Britain Plans Deepest Cuts to Spending in 60 Years

The plan imposes drastic reductions in benefits and public sector jobs as the country seeks to free itself of crushing debt from the global financial crisis.

Comments: 125

  1. They're mantra was "We're all in this together" - Oh really? Most of us were not born multi-millionaires, nor are we bankrolled by tax avoiding benefactors in the Carribbean.

  2. Hello Barak Obama. Did you want to bring back that statue of Churchill that you sent back to the British embassy when you took office? You can learn a thing or two from them Tories.

  3. Britain, France, Greece, Germany and the Scandinavian countries all correctly surmise that their futures require large cuts in government spending with accompanying reductions in entitements. Otherwise they pass unsustainable debt onto their children and grandchildren.

    So why are we continuing to go in the other direction? You'd think we'd learn a thing or two from the rest of the world.

  4. It is an ideologically driven crusade of slash and burn politics without any intention of ever replanting anything.

    These cuts have been implemented too hard and too soon; many economists disagree with this decision, but as always politicians only listen to the advice that suite their agenda - And they wont be the ones to suffer the consequences of their actions.

  5. There will be much to debate in the details, but what struck me most about the announcement was the tenor of discourse. This was a very businesslike approach, with big words, complicated concepts, and a detailed response from the opposition.

    Why can't public debate in the US look like that? Obama excepted (and even he not always), political discourse in the US more often looks like camera posturing and a race to the lowest common denominator.

    I wonder if much the US news media would even want cover a government that was run by adults.

  6. Give the Brits credit. They are doing something about a critical deficit problem. Ours is bad enough, but it will be worse until we stop dithering. We need an equal doze of action instead of insane propsals from both parties, neither of which is willing to put the country and our children's future ahead of their own re-election.

  7. Bankers have become spoiled by government stimulus handouts, they are now expecting another trillion dollar gift after the November elections. A pacifier of 250 dollars to seniors will wisely silence any protests. Soon the government will no longer have the cash to stimulate the banking system, payroll taxes will then rise and the middle class will come to the rescue.


  8. Precisely, creating a problem for solving the the existing one is not the solution. That is happening in western world post 2008 crisis.

    All western developed economies are talking on spending cuts. Is this a right strategy, honestly cutting unnecessary spending is always a good strategy since the Ice age. what is wrong about it? this spending cut is not aiming specfically to unnecessary spending, it is more blatant than that goal.

    In the long run, decaying social services. intractable jobless numbers will be hunt back, same as Al queyda's 9/11 towards to America.

    Social problems after this new spending cut frenzy cool down will be devastating fro the future of EU and USA.

    Why this type of blatant spending cut is essentially wrong, The answer is why China is spending more since 2008 but EU and USa is seeking frantically to cut all spending. Honestly china is creating a surplus economy, EU and USa are in stagnation. We are not creating or finding a way to create surplus, 20th century past china style surplus but that times are over.

    EU and USA with spending cut creating their own economical and social AL Queyda, same exact thing in the minds of politicians ignorance is bliss like attitude, we had a very long run of surplus economy until up to 2000, but that time is over.

    If british government throw 490.000 employee to the streets, they really need to prepare themselves worse , abyssimal anarchy in the society.

    If government and GDP wouldn't be for people in this case why we are nations.

  9. I expected a much deeper cut in military spending. After all, the cold war is over, a fact of which we all seem to be oblivious. Reducing growth-promoting infrastructure, health and education programs continues to be a sure recipe for disaster.

  10. A government that leads... what a novel idea. Our government (both Democratic and Republican) does nothing. Special interest has a stranglehold on our government. the leaders are afraid to go against special interest. Our country will continue to sink unless our leaders gain the courage to lead.

  11. The Chancellor of the Exchequer claims, “Today is the day when Britain steps back from the brink.” No, old bean, today is the beginning of the end of your Conservative and Unionist Party.

    And Roy from California, do try and spell the president's first name correctly.

