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March 04, 2009

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dearieme

"so far": a shrewd qualification.

Matthew

Blimey, a link to the Taxpayer's Alliance as a guide to 'his wasteful spending'. The few times I've checked any of their stuff it seems to have been invented or at least seriously misleading. Take this example of a man who has no idea what he is talking about.

http://uktpa.blogspot.com/2005/07/how-little-of-100-you-get-to-keep.html

Concerned Citizen

When was the last time there was a run on a British bank prior to Northern Wreck?

"Banks would have circumvented regulators, by offshore or off-balance sheet vehicles"

Like the fact that London benefited by the influx off US firms fleeing post Enron Accounting rules?

I accept that the Asian wall of money would have manifested itself in other ways but the fact is simple. Brown organized a match between Arsenil and Spurs without a referee.

Thats our problem for which he is responsible.

john b

Chris: x-post this to Liberal Conspiracy, please.

Matt: Damn right. Are these idiots behind the massively overhyped documentary I heard trailered on Channel 4 last night about How The Government Squanders Our Money? [*]

CC: BCCI and Johnson Matthey, for a start.

[*] update: I checked, and they are:
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/articles/how-they-squander-our-billions-related-links
Fantastic, can we make up a pretend pressure group that does nothing but tell stupid lies and then get an hour of prime-time TV from it?

Bob B

As I distinctly recall, the recurring complaint directed against Brown as Chancellor is that there wasn't nearly enough deregulation going on.

Cameron even appointed John Redwood (!) to campaign for deregulation in his capacity as shadow minister with responsibility for competitiveness. Of course, his big contribution to the debate was to claim interest rates had been kept too high for too long.

Quite how that helps to explain the house-price bubble or the consumer debt mountain of £1.4 trillion beats me but then I don't have a history degree from Oxford.

stuart

The only point I'd really have a go at Brown for is the deficit spending during the boom. Which is quite a big point, really. And perhaps over-use of PFI deals, too, but that's a fairly minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

As for the Taxpayers Alliance, I've not read any of their stuff (are they the tax freedom day people?). But the article that Matt links too doesn't seem too misleading? Or am I being dense? I mean, government spending is (I think) something like 45% of GDP? So pointing out that some people's tax might be 65% (or more) on discretionary items is no more misleading than any number of selectively quoting blogs or newspaper articles. A little harsh to call them "stupid lies", John B - unless you've got an example of them actually lying, at least. Perhaps you could post a link? And an explanation? (Given that I've clearly missed the point with Matt's example)

Luis Enrique

Being blessed with deity-level foresight, in 2004 I campaigned for the government to raise interest rates and initiate a recession in order to restrain house prices. I wasn't very popular.

David Heigham

Chris,

I once sat on a jury. The defendant was clearly guilty, but not 'guilty as charged'. The police had got the charge wrong.

Most of Gordon's critics have got the charges wrong. You quote some of the more coherent ones.

But Gordon did do two things which made the crisis worse than it need have been. First, he did not stick to a reasonable view of the economic cycle, and therefore failed to prevent the Government from racking up a very sizeable deficit in what seemed pretty likely to prove an unusally prosperous period. That left the Government short of room for manoeuvre.

Second, it was evident by summer 2008 that recapitalistion of the banks (you refer to it as nationalisation)needed to be forced on them. For at least three months before the crisis blew in September, Gordon dithered (maybe because of the leadership challenge nonsense, but dither he did). That was and is very costly.

Those points apart, Gordon has had a less bad crisis than many.

Matthew

Well tax rates are designed to raise income from various activities in the economy, and so to explain how they affect people one should choose spending that is representative. Otherwise why bother, you might as well say 'imagine you've got £100 left over and you spend it all on petrol', hey presto a tax rate of 80% or something.

The spending patterns shown are much the same as this silly example - for example this hypothetical person pays no rent or mortgage, makes no savings, buys no food or clothes. All of which would reduce the effect tax rate considerably, and are much more realistic.

I suppose you could argue this is meant to represent the final £100, but it can't be because council tax and road tax are in there, and even if they weren't the example doesn't say 'however you've already earned £200 on which you've only paid income taxes'.

So all in all, what was the point? Most of their stuff is like this if you look.

stuart

Bob B - If I recall correctly, wasn't Redwood's 'deregulation' brief the various employment / HSE regulations that have been introduced in the last decade or so? I didn't think it had anything (directly) to do with the finance industry.

john b

The deficit point is also nonsense: at the end of 2007 we had (still have, probably, although the dust has yet to settle) the lowest national debt out of the G7, even after including PFI, Network Rail, etc.

anotherplanet

It's depressing to read you peddling the myth that the crisis came out of a clear blue sky, that tighter regulation would have had little effect and that, essentially, no-one can be blamed and little could have been done to avert what promises to be the biggest meltdown since the 1930s. Admittedly, the Tories are well-blackened pots, having supported the 'light-touch' approach, but to argue that no warnings could have been given is the purest nonsense.

To quote the Baseline Scenario: "Brown falls back on what appears to be the current line for him and other US/global leaders, “it’s a global crisis” - with blame (of course!) placed on “massive capital flows” after the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. In a masterful piece of political misdirection, Brown mixes platitudes (betters rules and standards), obvious ideas (governments ready to take regulatory actions against shadow banks), and things that he has implacably and effectively opposed in the past (a more effective global early warning system)."

