Monday, January 07, 2013

Olamic orts of obvious osophy...


Il n’y a pas d’alternative; "Margaret Thatcher’s words were delivered at a different time, but are as relevant as ever": there is no alternative. So concludes Tim Montgomerie's piece in The Times. There is no soft option: well worth a read, summarised here for those not subscribed. "But this [soon to be announced childcare initiatives, a single-tier state pension and help for elderly people to afford long-term care. Women will be the biggest beneficiaries of this programme] is gravy. The coalition’s meat and potatoes remains deficit reduction"; (indeed and don't mention the debt, which is a whole other ball-game!). Deficit reduction is the main objective and must continue despite hiccups and stalling due to international economic strife but also lack of will/commitment (I'll put this down - maybe wrongly - to the yellow part of the coalition). Anyway, I know the feeling: my own deficit reduction hits the same barriers every Christmas :-). Tim's main point is the comparison with France (and Ed Miliband's hopes of a lefty buddy across the water) but "Rather than delivering a sea change in European economic policy Mr Hollande has had to push through France’s toughest budget since the recessionary period of the 1980s."
"The truth is simple. Electorates in the highly indebted West don’t face a choice between anti-austerity politicians and pro-austerity politicians. The real choice is between politicians who are willing to tell voters the truth and politicians who pretend that more than a decade of over-borrowing can be wished away." 
If Mr Hollande has failed them, the international Left still hope that President Obama offers the world a pain-free alternative. Like Mr Hollande, Barack Obama campaigned on the big lie that higher taxes on the rich would solve the deficit."
Plus ça change...

3 comments:

Paul said...

The debt reduction will follow, slowly, any reduction in deficit which has to be a good thing. I think that once again the Coalition missed an important PR trick here by not explaining themselves properly and also not highlighting any intention to keep inflation down which in turn would negate any freezing of benefits in real terms.

Span Ows said...

Not only that but the tax changes also making most losers of benefits pretty much the same or better off. Can you tell me if THIS is accurate (OK, it's from HMG!)

Paul said...

Yes that is accurate, I can't help thinking that the Coalition, having been backed into a corner by Browns last budget, are too weak to change things.

Guido wrote a piece about the tax change on 12 December (I checked didn't know the date off memory!). I argued this point long and hard back in May on a BBC board before I gave up mesageboards (still do blogs and comments). The only thing I disagreed with Guido on was the use of the Laffer curve in his narrative - not on a political point of view although it is a favourite of all right-wing economists - but because it is really an outdated rational regarding tax and investment.

btw - the Coalition aren't 'hiding' that many stealth taxes compared to the predecessors and aren't making that bigger deal of it either.