Tea party poopers

 

         Listening to the BBC you could get the impression that the tea party minority in the Congress has the power and the wish to wreck the world’s financial system. We heard stories about how their refusal to vote for a Republican compromise threatened world bond markets, banks and the world economy. A day later a Republican proposal did pass the Congress. The Democrats then imposed a veto on  that in the Senate, but did not get the same blame for threatening the financial system.

         Let me begin by saying I am no card carrying tea party Republican. They propose different remedies for a different country. I myself do not think a western democracy is able to  cut public spending by 10% in cash terms in a single year, given the politics and the way western governments are run. Companies and individuals sometimes have to do that and do do that, but different rules seem to apply to governments. When it comes to cutting spending by around 10% of GDP, that’s a very tall order indeed. That’s what it would take to cut out the whole deficit in one go.  

         Nor, however, is it right to say it is  just the tea party members who are holding an otherwise sane world to ransom. They are making at least two  fair points. They are saying that the problem of too much borrowing can best be solved by spending less.  They are arguing that if the US goes on boosting spending and borrowing with never a thought for tomorrow or how you might pay it back, it will all end in tears as it has in Greece and Portugal.

          The BBC should apply its critical faculties to the Democrat position as well. Why doesn’t the President lift the spectre of world banking and market melt down by saying that whatever happens on the debt ceiling, the US will of course honour its debts and pay the interest on its bonds? He could do that now, immediately. The US collects huge sums in taxes, that cover the bulk of the state ‘s spending. Surely he could indicate that the tax revenue will be used to ensure no default? He says default is a bad idea, so why doesn’t he rule it out? He could also reassure key state employees that their wages will be paid from the tax revenues. There are plenty of other items of spending that could be deferred or cancelled.

           He still needs to argue with Democrat and Republican Senators and Congressmen about the pace of introduction of sensible spending controls, and any tax revenue rises they think they need. This need not be done under  the pressure of a threatened default. The truth is the tea party minority do not have the votes to veto a higher debt ceiling and higher spending. The  Democrats need to set out various budget proposals, and settle for the highest spending version which moderate Republicans will accept.

           The USA, like most other western governments, is spending and borrowing too much. The sooner it takes action to rein it in, the better. Fiscal stimulus is no longer working to boost the western economies. It is increasingly dragging them down by the weight of the debts, and the growing fears that some countries will be unable or unwilling to repay them. The US is just adding to the tensions by this foolish posturing.

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68 Comments

  1. Antisthenes
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    This is more about the 2012 election than sorting out the US debt and budget deficit. Obama wants to kick the can down the road until after the election and the Republicans want the the can to roll up to Obama’s doorstep on the eve of the election so that the voters will be focused on the economic mess that Obama has got the country into.

    • wab
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      To fix the typo in your comment: “the economic mess that Bush got the country into”. It is one of the sillier talking points of the Republicans that the mess is the fault of Obama, but it is not. Two unfunded Bush wars and the Bush tax cuts are what caused most of the problem, the global financial meltdown (which happened under Bush) are the cause of most of the rest.

      • APL
        Posted August 1, 2011 at 12:46 am | Permalink

        wab: ” .. sillier talking points ..”

        Actually, back as far as Clinton.

        • Vimeiro
          Posted August 1, 2011 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          ..actually it goes back further to Reagan and Carter before him…

  2. lojolondon
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    The situation is really simple. Obama wants to take the Gordon Brown route of politics way – spending uncontrolled until the next election. The bulk of Americans know that and do not want to be left with that problem – a lifetime of debt to lengthen one man’s political career (sound familiar?). The Republicans are proposing a raising of the debt ceiling that would necessitate firm cuts or else the president would have to request a second raising of the ceiling before the elections next year. THIS is the proposal that the president is rejecting.
    The BBC is totally biased, supporting Obama against all his faults, and never reporting his errors, totally in contrast to their Bush reporting.

