On the contrary, there has been plenty of comfort for interest groups. Not for the first time, the Irish Times omits the fact that the European Union, the IMF and the European Central Bank, the three components of the Troika, act in the interests of particular interest groups, not the populations affected by its policies. There are particular interests -for example, those of financial corporations, or ‘the demands of foreign lenders’, as the Irish Times calls them here- served by the stripping away of welfare state provisions, the impoverishment of the working population, the shrinking of the public sector, and the outsourcing of public services, and they were handsomely served by yesterday’s budget.
The German government, for example, will be delighted at more evidence of a docile and masochistic population, whom it can continue to hold up as the poster child to justify both its destruction of the societies of southern Europe in collaboration with local elites, and the disciplining of labour within its own borders. Closer to home, many employers will be cheered by the fact that on account of the impoverishment of the population and the jobs that this budget will destroy, they will have a more docile workforce at their disposal, both terms of potential employees prepared to accept lower wages and conditions, on account of personal desperation, and existing employees prepared to do so for fear of intimidation and dismissal. Certainly many employers will be cheered by the disincentives to having children introduced by the budget, both in terms of child benefit cuts and the taxation of maternity benefit, since it will mean fewer women on maternity leave. Therefore the Irish Times should be a bit more rosy in its assessment.