Chapter 61: Advanced Economics
Announcer: Good evening and welcome to Money Matters. This week we are fortunate to have with us Antony Trite. If his party wins the next election, he will be in charge of the country’s finances. Our interviewer is, as usual, Linda Bobbins. Over to you, Linda.
Bobbins: Thank you. Hello, Mr Trite. It’s good of you find the time to be with us.
Trite: My pleasure, Linda. I was delighted when I got the invitation to join you.
Bobbins: I’d like to start by asking you to comment on your reputation for answering any question with a question.
Trite: Wherever did you hear that?
Bobbins: My case rests. Now, let’s get right down to it. You hope to be holding our collective purse strings in the near future, and you’ve been very critical of the present government, in particular what you see as its failure to get a grip on the annual budget deficits and the associated national debt. Many of us are very concerned about these matters, so how would you go about putting our affairs in order?
Trite: Ah, I’m glad you asked me that, Linda.
Bobbins: Good. Would you care to respond to it?
Trite: I will, but first let me say –
Bobbins: No, Mr Trite. Please answer the question.
Trite: Very well. I’ll come straight to the point. The government has totally failed to do what it said it would do – clear our debts.
Bobbins: Be that as it may, I’d like us to concentrate not on what you believe those now in office have got wrong, but what you would get right.
Trite: I’ll tell you. If elected, we shall tackle the fiscal problems with all our energy.
Bobbins: But you haven’t yet spelled out what measures you would take. This is your chance to do so.
Trite: We have fully costed schemes which will get the budget into balance during the course of our first term in office.
Bobbins: Will you give us the details.
Trite: Certainly. First, we shall not pander to those urging us to soak the wealthy. You don’t make the poor richer by making the rich poorer. The well-off people are contributing massively to our coffers, so we shall see that they are protected.
Bobbins: What about the poor?
Trite: We have always been a compassionate society and that will continue. The less affluent people must be looked after, so we would not take anything from them.
Bobbins: I see. That leaves those in the middle.
Trite: Precisely, and they are the backbone. Of our great nation. They work hard and pay their taxes, so we wouldn’t do anything inimical to their interests.
Bobbins: Remarkable. You seem to have ring-fenced everyone, so who will pay to get us out of the hole we’re in?
Trite: As I said, we have worked it all out and our figures have been verified independently. There are savings to be made. For example, we can gather much more money than we do now by adjusting the levels of property tax. That will bring in four hundred million. Then we can withdraw benefits from those who don’t need them. There we have another eight hundred and fifty million. You see?
Bobbins: I do see, but what you’ve mentioned amounts to a tiny fraction of one year’s budget deficit. What about the rest?
Trite: Well, we shall need to look at the books when we take over.
Bobbins: The books, at least in broad outline, are available to all of us at any time. I was looking at them only today.
Trite: Yes, but the devil is in the detail.
Bobbins: Some detail!