaro
Nel timore delle minacce recessive a causa del COVID-19, i governi – soprattutto quelli occidentali – hanno risposto varando sanatorie fiscali.
Non sono stati capaci di fronteggiare le problematiche di salute pubblica per carenza di attrezzature e strutture mediche, di ricerche sulla cura o sul controllo del virus e di campagne di sicurezza basate sulla conoscenza del problema.
Poi c’è l’inspiegabile leggerezza di aver consentito fino a poco tempo fa l’arrivo dei viaggiatori stranieri senza sottoporli a test o isolamento, per evitare la diffusione dell’infezione importata.
È inspiegabile perché la prima risposta del governo federale (australiano,ndr)  agli arrivi agli inizi di febbraio, quando il coronavirus era già un fenomeno conosciuto in tutto il mondo, è stata quella di mettere la gente in quarantena a Chistmas Island.
Ciò che continua a diffondersi sono la paura e una generosità fiscale che non ha precedenti nei tempi moderni, e che forse supera quella delle risposte economiche keynesiane alla grande depressione e alla seconda guerra mondiale.
La grande differenza è che a livello globale l’attuale malessere economico è da identificarsi con l’abbondanza, non con la scarsità, e include il capitale inattivo le cui origini e finalità meritano un’analisi più approfondita.
È risaputo che l’Australia, come altre economie mature, stava già affrontando una recessione e che COVID-19 l’abbia portata alla luce nel modo più drammatico.
Spalare denaro da quello che alla fine diventerà un debito ingestibile non è sufficiente, a meno che tale denaro non venga speso in programmi e progetti trasformativi e duraturi che affrontino le disuguaglianze e offrano soluzioni al malessere ambientale e sociale.
Non può essere usato solo per tenere a galla sistemi economici in avaria, con un benessere gonfio ma privo di qualsiasi contesto politico e di diritti umani, che rischia di creare un alibi per l’inevitabile discesa nella povertà diffusa.
Per discutere in maniera responsabile di questa generosità si potrebbe cominciare chiedendo al Parlamento federale di annullare gli enormi tagli fiscali previsti per le alte fasce di reddito previsti per il 2024-25.
   

Fear and fiscal largesse

by Frank Barbaro
In fear of the recessionary threats from COVID-19 governments – Western mainly – responded by creating fiscal sanatoriums.
They were less adept in dealing with public health aspects with shortcomings in medical equipment and facilities, research into curing or controlling the virus and knowledge based safety campaigns.
Then there are the inexplicable blunders of allowing until recently the disembarkment of incoming overseas travellers without testing and isolation to avoid spread of the still imported infection.
It’s inexplicable because the Federal Government’s first response to arrivals in early February when the coronavirus – as the pandemic was then known – came to world attention, was to quarantine people on Christmas Island.
What continue to spread are fear and a fiscal largesse that is unprecedented in modern times and perhaps surpasses that of Keynesian economic responses to the great Depression and post WWII.
The big difference is that globally the current economic malaise is framed by abundance, not scarcity, and that includes idle capital whose origin and purpose deserve better analysis.
It is generally recognised that Australia, like other mature economies, was facing a recession and that COVID-19 has brought this home in the most dramatic way.
Shovelling money from what will eventually become unmanageable debt is not sufficient unless it’s spent on transformative and lasting programs and projects that tackle inequity and offer solutions to environmental and social malaise.
It cannot be used just to keep afloat failing economic systems with a bloated welfare devoid of any political and human rights context that risks creating an alibi for the inevitable descent into widespread pauperism.
A good start in arguing for better accountability of this largesse is to call on the Federal Parliament to rescind the massive tax cuts for high income earners legislated for 2024-25.

 

Could COVID-19 be a vaccine against Neoliberalism?

by Gaetano Greco

For over forty years the economic pandemic of Neoliberalism that has underpinned the global economy and commodified our social relations has now been fundamentally exposed given the coronavirus pandemic has killed and infected thousands of people and virtually grounded us all to a stop.

Without a doubt the lock-downs, business shutdowns and social and economic insecurity have dramatically revealed the weakness of the free market’s ‘just in time’ economy, the unreliability of its private sector and the inadequacy of our health care system.

But in the midst of witnessing one of the greatest social and economic failures of modern times, will Neoliberalism be called out for what it is – a failed ideology!

On the surface most governments have responded with a heavy dose of public intervention and public spending to control the virus and its impact while we wait for a medical vaccine.

However will these measures help us overcome the impact of the virus in the long term? Or will the mantra of Neoliberalism continue to triumph with its call for future economic austerity to make up for the government handouts.

Moreover, since we have exhausted 9/11 and terrorism as a justification for exceptional circumstances will governments acquire more totalitarian powers to constrain democracy, ratchet up surveillance and promulgate fear propaganda in the name of safety to occupy us.

The fact is that it took such a pandemic to reluctantly force Neoliberals to act as did governments during the Great Depression when social security and the New Deal were introduced.

To some extent these earlier structural changes were implemented to ward off the excesses of capitalism and help conserve it. Instead as we saw during the GFC, today’s relief packages are in themselves infused with Neoliberal trickle-down economics which bailout large corporations and pump money into (and through) private corporations rather than directly supporting and prioritising citizens.

While COVID-19 could be a vaccine for Neoliberalism we need to ensure it doesn’t mutate into a more draconian ideology if we want to live in a humane society and not an economy.

   

SCARICA o Leggi la rivista Nuovo Paese

NP-aprile 2020

 

 

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