  12. We should send Obama over there. He can explain to them that all they have to do is spend/waste several TRILLION dollars and that will fix their deficit. Its real simple.

  13. In a country where 100's of thousands homeless US Veterans live under bridges & in horrifying prison-like shelters, and Candy Spelling (who has never worked a day in her life) owns $200 Millions in personal VACANT homes; something is seriously wrong in the USA too!

  14. So money is way more important than people. We need to recognize that basing a world on money is pure disaster.

  15. Value added tax? What value? And here I was planning to go to Britain next year. It's already way to expensive in Britain. Perhaps France is a better choice. The food certainly is. Except, of course, a good English breakfast, ale and cheddar cheese.

  16. Yeah, Tony Blair taking Britain to war as Bush's lapdog probably didn't help, huh? And the poster above me marveling that the Brits are handling their financial crisis with such an adult announcement and wondering if the US media would bother to cover a boring government run by adults?

    The US media will make a half a billion dollars off this mid-term election. The front page of this morning's NY Times has big articles on Michele Bachmann, Republican campaign money, and Mrs. Clarence Thomas...some of the least adult acting people on earth.

    We are smothering from the weight of our own silliness, greed and stupidity, not to mention fantastic debt run up by more non-adults who see the world as their sandbox. If America recovers, it will be decades from now when adults finally wake up and take over again.

  17. For American reader's reference, eliminating 500,000 jobs in Britain is the equivalent of eliminating 2,500,000 jobs in America, given that Britain has 1/5th the population of the United States. This "austerity" is really a hard-driven ideological position, that will only augment the economic problems. Much like Hoover after the '29 crash, this sort of austerity will only deepen economic problems. This sort of right-wing radicalism will only lead to prolonged economic doldrums and/or depression that will make Japan's last couple decades look mild.

    Thankfully, U.S. Republicans are unlikely to have the backbone or the political strength to do that kind of damage here.

    alwaysmakesafive.blogspot.com

  18. I welcome balanced budgets, and believe they should be a reality, not a goal. Ironically, however, cutting government jobs in Britain is not going to reduce the debt as much as one would think. Taxpayers there pay dearly, such that the government takes nearly half of everything it pays these workers. Then, when they become unemployed, they will be on the dole and have practically nothing to spend. The increased unemployment that results from these measures will surely be a drag on the English recovery - meaning less tax revenue (about what we in the United States are facing). And, of course, the loss of these government workers means less public service for England's citizens.

  19. The difference between Britain and the US is that they British were able to reduce military spending by 8%. Hard to imagine that ever happening here. Long after our roads, schools, hospitals, and bridges have crumbled to dust, we will still be putting more into military spending than the next top 10 countries combined.

  20. I agree with 'alwaysmakesafive'. If these cuts are enacted, the UK will regret it. Adding another 500k to their unemployment rolls at this point will further depress their economy; the UK is likely to go into a second recession.

    The reason for the massive deficits the UK is facing is the same as in the US. Tax revenues have dropped because of decreased economic activity, layoffs, etc., but government expenditures have not decreased. It may seem on the surface prudent to cut back expenditures, but in fact, all this will do is to make the economic slump more severe and more difficult to recover from.

    I am not as sanguine as "alwaysmakesafive" that we will do the right thing in the US though. We need more government investment here -- and it is unlikely to happen with the next congress.

  21. Nice to see this transition of creative destruction of old first world countries into third world poverty pits -- too bad the geniuses in the economics world were not paid to look at facts instead of paid to represent the rich. Many of us saw this coming long, long ago and now the rich who control public office tell us all how we need to cut back and sacrifice -- unless we are very rich, in which case we can get all the help and bailouts we want. Let the revolution begin -- this is simple tyranny.

  22. For those Americans saying Obama should take a page out of the Brits' book, let's get real for a second. The US and UK are two completely different worlds. For one university students in the UK had, up to this point, their tuition paid for while US students have to take out what seems like a car loan to pay off their education. The UK has the benefit of their government actually performing functions to aid the population whereas our paranoid outlook towards government distrusts this aid. The UK can afford austerity because they actually spend money on their citizens. The same can't be said for us so Obama is doing the best in our particular situation. Besides what else would we cut out of our budget?