    BTW – Obama made this quote when he, along with all the other Democrats, refused to raise the debt ceiling in 2006 when G Bush proposed an increase.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/256288/senator-barack-obama-explaining-his-2006-vote-against-raising-debt-limit-andrew-c-mcca

    • Tim
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      The BBC have a centre of political gravity that is way to the left of centre. It is in their DNA and they just can’t see it. The BBC should be privatised and then it can sink or swim by its products, including the news. I no longer watch any news or current affairs programmes from the BBC as I irrationally start to shout at the screen!!

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted August 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        “… as I irrationally start to shout at the screen!!”

        It’s not irrational.

  3. Stuart Fairney
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    ‘I myself do not think a western democracy is able to cut public spending by 10% in cash terms in a single year, given the politics and the way western governments are run’

    I agree. Even if we had a party that wanted to do this and people voted for it. Can we have no more lectures about illusory democracy and free choice.

    • APL
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Stuart Fairney: “Even if we had a party that wanted to do this and people voted for it.”

      Isn’t fiscal responsibility what we expect of the Tories?

    • wab
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      People would vote for it only because they would have no clue what this really means, in terms of actual cuts. So one possibility would be to cut uniformly across the board, except for interest on debt (say). This means a more than 10% cut in pensions, the NHS, schools, etc. Suddenly people will not be so keen on this idea of cuts. People are only keen if it is other people who lose out from the cuts, not they themselves. Just read the comments on this blog to see proof of that.

      • Stuart Fairney
        Posted August 1, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        “People would vote for it only because they would have no clue what this really means, in terms of actual cuts”

        I do not pretend to know how other people think.

  4. lifelogic
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    You say “I myself do not think a western democracy is able to cut public spending by 10% in cash terms in a single year” this is quite possible even without any reduction in services and would be good for nearly every one. All that is lacking is political will and the gerneral ingrained big state socialism caused by of the BBC, the education system, many charities and all three main political parties in the UK and public sector unions.

    “The BBC should apply its critical faculties” it has none just a core religious belief system ingrained in the the brains of the Guardian recruited staff. It is for a ever larger state, ever more regulation of everything, ever more global warming exaggerations and scare stories, public transport bikes good/cars planes bad, labour good, Tories always nasty. Thatcher, Murdoch, Tebbit and Dr Beeching are always to blame for everything.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Also of course the BBC is for the suffocating, non democratic, EU, and the top down big state command economy it espouses.

      • rose
        Posted July 31, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        And the BBC wants the welfare state here to serve the whole world.

        • APL
          Posted August 1, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          rose: “And the BBC wants the welfare state here to serve the whole world.”

          What would you expect from a group of people who don’t have to earn their living, because they can threaten to throw you in goal if you do not pay for their product.

          Doesn’t matter if you want it or not.
          Doesn’t matter if the quality is good.
          Pay for it or else!

      • andydan
        Posted July 31, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        To be fair to the BBC, they did have a very good interview with Terry Smith on Friday at about 7.30 am (Today programme), where he was able to explain in just under 7 minutes, and without interruption, the sort of economic truths that people have been making on this site for years. Listen to it here.
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9550000/9550990.stm

      • Bazman
        Posted July 31, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        Would you think the cutting of consumers rights, no protection for workers, and no maternity pay would be a good idea? As the BBC says. ‘What the Tories would really like to do’ A race to the bottom. D0 you think it was really anything else?

        • rose
          Posted August 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

          If the BBC want no borders then a race to the bottom is what they are going to get.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Sky says the exact same things. I trust you hate them for the same reason.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Today I read that HMRC cannot be bothered to answer about half of the telephone calls to it (usually on expensive chargeable numbers now). So they keep you waiting then just hang up saying something like “get lost and ring back later”. Even if you do get through then you usually get some one with little more knowledge of the subject than someone who has spent 20 minutes reading a leaflet on the subject so have to hold again for someone else.

      So they and the government create an absurdly complex system then often balls up the admin and computer software, then they cannot bother to answer the phone or even take a message when you ring in to correct it (and rarely act on letters either). They thus wast hours of productive people’s time, decreasing their profits, reducing tax revenues and impoverishing the nation and the tax payer in the process. A bit like the rest of government.

      Good plan HMRC!

