With all the theatrics going on in Washington, you might well have missed the most important political and economic news of the week: an official confirmation from the United Kingdom that austerity policies don’t work.
In making his annual Autumn Statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was forced to admit that his government has failed to meet a series of targets it set for itself back in June of 2010, when it slashed the budgets of various government departments by up to thirty per cent. Back then, Osborne said that his austerity policies would cut his country’s budget deficit to zero within four years, enable Britain to begin relieving itself of its public debt, and generate healthy economic growth. None of these things have happened. ...John Cassidy, New Yorker
Some of the best economists warned us (and Britain and Europe) that it would never work, that it's counter-productive. But there are always people who don't believe the stove is hot until they sit on it themselves. What's particularly hateful is the politician who plays with his little theories -- like austerity -- to the cost of everyone else.
Of course when George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer -- Mister Pinchpenny -- goes home he doesn't exactly go home to what we think of as austerity or, uh, "reduced circumstances."