The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology.
Back in 2005, I said, “The Euro is the worst economic idea since the recession-era, Smoot-Hawley Tariff. The economies of European nations are doomed by the Euro.” I said that because the euro, or specifically the rules surrounding the euro, transformed a group of monetarily sovereign nations into helpless, monetarily non-sovereign nations.
These were nations that thirty years earlier had rejected the straightjacket of the gold standard, only to adopt the straightjacket of the euro standard. One EU nation, England, was wise enough to reject the euro. It still uses the pound sterling. So England is the only monetarily sovereign EU nation.
Alas, England has forgotten why it rejected the euro, and now has begun to act as though it were monetarily non-sovereign. Here is the headline for today’s article in the Washington Post, by Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi: “British budget cuts to include nearly 500K job losses”
The article says, “The measures announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will span four years and include an average cut of 19 percent in central government departments’ budgets, an $11 billion reduction in welfare spending and an increase in the pension-eligibility age to 66. The government acknowledged that 490,000 public-sector jobs would be lost over the four years as result of the cuts.”
Osborne went on to say, “The cuts deal decisively with the largest budget deficit this House of Commons has ever had to face outside of wartime.”
Isn’t austerity wonderful? What a clever way to cure the recession: Destroy 500K jobs. But what choice do they have? As long as they mistakenly believe they are not monetarily sovereign, and so cannot afford budget deficits, they are required to cut spending and/or to raise taxes, both of which will send the English economy into a tailspin.
So England is doomed, because the debt-hawks have taken over.
In a similar vein, the debt-hawk Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (what an ironic name), has posted a questionnaire titled “In Search of Fiscal Responsibility: Ten Questions to Ask the Candidates.” The ten questions boil down to one: Would you rather have a tax increase or have certain federal programs cut? I urge you to go to their site and see what your answers would be.
Of course, the questionnaire is based on their false premise that cutting the deficit will benefit the economy. If you write to their president, Maya MacGuineas, as I have many times, and ask, “What evidence do you have that the federal deficit is unsustainable, and the budget should be cut?, you either will receive no answer (likely) or you will be given non-sequitur answers like, “The deficit is a high percentage of GDP.” Try it yourself. Her Email is:email@example.com
Meanwhile, watch England fall – unless it comes to its senses.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
No nation can tax itself into prosperity. Those who say the stimulus “didn’t work” remind of the guy whose house is on fire. A neighbor runs with a garden hose and starts spraying, but the fire continues. The neighbor wants to call the fire department, which would bring the big hoses, but the guy says, “Don’t call. As you can see, water doesn’t put out fires.”