    • Bazman
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Motorbikes take up less space, do not cause traffic jams, cause less pollution, and still blow your car into the weeds… Clarkson hates em’. Mainly because they take skill and are faster than a Bugatti Veyron, well at least the one I’ve got. Interesting to see how he fits into the hacking scandle. Dave’s mate apparently and like Dave a one trick pony.

      • rose
        Posted August 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        Motor bikes stink and make a deafening noise. Much worse than the loud and polluting cars Clarkson loves. They are also even more dangerous, especially when the rider is in black.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted August 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Large numbers of motorcyclists are involved in accidents, many will be hospitalised at leat once in their riding lifetime, as a result of a collision or falling off and they are routinely stolen. Their emissions per weight is very poor.

  5. davidb
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    You forget that Obama can do no wrong in the eyes of the BBC.

    To be fair I did catch an interview with an American on the Beeb a month or so back who reckoned the problem of the US defecit could be remedied without the world ending. The bit I remember was that the US medicare ststem paid considerably more than European health systems for the same drugs and that swallowed a lot of their spending. He also I think pointed out the sacred cow status of the medicare system ( ‘tho I might be mixing up 2 reports ). The voters seem to support 2 contrary positions.

    I have seen other stories over the last year regarding the amount of taxes raised from large corporations in the US and elsewhere. I strongly disapprove of business taxation ( I am holding 2 contrary positions here ), however the larger organisations seem adept at using all manner of devices, domicile registration, transfer arrangements and the like to minimise their tax bills. However clever this is we seem to have a situation in western countries where the business tax burden is borne by (smaller?) domestic enterprises while giant multinationals avoid it. Perhaps there should be international agreement to ensure that taxes are low but are paid somewhere. I cite specifically Google, but I seem to recall that the balance of fortune 500 companies were good at it. Like our own country, complex tax codes and high rates seem counterproductive.

    • Martyn
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Holding 2 contrary positions? Nothing new or wrong with that – Blair developed it into a new art form, the only difference being that he refused to acknowledge or accept that is what he was doing!

  6. Dr Alf Oldman
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I broadly support John Redwood’s argument here, especially about balanced reporting from the BBC.

    In my view, President Obama has not come out of this well – he does not seem to have the right leadership to unite the country. Also President Obama does not appear to have publically recognised America’s responsibilities to the rest of the World – China has a right to be angry.

    However, there is still a strong case to answer on taxation policy for the Republicans. The White House has released a graphical analysis of the debt build-up: it provides convincing evidence that the debt escalation was mirrored by President Bush’s tax cuts.

    I have sympathy for many of the Democrats’ social policies but they need to be effectively financed. If the US people want more “social nets” in place, like in many European countries, then the bottom line is that taxation probably needs increasing. Perhaps, it is time for the US to introduce a Federal Value Added Tax?

    I am cautiously optimistic that a political solution to the the US borrowing ceiling will be found in time.

    Irrespective of the outcome in the US, World leaders will need to focus on lessons learned.

    • Andy
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      You shouldn’t be surprised. Obama is a career (from Chicago) politican. He’s been nothing and done nothing. He was far too young for the office, just like Blair.

  7. alan jutson
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    John

    What a strange world we live in!

    People the world over now seem to expect, and want, many governments to spend more than they recieve in taxes.

    Yes cutting by 10% or more in one year may be difficult, but if you do not try you end up like the UK, playing at it, and then find out its not working at all.

    I see Norman Tebbit is voicing his concerns about our own problems here in the Uk in The Mail on Sunday today. I do believe he is getting very, very frustrated (like many of us) at the non action.

    Why on earth politicians(yourself excepted) cannot outline the problems to the electorate in a simple and factual manner I do not understand.

    You simply cannot spend more than you earn on a regular basis, without getting into a growing debt situation.

    Perhaps its time we really got back to basics and scrapped all credit cards, and requested cash be paid for everything at the time the goods and services were purchased. !
    Yes aware it will not solve our prolems, but at least it is a start in the right direction of once again learning budget and money management.

    Reply: Years of wonky briefing and media coverage have led too many to believe that every penny of state spending is necessary and well judged. My modest proposal that we froze state spending in cash terms in 2010-11 would by now be saving us £32 billion a year, with that much less debt, but that proved too much for the UK government who went ahead with a 5.3% increase.

