I think the really depressing thing about all of this is that it was so predictable. A child could have seen that the government’s economic philosophy would not reduce the deficit and kickstart growth. There isn’t even a rational capitalist argument for what the government is doing, let alone a moral one. You can read AJP Taylor books from 50 years ago that highlight that the policies attempted in the 1930s were an utter failure.
And we are trying exactly the same thing again, but expecting different results…….. (the definition of stupidity that, isn’t it?)
I remember when the Conservatives first got elected in 2010 and proposed this strategy. Virtually everyone in the mainstream media went along with it, with a few honourable exceptions. The logic of cuts was unassailable for a time.
But it was always nonsense. It astonishes me that so many people completely suspended their critical faculties and went along with something that even a basic understanding of economics and a cursory reading of history would demonstrate was completely doomed to disaster.
The truth is that the government started with an objective, rolling back the state. They then needed to invent a fiction in order to justify their political programme of cuts and privatizations. That fiction created was that excessive government spending caused the debt crisis (even though for most of David Cameron’s tenure as leader of the opposition the Conservatives pledged to match Labour’s spending plans (you know, the ones that were bringing the economy to it’s knees?) The huge bailout (that was initially oppose by the Conservatives) required to save capitalism from itself has almost been written out of the history books. Instead money spent on those least fortunate is blamed. It is an extraordinary inversion of the truth and it angers me so much that these bastards have been allowed to get away with it.
I always wonder if the Tories really do care about economic growth. High unemployment suits them and their paymasters. As long as enough of their support in the South East are doing ok do they really care what happens to the rest of the economy? History, and the policies they are currently pursuing, would suggest not.
Why oh why do we never seem to learn?
Britain has sunk back into recession, its first double-dip downturn since the 1970s.GDP unexpectedly shrank by 0.2% between January and March, following a 0.3% contraction in the fourth quarter of last year, according to the Office for National Statistics. A technical recession is defined as two or more consecutive quarters of economic decline. The figures wrongfooted City economists, who had expected a return to growth of 0.1%.
Double-dip recession a terrible blow for George Osborne
“UK government stands accused of over-cooking austerity and killing off tentative recovery that was under way two years ago.” Larry Elliott
Richard Murphy of Tax Research blog writes today:
Osborne offered us his vision two year ago. It was of “expansionary fiscal contraction”.
His argument was that the more he cut government spending the more people would spend, liberated by knowing that if he succeeded in his aim of balancing the budget tax…
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