Well we keep getting awful stats and figures in about the economy. Things in the UK aren’t going well, and recovery doesn’t seem near. But despite all the rhetoric of “serious cuts” by the chancellor, we haven’t (as I’ve mentioned a number of times before) actually had any cuts. As Frazier Nelson so articulately writes in the Telegraph, the problem with ‘Osbornomics’ is that there’s no red meat under the narrative:
So this, it seems, is Osbornomics: political stardust but an economic placebo. Winning arguments, but losing the battle for growth. Increasing debt faster than almost anyone else in Europe, while haughtily lecturing the Continentals about borrowing. Leaving Britain marooned in the middle of a Japanese-style “zero era”, with low growth, low employment and zombie banks – but not being blamed for it. It is an act of political brilliance, which very few politicians could pull off. The question is whether Osborne will finally summon some economic brilliance to match.
Quite a few on the left are attacking the UK’s policy of “savage cuts” as the reason for our lack of growth. But the real reason for our trouble is that we haven’t had any cuts. In fact, the Tory-led coalition is spending more now than at any time during the dark Gordon Brown era.
Before the election, Osborne was right to condem and warn people about the Gordon Brown/Ed Balls plan for allowing the British government debt to increase by 60%. But by allowing a large increase in spending, (and with no tax cuts to help stimulate growth and economic recovery), he’s going to preside over a 61% increase! Debt is shifting up to £1.4 trillion, compared to Gordon Brown’s pre-election proposal of £1.37 trillion.
It’s all very well to warn people about the “age of austerity”‘ and Osborne is right to have gotten people ready for the harder economic times we’re now living in. But he has to actually inact some real austerity and supply-side tax cuts or the harsher times we’re now facing will be here for a much longer period of time, and may all be for nothing.