Thursday, 18 October 2012

British government finds new ways to cook the books.

Congratulations to John Redwood, the Conservative politician, for asking awkward questions about the government’s latest ideas for masking the full extent of government spending and government debt.

Gordon Brown, Britain’s former Treasury minister was especially skilled at this activity. His efforts made Enron and Bernie Madoff look positively saintly.

What governments SHOULD DO is just pay for all public spending out of tax. That’s simple, straightforward and honest. But then the words “honesty” and “politician” don’t really mix.

In fact it doesn’t even make sense to pay for public INVESTMENT projects via government borrowing. At least according to a paper by a Swiss academic, we’d all be better off if governments just paid for EVERYTHING, including investments, out of tax.

The version of that paper linked to just above is behind a paywall. But I think there are free versions on the internet somewhere – there certainly used to be.

P.S. The above could be construed as insulting towards politicians or the British government, in which case I could be imprisoned. Yes you read that right: anyone in Britain can be arrested for insults. 60% of British politicians oppose this fascist legislation, but that leaves a good 40% who approve. I seem to remember that Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Hitler and Pol Pot approved this sort of legislation as well.

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