Squeezing the mandarins until the pips squeak
Amid all the clamour about bankers bonuses, top British civil servants have voluntarily given theirs up. Sue Cameron in the Financial Times wonders why they’re bing punished this way when they’re not to blame for the crisis. But giving up these bonuses shouldn’t be seen as punishment, even self-inflicted (and it would be unfair to point out that bonuses paid to civil servants are far, far lower than bankers’ bonuses). What the mandarins have done is an understandable and laudable response to an economy in crisis, as the top civil servants’ union the FDA has recognised.
In a recession, the poor will suffer far more than the well-off (and far far more than the rich, which doesn’t include top civil servants). So the better off in society should be prepared to make their contribution. A better solution would undoubtedly be a more progressive tax system, but given that not even the mandarins can mandate that, only politicians, giving up their bonuses is a good, collective, example to set. What a different world we would live in if top bankers were similarly minded….