On the economic knowledge of Neil Clark

But the coalition, using the excuse of cutting the deficit – which as a percentage of GDP is significantly lower than it was in 1945 when the Labour government built the NHS and the welfare state

Gosh, really?

You mean that in the last year of a world war the budget deficit was higher than it is now? My, my, that is a surprise.

Oh, and of course, the NHS was founded in 1948, at a time when Major Atlee had been running budget surpluses for a couple of years.

Clark\’s a cretin of course but I fear that we\’re going to see him in The Guardian quite a lot in the future. He\’s a convenient idiot for them to parade before the mob.

9 comments on “On the economic knowledge of Neil Clark

  1. The welfare state started with free schooling in the 19th century. It expanded with unemployment insurance and old age pensions before WWI. The claim that it was Labour’s doing is farcically inaccurate.

  2. You mean that in the last year of a world war the budget deficit was higher than it is now? My, my, that is a surprise.

    That doesn’t really matter from the POV of the argument, though.

    It doesn’t matter whether the reason the UK’s national debt is currently 60%ish of GDP is that we bailed out the banks, or because Evil One Eyed Idiot Man gave the money to feckless single mums, or whether Peter Mandelson transferred squillions of pounds to his secret Caymans bank account. Historians can have that debate; they doubtless will.

    But that’s done, gone, sunk costs – the fact now is that the national debt is 60% of GDP. And the fact in 1946 was that the national debt was 250% of GDP.

    Yes, the 1946 debt was certainly virtuously acquired – but that didn’t affect our ability to pay it back, or the fact that the government of the time decided the best way to pay it back was to jack up taxes rather than to shaft the poor.

  3. They did, Johnny. Then everyone got sick of constant rationing long after the war was won, Imperial contraction and general 1940s malaise and re-elected Winston.

    They still didn’t pay back the debt, by the way.

  4. This idea of ‘virtuous’ and ‘non-virtuous’ debt is very Polly or come to think of it, Neil Clark. I think they’re rubbing off on you.

    The Ecnomist had a good article last week about pensions, noting that 50% of pension fund assets are govt bonds, ie claims on the taxpayer.

  5. The Ecnomist had a good article last week about pensions, noting that 50% of pension fund assets are govt bonds, ie claims on the taxpayer.

    Or “loans to the government” that people expect to get repaid?

  6. @ john b
    National Debt as a %age of GDP peaked just prior to devaluation which effectively amounted to a partial default.
    In 1945 debt was 215% of GDP, not 250%. Attlee’s government didn’t pay any of it back. In money terms it rose from £21.5bn to £26bn.

  7. All delightfully and succinctly summed-up by commenter “MrJoe”…

    “The deficit and national debt are the highest they have ever been with the exception, as you point out, of the aftermath of the world wars. In other words, the only two events in modern history that have caused greater economic damage to Britain than the Labour party from 1997-2010 are WWI and WWII.”

    🙂

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