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the answer John.

      Yes well aware that you have put forward very sensible proposals, time and time again, as have many who contribute to this site, shame those who pull the levers of power do not seem to see such commonsense and logic.

      Perhaps they believe in their own spin, Peter Pan and Never Never land.

  8. Iain
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Oh come on you know the BBC will never never criticise or scrutinise policies of the left, it considers the policies of the left are the norm and everything else judged from that norm. The BBC had to be dragged kicking and screaming to even recognising that people had a point about the EU, mass immigration, and multiculturalism, and why the BBC gives Cameron a hard time about ‘cuts’ when he is a tax and spend Prime Minister, he’s just not a big enough tax and spend Prime Minister in the BBC’s view, and why they have completely failed to scrutinise Cameron’s ridiculous Aid policies.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      “The BBC had to be dragged kicking and screaming to even recognising that people had a point about the EU, mass immigration, and multiculturalism”

      Can you post a link to this.

      “why they have completely failed to scrutinise Cameron’s ridiculous Aid policies”

      I can’t recall Sky News doing this either. I trust you blame them as well.

      • Iain
        Posted July 31, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        “I can’t recall Sky News doing this either. I trust you blame them as well.”

        No, why should I ? I don’t buy their services. The Guardian is left wing, but I don’t buy their services either, so don’t complain about them. It is only the BBC I am forced to buy by force of law, which demands that they are politically impartial, which they aren’t.

        • APL
          Posted August 1, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

          Iain: “The Guardian [snip] so don’t complain about them.

          Don’t forget with the numerous ways the BBC cross subsidizes the Guardian, if you do have a TV which implies you must pay the licence fee, you are paying for the Guardian too even if you don’t want the rag.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Cameron is a tax and waste prime minister (not tax and spend).

  9. Matthew S. Dent
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Interesting that you don’t mention that the Democrats have proposed a plan which would sort this issue for the forseeable future (which as well as electioneering, you could see as laying the foundations for a stable economy and stronger recovery), containing both sizable cuts and tax increases for the wealthiest (i.e. the ones who can most afford it). What is causing an impasse is the Tea Party politicians within the Republican Party refusing to countenance any tax rises, and thus insisting on placing the burden entirely on the poorer members of society who will be more affected by such cuts.

    I do agree that Obama ought to take the sting out of the issue by promising that all debts will be honoured (as, really, they will be even if the deadline isn’t met.

    The issue with the Tea Party is not whether they exercise a veto, but that the moderates within the Republican party are afraid that they will seize control of popular opinion again like they did last year (which, in my opinion, they won’t) and turn the public against them come the next elections.

  10. Electro-Kevin
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    The West has been relying on ‘fiscal stimulus’ to prop up its standard of living for decades in fact. It just manifested itself differently as it went through various transitions.

    Primarily an inflationary policy which begat the property boom – aka ‘money for nothing’

    Clinton ‘lending to …. men in string vests’ – dotcom bubble which should have resulted in recession but … Bin Laden hit the Twin Towers and that recession was averted by record (emergency) low interest rates – this further compounded Clinton’s error and we ended up with the debt crisis spiralling out of control against an already established culture of borrowing to keep us in DFS sofas and Xboxes.

    All that’s come to a head.

    Basically we’re too soft and pudgy in the West and we need to man-up.

  11. Martyn
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    All this (the US, the UK and in particular the EU) financial shambles with prevaricating, posturing politicians and in the case of the EU, unelected commisars brings to mind the image of Nero fiddling madly whilst Rome burns……

  12. Acorn
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    “The US collects huge sums in taxes, that cover around 90% of the state ‘s spending” [JR]. I assume you mean “federal” government spending not “State” governments spending? Anyway it is 56%. August cash flow is projected to be $172 billion in and $306 billion out. Federal debt interest is $29 billion of the latter, for the month.

  13. English Pensioner
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    The Tea Party may be all sorts of things according to whose view you read, but as far I as I am concerned they appear to be the only group of politicians who are trying to keep their promises.
    This is a rarity, which is why Obama and left wing organisations like the BBC can’t understand; normally politicians say one thing to get elected and once elected find “good” reasons why they have to do something else.

