Friday, July 18, 2008
This story in the Telegraph, with a very unflattering picture of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, provides one more indication that, although they got a late start, the U.K. is catching up to the U.S. very quickly in the economic woe/shattered confidence departments.
It seems there's a rapidly escalating budget problem across the pond. Though their £24.4 billion shortfall seems puny next to the one in the U.S., according this handy table in The Economist, theirs is one of the highest in the world as a percent of GDP.
You'd think that, after more than a decade of prosperity, pesky annoyances like deficits would have been set on a long stable course to weather any downturn. That's what they seem to think on the other side of the aisle in Parliament, that is, if they have an aisle.
David Cameron, the Conservative leader, criticised Mr Brown for having built up a mountain of debt despite having presided over an era of strong economic growth. He said: "Something went wrong. We need to make some very large changes in terms of economic policy."One of the other nails in his coffin must have been selling 395 tonnes of their gold - more than half of what they had at the time - at firesale prices of about $275 an ounce six or eight years ago.
A Conservative spokesman added: "This is a final nail in the coffin of Gordon Brown's reputation for economic competence. He repeatedly staked that reputation on his fiscal rules, and now we're told that the Treasury is having to re-write the rules because the Government has lost control of the public finances".