1. The risk of banking collapse
In 2008 the banks had gambled more money on complex financial products than the value of the entire world economy. Then they discovered that the products weren't as valuable as they thought and this set off a panic that came within hours of ruining the whole world economy. The only thing that rescued us from this panic was effective action by governments and central banks. The free market was bailed out by the state. As a consequence the state acquired huge debts. Nothing serious has been done to separate risky parts of banking from ordinary household banks. Nothing has been done to stop banks gambling with our money. Nothing has been done to tax properly the very high incomes bankers can earn from such gambles. All of this leaves us wide open to a repeat of boom and bust. And what are we doing about it? Threatening the poor with another £30 billion of cuts and leaving the fundamental weaknesses of the banking system alone. That's what I call being irresponsible.
2. Using fossil fuels
When they are gone they are gone. Fossil fuels are the ultimate example of using up your capital and not living off your income. What is even worse they are a rare case where spending your capital actually causes positive damage to the future economy. We simply don't know how much carbon dioxide it is safe to pump into the atmosphere or how much we have changed the climate for future generations. We do know what technology to use to massively reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. We just aren't ready yet to pay the price - we'd rather leave the problem for our children. That's what I call irresponsible.
3. Buying more than we sell
Any country that imports more than it exports for any length of time is bound to find that it enters some form of economic decline. For the UK the gap in the Balance of Payments is more than 6% of everything we produce in the year. This is a massive amount. It will take several years of major investment into changing the nature of what we produce in this country, improving the skills of our population and re-orientating our economy to get to the point where we have this back in balance. This very real problem barely receives a mention and instead we are assured that Britain is back and everything will soon be fine. Hoping that a problem will go away - now that's what I call irresponsible.
4. Letting them get away with it because it is too difficult
We live in a world economy. But we don't have effective world control over it. As a result companies can take their production to whichever country offers the lowest wages and the lowest costs in terms of health and safety and pollution controls. Companies that do still trade in the UK such as Starbucks can use their accountants to move their revenues to the countries with the lowest tax rates so that they can make profits out of us but contribute nothing to our society in the way of tax. Those same accountants can also encourage wealthy citizens to play the same game. As a result we are told that we must lower income tax or else the rich will simply go abroad. No serious effort has been made by our country to get together with other countries to properly manage the international economy. Telling the poor that they must pay tax whilst the rich get away with it. That's what I call irresponsible.
5. Organising a pre-election boom
George Osborne has made budget plans based on high growth rates for the next five years. With inflation at zero and Britain entering a dangerous deflationary cycle his predictions are deeply optimistic. He has allowed the bank of England to print £375 billion and pump it into the banking system in order to counteract the cuts he has made to public services. Instead of being spent on refocusing the economy to be better prepared for the future most of that money has gone into a speculative boom in shares and in high end London property prices. It can't last. Telling people everything is fine just before an election and then driving us back into crisis with another £30 billion of cuts at a time of deflation. Now that's what I call irresponsible.
Chancellors of the exchequer are very fond of making grand statements about how well they have done in their efforts to fix the economy. It is not so very long since Gordon Brown told us that he had put an end to boom and bust. Just before the worst crash since the great depression. Now we are being told by George Osborne that Britain isn't walking tall and he needs another five years and another £30 billion of cuts to finish the job. Britain isn't walking tall it is walking on egg shells. The days of secure and easy economic growth without thought for the future consequences are gone. Right now the only secure and sustainable way that we can build an economic future is to invest properly in a circular economy where we put back into the earth exactly as much as we take out of it.
If you really want a more responsible approach to the future then vote green.