Archive for the Government Spending Category

No free lunch. Defaults today mean less jam tomorrow

Potential defaults in the Euro zone have been in the news again. In Portugal, the ruling coalition parties and the main opposition Socialists have been unable to agree on a European Union-led bailout plan after days of talks. Yields on the country’s 10 year bonds have approached 7 per

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The rapid rise of the food bank can’t just be blamed on government austerity

FOOD banks are a rapidly growing phenomenon in the UK. A few years ago, they barely existed, but an estimated half a million people now make use of them every week. On the face of it, it seems that poverty has sadly become endemic since the financial

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A wake-up call for the Department of Transport: do the proper sums, HS2 is worth it

The High Speed 2 rail project is under fire on many fronts. The Nimby protests in the affluent Home Counties have been augmented last week by more weighty criticism by the National Audit Office (NAO) of the scheme. At least, this is how the NAO’s work has

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Scotland could be a scientific test bed for monetary theory

According to the Scottish National Party, after the referendum on independence next year, Scotland will be a land of milk and honey. The highest per capita levels of public expenditure in the UK can easily be sustained. The whole of the revenue from North Sea oil and gas will

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There are errors and errors. Does the Reinhardt and Rogoff miscalculation mean that Osborne should change tack?

The distinguished American academic economists, Carmen Reinhardt and Ken Rogoff, have been very much in the news. Their 2009 book, This Time is Different, was a comprehensive examination of financial crises over the past 800 years. The work received many plaudits and awards. They suggested that when

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Nick Bosanquet: I was wrong to criticise Thatcher in 1981 – but she didn’t go far enough

IF ANYONE doubts Margaret Thatcher’s contribution to reversing decline, they should read Sir Douglas Wass’s remarkable book Decline to Fall. Sir Douglas, formerly permanent secretary to the Treasury, wrote extensively on the 1976 IMF crisis, when Britain was forced to beg for a £2.3bn bailout. It presents

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What would Keynes have said? Ouija board active!

The loss of triple A status on UK government bonds has intensified the demands for a Plan B. So-called Keynesians demand an increase in both public spending and the public sector deficit. What might Keynes himself have said about the current situation? Lacking a Ouija board, I

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Networks, the North and Prosperity

What can be done about the North? The gap between London and the South East grows and grows. The response of many in the political class in the North is the dispiriting whinge of entitlement. The Leader of Newcastle Council has recently attracted national publicity for his

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Today Singapore and Japan, Tomorrow China

It has suddenly become fashionable to be concerned about China’s growth rate slowing down. This is not a matter of a short-run cyclical downturn, with normal service being resumed shortly as the economy roars ahead once more. It is a worry that there will be a permanent

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Tax cuts, public spending and morality

Kier Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has vowed to ‘ramp up’ prosecutions against individuals for tax evasion five-fold in two years. He has made clear his plan to target middle-class earners, citing as examples ‘lawyers, tax consultants and plumbers’, an intriguing perspective on the British class

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