Is there any alternative?

There is a black hole, we are told. A yawning one, that needs to be filled in, oooh, around 10 days from now, or we face some unmentionable doom. Fortunately, after a brief flirtation with Rule by Crazy Libertarian, the grownups are back, prepared to take tough-but-necessary actions such as (checks notes) raise income taxContinue reading “Is there any alternative?”

Unseriousness did not start with Johnson

One of the legacies of the soon-to-be-former prime minister (STBFPM) is a somewhat scrambling of the political spectrum.  As Ian Mulheirn observes, the fiscal approach he precariously allowed is far from right-wing, at least neutering the standard Labour attack on under-funded public services.  Remember, he supported higher taxes to pay for more money for the NHSContinue reading “Unseriousness did not start with Johnson”

The fiscalists vs the monetarists: lacking a common language

My feedstream is perpetually full of people I admire fighting with one another. On Marcus Nunes’ blog, Mark Sadowski has a bit of a go at Simon Wren Lewis for saying it is obvious that the Euro recession is the consequence of contractionary fiscal policy. To people like Mark, and market monetarists like Lars, David BeckworthContinue reading “The fiscalists vs the monetarists: lacking a common language”

A common eurozone bond

The Financial Times helps to resurrect an idea that CentreForum was cautiously plugging a year back. A  common eurozone bond: would provide more accessibility to the markets, help stabilise the continent’s economies and, most importantly, lower the cost of funding, which in turn would ease the burden on taxpayers.Such a bond would create the scopeContinue reading “A common eurozone bond”

Wresting back monetary control, surrendering fiscal

The big headline from Osborne’s first days at the Treasury is his setting up the Office for Budget Responsibility.  Stephanie Flanders describes the move here (she adds an observation about Osborne asking Mervyn King for permission to start cutting) and argues that this is not as significant as Brown giving away power over interest ratesContinue reading “Wresting back monetary control, surrendering fiscal”

Crazy spending, or our lifeline?

To no great surprise, David Cameron has announced an immediate audit of the ‘crazy’ spending of Labour’s last years in power.  Politically, this no doubt makes great sense – “look what those idiots got up to” is perfect scene-setting for the blood-letting that will follow.  But what worries me is what sort of a narrativeContinue reading “Crazy spending, or our lifeline?”

If the answer is Helicopter Money, how do you sell it?

Like I ranted yesterday, GDP is a very poor way of measuring how certain things are getting better.  And my absolutely favourite example is how the Internet has revolutionized the ability to interact with and eavesdrop upon thinkers and teachers – whom one would previously have had to ambush in some University corridor. An exampleContinue reading “If the answer is Helicopter Money, how do you sell it?”

#bigotgate distracts from important message: IFS very +ve for LibDems

Prior to #bigotgate, I had hoped that the world would tune in, agog, to my take on the IFS’s take on the fiscal situation.  Fat chance now. (I think the best observation comes from my favourite tweeter.) Anyway, back to business.  You will have read commentary such as this from the Guardian which tends toContinue reading “#bigotgate distracts from important message: IFS very +ve for LibDems”

Online calculators rule

I’m sure most of you will have already played with the the FT’s online deficit buster.  So too has Adam Boulton, but when he asked Mandy to give some of his own brutal preferences, he got a prolonged smackdown, culminating in the undeniable “neither the IFS nor the FT are standing in this election”. TheContinue reading “Online calculators rule”

Freethinking Economist

Economic advice. No longer special.