  23. sounds to me like "starving the beast" in action. bail out big business, cut jobs for workers and social services for citizens. the politicians waste endless money for politically motivated projects, then lay off workers when they run out of money. i see this in action every day. good job UK.

  24. Did it ever occur to the political elite that people may be more willing to support "austerity" measures if those same measures were imposed on the financial services firms that created this disaster?

    Cuts to social safety nets and government services should occur as a last resort and not as a means to cover the fraudulent and criminal activities of global banksters.

    And, why are the Brits still paying to maintain the Queen's royal household? Again, austerity measures should apply to all not just the poor and working classes. Surely, the Windsor's have more than enough wealth to cover their own expenses.

  25. Wow--this blame the worker mentality is turning into an epidemic! This is no surprise when conservatives are in charge--they promptly scapegoat ordinary people who go to a horrible screaming death everyday at their dull dead end jobs for creating the current worldwide fiscal meltdown. So conservatives do what they do best--balance the budget on the backs on of what's left of the middle class by gutting pensions, raising the age of Social Security elibility and slashing healtcare benefits.

    Is England going to finally abolish the monarchy. What fun it would be to see the Windsors get real jobs and work for a living like the rest of us zhlubs.

  26. In the wee hours of the morning, I watched Cameron and Osbourne detail their plan for the UK.

    The article failed to mention some important details in what the Conservative-LibDem coalition did: tax were INCREASED in some very key areas. Education, climate change research, other scientific research, infrastructure spending, healthcare, pensions, housing and other important social safety nets were protected. The UK's struggling middle and working lower classes were used as the barometer for limits on unemployment compensation -- saying that unemployed workers should not receive more in benefits than their working counterparts. More money was put to meaningful job training and employment. College education would remain affordable and accessible to all Britons. National Health would be restructured to put more resources in communities that need it. Defense spending will be cut by consolidation of bases, bringing the British Army back from bases in Germany, purchasing the Joint Strike Force fighter jet and equipping it to land on aircraft carriers, eliminating the Harrier, buying Chinooks and other heavy-lift aircraft.

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer also stated the government will strengthen regulation of banks, eliminate tax loopholes that allowed banks to avoid paying their fair share. There was also a mention of means testing for pension benefits. Osbourne said that "those with the broadest shoulders would have to bear the heaviest burden," meaning wealthier Britons will pay more. The government will also create new pathways to citizenship for its immigrant population.

    What was notable is that the ConservaLibDems did not offer vouchers or coupons to their constituents, did not offer up massive tax breaks for the wealthy or place the entire burden of the nation's economy on the backs of the poor. There was no scapegoating.

    But my greatest takeaway is this, "If you don't have a plan, you can't attack this plan." That should be the mantra of the American Democrats from here on out. Leave it to the Brits to find a politice way to say, "Put up or shut up."

  27. Same as everywhere else: The poor pay to save the rich. At least the French have the good sense to riot.

    "Austerity" isn't a rational economic response. It's an ideological decision to use this crisis to destroy what's left of British social services and to reconstruct the country even more completely on an unfettered free market model (or, better, an the model of an unfettered state/market partnership). Every government in the world cares more about its corporations than its citizens. The US is no different. Why don't we do something about it?

  28. I am a moderate/Liberal and yet I admire the Brits for going through with real cuts. Here in the USA we have the Tea Party saying they want smaller government and no debt, but demanding more tax cuts (our taxes are the lowest they have been in 40 years) and will not cut any programs that effect them. For example the Florida Tea Party wanted programs cut, but NOT NASA, cause it was in their state.

  29. 500 000 jobless people? That makes a revolution.

  30. So...Americans buy more than they can afford and fight unfunded wars and the Chinese essentially use slave labor and cheat on trade deals and as a result the EU has to give up their benefits and lifestyle. Yey for global capitalism.