Things should and could have been done to avert the scale of the bubble, and Brown/Blair have to take some responsibility for that - albeit in a junior capacity to that of Clinton/Bush.

anotherplanet

It's depressing to read you peddling the myth that the crisis came out of a clear blue sky, that tighter regulation would have had little effect and that, essentially, no-one can be blamed and little could have been done to avert what promises to be the biggest meltdown since the 1930s. Admittedly, the Tories are well-blackened pots, having supported the 'light-touch' approach, but to argue that no warnings could have been given is the purest nonsense.

To quote the Baseline Scenario: "Brown falls back on what appears to be the current line for him and other US/global leaders, “it’s a global crisis” - with blame (of course!) placed on “massive capital flows” after the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. In a masterful piece of political misdirection, Brown mixes platitudes (betters rules and standards), obvious ideas (governments ready to take regulatory actions against shadow banks), and things that he has implacably and effectively opposed in the past (a more effective global early warning system)."

Things should and could have been done to avert the scale of the bubble, and Brown/Blair have to take some responsibility for that - albeit in a junior capacity to that of Clinton/Bush.

Jock

The bubble and its consequences were, it seems to me, a chain reaction starting at number 11 in the late nineties - http://jockcoats.me/credit_church_chain_reaction_starting_number_11

Coupled with *any system* that allows the money men to play with something we then have to guarantee (even when we tell them so to play through public policy) and it's clear it's something government could have prevented (and not through this currently popular mantra of more or different regulation - just systemic change that would create theright incentives), but that it suits government not to change it - http://jockcoats.me/where_are_adventurous_young_bankers

wayne barron

Perhaps Brown shouldn't be blamed for the recession. It doesn't change however he was chanting no more boom and bust for years because the economy was floating along swimmingly. He isn't to blame for the fact we have been brought to the ridge above another huge drop (potentialy) but he didn't know he had no conrol over it. He's either a fool for not knowing the global economy would pull us into a sharp drop (bust) despite what he did or a liar for pretending the smooth journey for years was anything to do with his policies. I say you can't blame a fool, so he shouldn't apologise he should wake up and start building a parliament that doesn't have self-dilussion built in to it.

Shuggy

"There’s something paradoxical about Brown’s critics, who are usually so (rightly) sceptical about the competence of the state believing that, in this instance, the state might have had sufficient competence."

Agreed. However, the problem with him saying, "It wasnae me", is that he claimed credit for a benevolent economic climate that had nothing to do with him either.

Riz Din

Chris, surely if a man takes credit for something that is down to luck, then surely he has to either apologise for the mess we are now in, even though it too is down to luck, or you have take the blame and fall on your sword.

It is because Brown has refused either option that I will not be voting Labour (caveat: so long as Vince Cable is still with the Lib Dems come the next election). You just can't have it both ways.

john b

"Chris, surely if a man takes credit for something that is down to luck, then surely he has to either apologise for the mess we are now in, even though it too is down to luck, or you have take the blame and fall on your sword."

I'd accept that for a friend. I don't see any reason why it should apply to one's choice of political leader...

Nick

I'd be interested in your opinion as to why the UK economy appears to be holding up rather well compared to other G7 countries when UK GDP is more reliant on banking, financial services and housing.

john b

Because Gordon Brown is a superman who bestrides the world like a colossus, of course.

Neil

I blame Gorden Clown for everything, because I am a Free-Thinking Libertarian Individualist (and Paul Staines told me to).

Jackart

There is no defending Brown

Jackart

http://brackenworld.blogspot.com/2009/03/there-is-no-defending-brown.html

BenP

Maybe he should apologise for thinking that neo-liberalism was the answer. He won't because he still does.

Bob B

I'm really curious about the stark differences between the political debate here about the global financial crisis and the rhetoric in America:

"Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, said today that bold Government action was needed to steer America's economy out of a deepening slump - even if the result was a rise in federal debt.

"Speaking in front of the Senate Budget Committee in Washington, Mr Bernanke said that the country would be better of 'moving aggressively to solve our economic problems.'"
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article5840128.ece

Contrast that call for bold action by government with this:

"Mr Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, in a speech in Birmingham to the local Chamber of Commerce, laid the blame for the financial turmoil firmly at the door of Mr Brown's Government. He also called for a new model of growth that would usher in a UK economy powered by savings and returns on effort rather than one built on debt."
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5861087.ece

Robert Stafford

The recession is not Boom Boom Brown's fault, but he is guilty of being economic with the truth:

http://tinyurl.com/d5qchp

Terry Handley

As an American citizen I would like to apologize for the way Prime Minister Brown was treat during his recent visit to the US. There is no excuse for not being gracious and returning a gift is in very poor taste, even if the gift did not come from Prime Minister Brown. This is boorish behavior and this citizen wishes to express the gratitude to England for being our closest ally.

cartier watches

This is just one idea, and perhaps displays no more than my limited imagination. If there are better ideas out there, that amount to more than "implement something called "market socialism" and then - alacazam! - full employment!" then I'd love to hear them. http://www.watchgy.com/ mostly bank deposits, fell by £143.2bn in Q1. And of course there’s no guarantee such buying will continue.
http://www.watchgy.com/tag-heuer-c-24.html
http://www.watchgy.com/rolex-submariner-c-8.html

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