Yet the facts are simple enough. Britain and the US are much poorer than they were. In fact, since the pre-2008 “boom” was actually borrowing masquerading as “growth”, it’s truer to say that they are poorer than they thought they were. These are borrowing-junkie economies, incapable of growth in the absence of continuous debt fixes. Take away even half of the deficit (which is what the fiscal cliff really amounted to) and you plunge the US into recession. Cut just £3bn from a £200bn benefits bill are you are accused of heartlessness. Where is the reality in any of this?
It would be all too easy to dismiss British and American politicians (of all persuasions) as being blissfully ignorant of the economic realities. In fact, I suspect that some may be all too well aware that they are presiding over failed systems for which the only question is “when”, not “what”. Their last refuge, it seems to me, is to put off the evil day for as long as they can.Meanwhile here in Ireland we'll borrow €1 billion a month this year; a sign of austerity, apparently. Maybe our politicians need to be more honest with us?