  31. The British treasury will continue to pay the poor to have children that the parents are unable to support.
    Where's the sense in that?

  32. We don't have the backbone to undertake reforms of this magnitude. The left will simply never accept that government can be, indeed, should be cut by any amount, whether we are talking about personnel or agencies.

    When the largest union in the country represents primarily government employees (I guess they were tired of being exploited by their evil capitalist boss and needed to organize for better working conditions?), then you know that the money flows to the democratic party from unions and ideological orientation of their membership render them unable to view the issue dispassionately.

    That said, recognizing that there is no magic size of the government that makes it perfectly efficient, the fact that we can't even discuss the issue rationally makes me fear for the long term solvency of the country.

    Consider the effect on our fiscal solvency, however, were we to propose the following reforms to government:

    All government cabinets, departments, entities, quasi-governmental organizations (including levee boards, port authorities, etc) must pass the following checklist on an annual to justify their raison d'etre:

    1) there is a clear need for the entity to exist and the need can best be filled by taxing the entire populace to solve the problem with a government administered entity
    2) no other entity has a similar mandate [a whole lotta government agencies would fail this test, note]
    3) the costs of operation are justified by the mandate
    4) the entities do not exist to prosecute, investigate or create victimless crimes [read: drugs, prostitution, etc]

    In addition, we might consider making a single payment for all types of public assistance, then making the assistance time-limited (say to three years) and of a decreasing amount, with the exception of the mentally handicapped or those physically incapacitated.

    Finally, for good measure:

    A) throw in a national healthcare market, where insurance is not tied to your job or any tax-based incentive system and the price of a business entering the insurance market is a law that forbids them from denying coverage. [Limited subsidies for the indigent and those facing bankruptcy wouldn't be out of the question.]

    B) Eliminate medicare/aid in favor of discounted policies for the indigent(See A above)

    Which politician will advocate a plan with half-as-much commonsense?

    Anyone?

  33. Sadly, the protests and strikes that will follow these announcements will be organised by the same Unions that bank-rolled the recently defeated Labour government who were responsible for much of the financial mess that we are now in. Union leaders are so blind to the realities of the situation that they will never concede that it is because of the stupid demands and restrictive work practices that they have imposed over the years that has been the cause of massive job losses and have encouraged the growth of countries such as China in the first place. The bulk of the problems in the UK are self-generated, not helped by an over-benevolent welfare system and slack control of our borders. We are now deeply immersed in the European Union but it is increasingly difficult to see where we benefit from membership of a club where many of our fellow members are no more than passengers on a gravy train.

  34. As someone who lived and worked in the UK for several years, and struggled at the outset to afford anything on my much-reduced salary, I am particularly surprised to see that they are increasing the VAT. Goods are already very expensive there; seems like increasing costs of goods and services would depress consumer spending. If businesses are going to pick up the slack from government reductions, how does increasing VAT help business?

  35. Well the zillionaires continue to thrive in Great Britain, but the poor are very poor. It's already an expensive place and about to come more so. So much for the tourist dollar they count on.

    The private sector is NOT going to create more jobs anywhere except possibly the third world where wages are still very low compared to those in first world countries... and the refusal of government in the post -Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and including Obama era -- to have true progressive tax rates and tax at least fairly ( as did Bush I -- who raised the cap tax rate to 28% not 15%)--is abhorent.

    Sadly, many of the young have bought into the rhetoric of the "punish those with the least." By the way, those with the least in many cases have provided nice livings for those with more-- and I include in this list, teachers, social workers, police, firement, doctors, hospital workers, construction workers. (If the poor/ working underclass (here defined as those earning in the lower half of the median income) were wiped out tomorrow -- lots of people would be out of work or be working at jobs they would not like... Anyone want to work in a coal mine instead of a hospital, e.g.?)

