Thursday, March 23, 2006

The budget

Sorry I've been away for a while, final weeks of a degree so it's been quite intense. To keep you happy, the following is adapted from a comment I wrote somewhere about the budget.

Firstly, I do wish Brown would stop distinguishing between 'public sector borrowing' and 'borrowing for investment', it's plainly fraudulent. On the other hand, Britain's infrastructure was so gutted by the Tories, that a heck of a lot needed to be borrowed. Let him play his semantical games if he will (this acceptance may have something to do with spin being so much easier to swallow when it comes with a dour Fife accent than a high-pitched Fettesian/Etonian one). The main thing in the budget is that spending has slowed and this ties in nicely with the government getting tough on bailouts after the bonanza in the health service in a market-efficiency sort of way.

There is nothing like the crisis in public finances that Diddy Cameron are decrying: national debt is still pretty average by historical levels. I can't stand the way some (e.g.) talk as if the public sector doesn't actually do anything. What utter shit. How is it that social workers, nurses and teachers are thought to be wasteful while corporate lawyers and producers of iPods
are thought to be doing something worthwhile? If economies are to grow sustainably, they need a solid infrastructure, both social and economic. This is where dynamic efficiency comes from not an economy stripped to it bare arse by short run growth fetishism.*

Another point upon which some need a colo-craneal separation procedure is on the environment - don't those jokes about global warming improving the weather just get better? Brown missed his chance on the environment today. Britain should be hiking up pollution taxes (of course not too fast, remember prudence) not only for the environment's sake. If the world is committed to tackling climate change, green industries will be big business, so why not gain those competences ASAP? That the most prominent wind turbine companies are Danish goes some way to proving this point.


*I recently mentioned a paper which analysed the correlation between poverty reduction programs and productivity. Guess what? It ain't negative! Okun must be rolling in his grave.

2 comments:

Tory Convert said...

Hiking up the Climate Change Levy will be counterproductive if British industry then complains so much that concessions have to be made to allow it to pollute more.

Also, caution is required if arguing for increases in the CCL when it is being used in conjunction with emissions trading. There will be interactions between the two policies.

For more info on both points see here.

My fist of flounce said...

Notice fluff-fans, the fragile veneer of Cameron's environmentalism. It takes barely a suggestion of serious action on climate change and we see how the Tories go squealing back to business.

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