The British government has committed to meeting its deficit problems with austerity rather than stimulus, which has invited a lot of invidious comparisons from this side of the Atlantic. Of course, which country suffers in comparison depends on your political persuasion: the liberals highlight Britain's poor economic performance, while conservatives highlight its sincere and rapid committment to deficit reduction. Kevin Drum points out that the parallels between their conservatives and ours aren't really that strong:
Right or wrong, the British variety are actually serious about the deficit: they've slashed spending but they've also raised taxes and kept high marginal rates for top earners. American conservatives, of course, have no such seriousness: they just want to use the deficit as an excuse to cut social programs that they've hated for decades.
Either way, though, it's not likely to work. Britain is probably going to be paying the price for this folly for many years to come.
I agree with the first paragraph, but the second illustrates exactly the peril of viewing Britain's cuts through an American lens. Even if you think that stimulus is a good idea for America, that wouldn't mean that it was a good idea for the Brits. Britain has a much smaller, much more open economy than we do. That means that the country is more vulnerable to a run on its currency or its debt than we are. The ruling coalition would say that it also means that stimulus is less effective--stimulus dollars spent in Britain will "leak" more readily into other countries.
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