  36. War and security from "terrorism" are big fat payoffs to wealthy corps. When on Earth will leaders understand that WAR is what spends us into a toilet? 60% of our annual spending is for war. In 2000, the military was restricted to the revenue of the Estate Tax. It brought in 30%, and that's all the military got. But since Bush cut off that yoke upon the military our founders put there to restrain the wealthy clamoring for war profit and acquisition, looky here, we've got two unecessary wars and collected zero revenue for them this year. Way to go, Plutoids!

  37. It's interesting that the British are attempting to reduce their budget deficit not just through drastic cuts in spending but also through tax increases. It's unfortunate that the right wing republican/tea partiers here in the US don't recognize this fact.

  38. Oh my. The financial wizards and frauds have wrecked their nations economies. Let us starve the poor, ruin the nations' workers, and leave our children without decent educations, infrastructures, or jobs.
    But do keep the bonuses flowing for the criminally wealthy, and do keep the stock market happy.

    Say "Thank you, sir. May we have another?"

  39. Thank the lord that my wife and I are retired!. We have worked hard for the last 55 years or so. We are very lucky in having a government pension along with a company pension and are fully paid up members of society, But things are going to be very hard for the younger generation.

  40. I wonder if the Queen got a cut in her salary?

  41. How refreshing that a government is trying to behave in a fiscally prudent manner, unlike the one we have in the United States.

    Sure these cuts will be painful and I do not like to see people lose their jobs. But the alternative will be far worse if Britain doesn't get their fiscal house in order.

    Hopefully the public sector job cuts will be accomplished at least partially through attrition.

    I am hopeful that a new day is dawning all over the world where governments realize that they have to live within their means. I would like to see a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. constitution, but given the complete lack of leadership from our elected officials, I will not be holding my breath waiting for it to happen.

  42. American take a page out of England's playbook and start American back on the track of less government, measured spending, and cutting the federal bureaucracy. A country can't tax and spend its way out of this. A family can't spend more than it makes or it goes bankrupt. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as Britain’s top finance minister is a real leader for taking this path.

  43. Maybe it's time David Cameron had a little chat with Her Majesty to tell her she's fired! If England is so broke why bother wasting money and limited resources on an antiquated monarchy which has grown irrevelant? Just think--no more worrying about who's eventually going to sit on the throne, maintaining royal palaces and other pointless sundries which are way too expensive in the modern world.

    Stop punishing ordinary people who only want a pension, Social Security and some healthcare to tide them over in their old age.

    Just play Donald Trump and tell the Royals that they're fired.

  44. Imagine, a Conservative government taxing the banks and reducing the military budget. Tea party take note. We shall see whether Republican actions match their rhetoric should they prevail in coming elections.

  45. Big business won this argument decades ago in the UK and the US. It's great that the poorer people happily vote for a government that may well leave them worse off thanks to the majority of 'expert' commentators telling them it is for their own good. Add to this that the vast majority of the real poor are good enough to crumble under the crushing feeling of alienation, shut up like good little boys and not bother voting, "what's the point", and you could say you get the government you deserve. If people protest in the UK like they do in France - a country where there is still a feeling that government actually is for the people and they CAN make a difference - I'll eat my beret.

  46. ok so "eliminating almost half a million public sector jobs over the next four years".

    so if these people go on unemployment, isn't the shift from earning while working to earning while sitting on your fanny (spelling?)?

  47. Why don't you send the British Navy over to the Channel Isles (Isle of Guernsey) and round up those tax cheats?

  48. I thought the public sector entitlement was a sacred cow?

    Oops...that is the way it is in the USA, not Britain.

  49. This is precisely what Britain did in 1919-1920 in response to debts from the First World War, leading to deflation, high unemployment, and economic stagnation. Austerity is not always the answer...

  50. Way to go Anglo-Saxons! Now, show the French and Greek barbarians how a real populace deals with difficult cuts! Civility and common sense rule the day. Bravo UK!

  51. Re: "the government would seek to extract 'the maximum sustainable taxes' from financial institutions."

    Seems only fair.

  52. Let's watch and see how the Brits handle things. I bet they'll show a lot more common sense than French workers who refuse to come to grips that the party is over. Sooner or later all bills must be paid.