    In any case, their Treasury still has taxation revenue coming in which you say can meet about 90% of the US expenditure. Just like any household where the income has been cut, say due to short-time working, the expenditure will have to be prioritised to cover essential items such as the mortgage. The Tea Party aren’t asking for the debt to be cut (yet) they just didn’t want to borrow any more, I just wish we had some politicians that took the same attitude.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      “In any case, their Treasury still has taxation revenue coming in which you say can meet about 90% of the US expenditure.”

      Sucks if you’re one of the 10% who doesn’t get paid. Maybe Congressmen and Senators should be included in this 10% for failing to reach a compromise.

  14. APL
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    JR: “Listening to the BBC you could get …”

    Cameron has been leading the government for over a year and he hasn’t done anything about the BBC, that is his fault.

    Stop whinging about the BBC and do something about it.

    As to profligate government spending, this below is from Cspan but I bet you my next months wages, YOU could get up in the commons and make an identical speech about the British government waste.

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/SenRe/start/14756/stop/16376

  15. Amanda
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    And what is being done to address ‘media plurality’ and the monopoly of the BBC? Is Mr Patten (or is it Lord now) on top of his remit, or not? Until the BBC is brought to heel, and does a proper job, our ‘democracy’ will not stand a chance or regaining its teeth. The recent witch-hunts of the Murdoch press and right-wing thinkers have been truly sickening; the BBC’s bias against the US tea party is just more of the latter.
    etc

  16. Bob
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I wish to protest in the strongest possible terms.
    The BBC Trustees are not doing the job for which they are paid.
    Why should I be forced to fund an organisation that produces leftist propaganda?
    The left fear the Tea Party, because of it’s potential to spread to the UK and further afield. It’s time the licence fee was abolished and British people were left to decide where to spend their own money. If they choose to pay a subscriber funded BBC then that at least would be their own free choice. Alternatively, the very least that should be done is that the Trustees should be sacked for their culpability.

    To link this to your previous post about the EU, this is why I believe the Tories will not cut off the BBC’s funding, as they both support the subjugation of the UK. It was the Tories who took us into the EEC under Ted Heath on the premise it was a free trade agreement, and it was the Tories who took us into the EU under John Major and he would have taken us into the Euro if it hadn’t been for George Soros forcing his government to quit the ERM.

  17. APL
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    JR: “They (the tea party) are making at least two fair points. ”

    Three, that politicians say ‘cuts’ but don’t actually mean a reduction in spending. Politicians actually mean a reduction in the rate of increase in spending, that is dishonest and not what we should have to put up with from a body – in this case the Commons – which has the historicaly legitimate brief to control spending.

    The Commons has failed in its primary goal. As a result it is useless, and so for the same reason are the people who sit there!

  18. rose
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    This time the BBC has so overdone its obfuscation of the facts that its usual message “Obama is the saviour of the world” has been somewhat obscured too.

    It is always easier to whip up hatred against an individual – Bush or Murdoch, say – than to explain a situation when there is no one individual to hate. (They would obviously like to hate an individual called Sarah Palin, but they did too good a job on demolishing her last time.)

  19. Gary
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    We have arrived at the point in this Wonderland where the ratings agencies are threatening to downgrade the USA because it WON’T raise the debt ceiling ie. go deeper into debt !!

    You cannot make it up.

  20. StevenL
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    “He could also reassure key state employees that their wages will be paid from the tax revenues.”

    Like Mr Geithner and Mr Bernanke you mean? If they do hit the debt ceiling is there anything to stop Bernanke forgiving some of the debt he holds on the Fed’s balance sheet?

  21. norman
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I think Cameron has to view the BBC as a good thing. Look at the situation in the USA where they have a healthy (although the left would say unhealthy, if not downright toxic) plurality of media including a strong right wing presence on radio (talk radio) and cable (Fox News) balanced by a left wing print media and traditional cable news networks (CNN, MSNBC).

