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David Cameron's Surprise: Permanent Austerity

Peter Z. Scheer
Managing Editor
Peter Scheer grew up in the newspaper business, spending family vacations with his mother at newspaper editors\' conferences, enjoying daycare in editorial departments and begrudgingly reviewing his father\'s…
Peter Z. Scheer

Back in 2010, the British PM began slashing the country’s budget on the promise that temporary cuts were necessary to reduce the deficit and right the economy. Another recession soon followed.

At the time, Cameron said the cuts would be temporary, but Monday he announced, “We need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently.”

Cameron said the government could provide better services with less money. Whether or not that’s true — and common sense has a say in the matter — it’s a diversion from the inevitable question of whether or not he was lying — as some predicted — when he said cuts would be temporary.

Britain got the austerity craze rolling in Europe and Germany has continued to push the idea all around the continent, despite clear evidence that it doesn’t work. As William Pfaff noted, “Keynesianism was murdered in the U.S.A. by a conspiracy called the Washington Consensus.”

John Maynard Keynes was of course the economist who figured out exactly how to deal with the sort of crisis we’re in — by spending more, not less. Pro-business neoliberals and conservatives the world over have worked very hard to make sure Keynes is ignored.

And so as sequestration, American for “austerity,” sets in, we should keep a keen eye on the politicians across the pond, who are now revealing their true intentions, and wonder aloud whether our lot, who use similar rhetoric about deficits, are similarly untrustworthy.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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