Pity the ANC. One day, sooner rather than later, it’s in for a ...

Ideas

Pity the ANC. One day, sooner rather than later, it’s in for a nasty shock

For now, it’s happily spending our money, but there’s one small, crucial truth it doesn’t quite understand ... yet

Columnist

The problem with socialism, Margaret Thatcher said, is that you eventually run out of other people’s money. At least, she would have said it if she’d had a better ear for internet-friendly truisms: what she really said, on Thames TV in 1976, was that “socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.” But her outdated claim endures.

It’s outdated, of course, because in 2008 the world’s most robustly capitalist governments got into a financial mess and proceeded to use other people’s money to bail out private banks. When it comes to using other people’s cash to prop up the politics of the day, socialism is no longer the only game in town.

Then again, extracting taxes from the working and middle classes and then spraying that money all over yourself like a Grand Prix winner dousing himself in champagne doesn’t necessarily make you either a capitalist or a socialist...

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