    The Republicans know they can’t not produce the goods as these pundits will be waiting to dig into the small print of any proposed deal and won’t hold back if they think they are giving in to the tax & spend democrats.

    Here in the UK Cameron knows he can produce the most tepid of conservative policies safe in the knowledge that he’ll never realy be attacked from the right (the odd article here and there but nothing sustained) and the attacks from the left by BBC only serve to strengthen his position with right of centre voters – after all, if the BBC are attacking him so severely he must be doing something right.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted August 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Talk radio shows are often what you refer to as ‘right-wing’ or populist because they are representative of the public. They talk about issues the public (or peasants, prols, chavs to the left-wing establishment elite) are interested in and affect them in ways that the above manage to avoid. This is why they are detested by the socialists.

  22. Mark
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Of course, the US is, de facto defaulting via inflation, as most governments do these days. That can work and avoid a de jure default when deficit spending can be reined in so that the debt is no longer increasing above the rate of inflation, so that its real burden decreases. The problem with lack of deficit control is that the rate of deflation required to achieve this degree of disguised default increases, eventually undermining the entire currency in hyperinflation. This is relatively simple mathematics: perhaps journalists and politicians should try to convey it more honestly.

  23. Neil Craig
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I think it greatly to the American people’s credit that the odds are that they will elect somebody committed to such real cuts in government spending. If a President is elected on that basis there clearly will be the political will to do so.

    If that happens it may well be that the refusal of British politicians, of all parties, to discuss what needed cutting during the last election, and general failure to do it since, will look like cowardice in the face of a mirage.

    The BBC is, of course, shown its total contempt for its legal duty of balance. I think most of the big government bias in British politics, compared to among Americans, can be put down to the BBC’s stranglehold on the media. If PBS was 70% of the US media and Fox was being banned dissent in America would be difficult too.

    My understanding is that the US federal borrowing is about 30-40% of spending not 10%. This looks worse than in Britain but a much smaller deficit at the State level (except in California) may balance it.

  24. oldtimer
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    The problems of the USA and earlier of Ireland, Greece et al has been helpful to the Coalition in distracting attention from the UK`s many problems with tackling its deficit. No doubt you have read the Tullett Prebon report, issue no 7 Thinking the Unthinkable, which they have posted online here:
    http://www.tullettprebon.com/strategyinsights/index.aspx

    This is a very sobering analysis of the UK predicament with the conclusion that the chances of the UK pulling out of the debt vortex rated as very low. Although it is obvious to you, and many posters here, that the Coalition needs to do more to restrain public spending and to incentivise work and business some ministers seem to disagree. This is evident from their opposition to sensible tax changes, such as the removal of the 50p top rate and the the belief that more quantitative easing will provide the answer. Clearly there is much more that the Coalition could do but there does not appear to be the will to do it. I fear it will end badly.

  25. uanime5
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Interesting to see so many people criticising the BBC when Sky News has been saying the same things. I believe only Fox News is supporting the Tea Party position.

    Anyway the Republicans got the blame even though the Democrats vetoed the bill for passing a bill that has no chance of being approved in the Senate. The Democrats should not be forced to accept a bill just because the Republican controlled Congress approves of it.

    Also if Obama only has 90% of the money he needs then someone is going to lose out. It will either be those employed by the state, those who depend upon the state, or those who invested in state bonds. Given that the media will condemn Obama no matter who loses out from his perspective if the debt ceiling isn’t going to be raised it’s going to be bad news for a long time.

    The situation with the Tea Party is complex. America has elections every 2 years for all of Congress and one third of the Senate, so American politicians are very wary of upsetting the public mood. Though the Tea Party are currently a small party they have gained seats in Congress and the Senate by taking them from Republicans by appealing to voters who want the most right wing Government possible. So if the Republicans don’t want to lose any more seats or be considered a centre party they have to offer the most right wing policies. Anyone who is seen siding with the Democrats is highly likely to be branded a traitor by the media and is unlikely to be re-elected. Thus appealing to moderate Republicans won’t work as long as the moderates believe the extremes will punish them.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted August 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      People criticise the bias of the BBC because we are forced to pay for its ouput by threat of imprisonment. This seems to something socialist posters cannot get to grips with. I wonder why?

