If you believe the media, the Con-Dem coalition government are deadly serious about cutting the budget deficit, and will quickly make serious in-roads on the national debt too. Apparently, they're so serious that they are going to kill the economy with their rabid devastation of the public budgets.
However, according to National Statistics (via the BBC), I read today that last month our beloved government ran a deficit of £14.5bn, which they had to borrow from international investors and which thereby increased the national debt by this amount. This is a VERY large amount of money, only just short of that which was needing to be borrowed a year earlier when we were still in crisis and money was being sloshed about by New Labour like it was sweetie-water.
Anyone who believes the line that (a) the Con-Dems have already taken a hatchet to the economy with their "cuts", and (b) that thinks the long term results would have been better if only they would just spend even MORE money that they don't have, is just plain crazy -- but would you care to buy London Bridge from me for a very large sum of money perhaps..?
(A) the "cuts" so far are just cuts to Labour's planned increases, as far as I can see
(B) if you think taking on more debt will be the way out of a massive debt problem, then you really should seek professional assistance immediately because you will quickly find yourself bankrupt. The laws of mathematics are not different for governments than they are for individuals, the numbers are just bigger. There is, however, one slight difference between individuals and the government these days -- you can't print up the money you need to pay your debts, but they can. They call it "quantitative easing", but really it's just a counterfeiting operation. The more money they create, the less each of the Pounds in circulation is worth. This is inflation. This is how the debts will be taken care of, eventually. This is how governments believe "deficits don't matter". This is why "the rich" don't have a lot of cash, but they do have a lot of assets bought with debt -- they know that cash will only go down in value over the long term, and so will the real cost of repaying debts.
However, there are good times to get rich by taking on debts, and there are good times to go broke from doing the same thing. Before we get to "eventually", where all currently heavy debt loads then seem trivial, we have to survive through a period of serious credit destruction, which will be a highly deflationary force. So tread carefully.
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
So much for fiscal austerity, eh?
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