Excess savings

You know a phrase that has been doing the rounds in news coverage that has been grinding my gears? “Excess savings”.

“Excess savings” as in “Economists at Deutsche Bank have revised upwards their estimates of the total pool of excess savings across bank accounts in the UK” and the like.

Do you know who has got “Excess savings”? I’ll tell you who. The people on the Times rich list. Huge landowners who have inherited estates down through the years. People who own buy-to-let property empires. They’ve got “Excess savings”, and they had them in 2020 and in 2019 and in 2018. Covid has got nothing to do with it.

Do you know who hasn’t got “Excess savings”? The average person who might have been lucky enough to have saved some money over the last twelve months by not spending at gigs / football / commuting / the gym / holidays / moving house / hair salons / pubs / restaurants etc etc while they’ve all been shut down.

Those aren’t “Excess savings”. Those are “Savings”, and “Rainy Day Funds”, and “Sticking something away in a pension pot” and “An opportunity to save up for a deposit or pay down your mortgage early”. The kind of thing, incidentally, that people were previously being encouraged to have rather than wasting it all on avocado toast and fancy coffee and flatscreen TVs and smartphones and whatnot. That’s what they are.

Let the people on the rich list spend their “Excess savings” first to rebalance the economy, and then we can talk…