  26. Bernard Otway
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    The Tea Party is completely misunderstood in this country,except by a few.The majority
    believe the Gruniad/BBC ANTI PROPAGANDA of Frothing at the mouth RABID Right Wingers [Why is it right wing to balance your budget].I will give my impression,which I think/KNOW will shock,based on observation while recently in Kentucky .
    My wife and I went to visit our best friends in Louisville,where they have now been since 1998
    as immigrants from South Africa,they are Coloured South Africans and therefore suffered under apartheid [my wife is coloured from Cape town ,I am an englishman and white].
    The husband is a highly talented engineer and tool maker [skills gained because of Sanctions against apartheid,without which he would not have developed them],his wife is
    a very good administrator having been with Nedbank in South Africa for 20 years.
    They left South Africa after apartheid was gone,to explain why is too long and complicated
    but when I do people completely understand.He was recruited by a major parts supplier to
    the motor industry in the USA,but 8 years ago left and set up his own toolmaking company.
    He now employs 30 staff plus his wife and 3 sons.He DID NOT vote Obama in 2008 and believe it or not he is a Tea Party supporter and even MORE anti Obama now than 2008,
    all his friends are as well,so he is not Tribal because Obama is non white like his family and friends.He is first and foremost a BUSINESSMAN and highly successful at that,he does not borrow at all and believes in financial responsibility,without him being like he is
    who else would have created 30 JOBS from scratch,in only 13 years in the USA he owns his house OUTRIGHT and his business,and has passed on a lot of his skills firstly to all 3 of his sons,but also to his US employees.He is a Churchgoer and he and his wife are more
    like younger brother and sister to my wife and I, they are the nicest most decent people any one can meet .They have succeeded DESPITE the BIG STATE not because of it. And most of all they are not frothing at the mouth rabid right wingers.They saw through Obama in 2008 and say I TOLD YOU SO to everyone ,especially now.If they can do what they have they believe that most can, as it is all a case of the application of the right attitude to ones
    abilities.I believe that UNLESS your party John reflects your thinking and the others like you like messrs Carswell,Tebbit,Hannan, etc the potential for an English version of the Tea Party forming inside or outside is very possible,look at the ideas and tone of 90% of
    your Commenters on this site,and as I say to my wife this number can be multiplied
    manyfold with people who don’t comment BUT still think like that.

  27. Barry Reed
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Pesident Obama wants to avoid this mess blowing up in his face just before mid term elections.
    However this mess is not all of his wrongful administration, his country did like us enter an illegal war thanks to Bush Jnr. and Blair and both countries are now reaping what they have sown.
    The Afghan war should never have been as per Iraq, and it will be a long time before we both recover?

    Barry Reed

  28. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    When a black man got elected to President, I could see the hope and joy on the many Democrat and Afro-American faces in the crowd. Why were they so happy?
    When Mr Vince Cable speaks about “helping the vulnerable at the expense of High Earners” why do the Labour Party/lefties all cheer so loudly?

    Poor people can have their snouts in the trough too methinks……

  29. wab
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood might want to stick with UK commentary in future, if this is the standard of US commentary he is willing to make.

    Redwood fails to note that the real cause of the crisis is that the Republicans want to make Obama a one-term president. Boehner and the rest of the Republicans have made this clear over and over again. In contrast, Obama and the rest of the Democrats have tried over and over to find an actual solution, and are already proposing things that any sane Republican would have accepted a decade ago. (Unfortunately there are few sane Republicans left.)

    Redwood fails to note that the Republicans have refused to allow any tax increases, even on millionaires and billionaires. And they also consider the ending of any tax subsidy (e.g. even ridiculous ones for agriculture) as a tax increase. At least Cameron and Osborne are willing to consider tax increases.

    Redwood fails to note that after Boehner could not get his completely partisan proposal through the House and instead of reaching out to Democrats instead reached out to the extremist wing of his extremist party.

    Redwood fails to note that not one single Republican in Congress (or in most of the country) was against debt when it was Bush that was ringing up the bills. So not one of them complained that Bush funded two hugely expensive wars completely with debt. Not one of them complained that Bush introduced a huge tax cut with on compensating cut in spending. Not one of them complained that Bush introduced huge amounts of new spending with his medicare bill. Indeed, the standard Republican retort to any complaint about this was that “deficits don’t matter”. Funnily enough, it is only when Democrats are in charge that the Republicans start worrying about the deficit. Why is this, eh.

    Etc. This Redwood essay would have been flunked were it handed in by a secondary school student.

    The BBC, if anything, has been far too kind to the Republicans. The Republicans are currently a party of ( A series of unflattering adjectives-ed), and the American empire is sinking thanks to them, and we are watching it in real time. Fox News (not the BBC) was the cancer, and America is its victim.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted August 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      “Redwood fails to note that the real cause of the crisis is that the Republicans want to make Obama a one-term president.”

      This is an embarrassingly immature statement. I do not think you fully understand the nature of politics or even life.

      • APL
        Posted August 1, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        Winston Smith: “This is an embarrassingly immature statement.”

        Yes. Isn’t it odd, in a supposedly two party democracy one party should want to oust the other at the election.

        Radical man!

  30. Barry Sheridan
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, ‘you suggest the BBC should use its critical faculties’. May I ask what critical faculties?

  31. David John Wilson
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    The problem is that the American political houses are rather like the mad hatter’s tea party and every time they hit their debt limit they all move one place round the table. Sometime in the not too distant future they will reach the point where all the places round the table will have been used and the whole USA economy will collapse like the pack of cards.

  32. sokdraw
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    Probably be able to form a proper alliance on the comments section alone. Who is in?

  33. REPay
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I live in the US and one of the things that is refreshing is that there is no automatic assumption that the government spending is good in itself. Quite the reverse. In western Europe as a whole and the UK the phrase they/the government should do something is the predominant sentiment. The BBC in particular will always give a largely unopposed platform to anyone against “the cuts”. Normality = ever increasing public spending and opposing this is “right wing” and “ideological” – the code words intended to trigger disapproval. Good things are flagged with the label “progressive” i.e. statist. In the US it is “liberal’ – which means statist and pro-abortion…Perhaps someone could dissect these words or Conservatives should attack their use!

    Much like statist politicians in western Europe, Democrats know the deficit is an issue but choose to say nothing and do less – kicking the can down the road a la Balls is their modus operandi. The real challenge for the Labour Party and other redistributive parties is that they have no role when there is no cash. The “liberal” media responds to the real concerns by marginalizing the tea party members as kooks (and truth be told some are pretty kooky). I wonder if they are as kooky as people who pretend it is business as usual and just kick the can down the road….

    • alexmews
      Posted August 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      @ Repay

      good note & perspective. i too lament the statist assumptions. unfortunately it seems the UK voter is happy being bribed with his or her own money. i had assumed that organisations like the Taxpayers Alliance would do more to shift the perception but for whatever reas0n this has not happened / been effective in the mainstream to date.

  34. Jack
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    But that it were only a one-time 10% reduction in spending required.

    In order to bring the US federal budget into balance, 10% annual reductions for four years is required. Perhaps the economy can grow enough to make only 8% annual reductions bring the budget into balance, but the numbers are stark.

    Jack

  35. Quietzapple
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    The Tory BBC eventually reported the 50 – 50 split of the Tea Party folk on the proposition which was carried.

    They All went against their declared opposition to an increase in USA government debt: unsurprising I suppose but surely there must be headbangers who truly believe that borrowing is always the Devil at his work?

    I recall canvassing a venerable clergyman in the Thatcher days. He said that he would never vote Labour because Labour’s plans always involved borrowing money.

    He was shocked to hear that state borrowing is rather older in origin and that wars of kings long dead were usually funded by borrowing.

    Hey Ho!

  36. Quietzapple
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Twas amusing in the early days of the ’97 – ’10 Govt to read of the objections of the Tory front Bench to Gordon Briwns supposedly excessively early repayments of HMG debt.

    Did you applaud his prudence, John?

    R3eply: Yes, I did think repaying debt a good idea. I did not applaud his sale of gold or his extra taxes.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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