    The fabulous Iron Lady warned us - the problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money!

  53. this is the time for the British workers and students to take the brilliant French example to heart and shut the country down. These cuts are insane viewed from any angle.

  54. Public sector jobs typically are low-wage but they offer consistency and reliability, qualities private sector jobs cannot guarantee. They also demand a certain kind of courage and motivation: teachers, police and fire personnll, sanitation workers, social workers. Accordingly, it's asolutely sickening that those who have had NOTHING to do with causing financial stress must bear its cross.

    This is just more proof that right wing greed is not limited to the United States. Only dull-minded half-wits buy into the lies that private sector jobs are automatically more efficient and incorruptible. Pathetic.

  55. Lovely jubbly. State socialism fails again, and now the soccer yobs will have to get off their duffs and cover their own rent.

  56. should have been... find a "polite" way to say "put up or shut up."

  57. Get ready Americans….if you haven’t heard, we have a very important election coming up in two weeks. This is a sign of things to come here if the wrong people get in office. The TeaPartyRepublicans, many of whom collect social security and medicare, want to deny the rest of us the opportunity to have peace of mind in our older age. They want our children (their own grandchildren) to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. They want a different kind of society; one where it’s every man, woman, and child for himself. Vote, send in your mail ballot by this weekend, and start to pay attention. We’ve been here before and it wasn’t pretty.

  58. This is leadership! Compare this to the cowardly and selfseeking performance of our federal government.

  59. Socialism is doomed every time it is tried. Places end up with more parasites than producers. Watching the riots in France reminds me of the beatnik from TV Maynard G. Krebs. The mere sound of the word "work" caused Krebs to convulse. By the way, Frenchmen throw rocks like girls.

  60. Perhaps the British have finally concluded that rampant socialism has wrought a debilitating malaise throughout their nation and are attempting to rectify it. The fruits of socialism indeed and our President intends to lead us down that path of doom and gloom. It is time enough for our voters to carefully consider how to cast their vote on November 2nd and stop the slide into the abyss os socialism.

  61. Obama - please take notice.

  62. Has anyone else noticed that there is a strong correlation between well-recommended comments and those with good grammar and spelling? Perhaps this is food for thought for would-be commenters. Or perhaps it shows that a better education correlates to an ability to make clear and thoughtful points.

  63. the most imminent reason for the meltdown was the inappropriate involvement in two wars under mr.blair leading to a fiscal and moral bankruptcy and the two go tohether ,as has been shown by the Chilcott enquiry, and what has the conservative govt.done about that paradigm except totally ignore the billions of tax payers money wasted on state and corporate sponsored wars ,which should have been spent on the welfare state and it is our right as tax payers to protest against that violation of our basic trust as we the public do not support their corporate wars in Asia or anywhere and this austerity is a mockery of democracy in itself .

  64. Dear President Obama,
    Cut spending now. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Defense -- spare nothing. Let's go. Now. Now. Now.

  65. Oh that's a good idea, increase unemployment by a half million in the middle of an economic down turn. Yea that will make it all better. Then the people that provide goods and services to those people will become unemployed too.. and so on and so on....

  66. In all of my readings I find that one thing prevails. Belief in the human spirit. The human spirit is what make the world work. It has always been the small man who bequeathed life to the lifeless, hope to the hopeless, and created new avenues for those with nowhere else to go.

    The fact that Ms. Monroe strove to better herself simplifies the equation in trying to determine what our early post war experience meant.

    Millions of soldiers returning, women once again stuck into the dream of men, working at home bringing up a family and vacuuming the house, but the fact is that Marilyn Monroe was the product.

    So what are our products now? And are we talking about the product of a generation, or the product of the media?

    If the product is Sarah Palin, then the answer is clear, and we should take stock of ourselves and determine our own futures. I don't mean the staid old establishment futures, but I don't mean the future where people totally inadequate to the test are elected in defiance of the norm.

    We have a certain amount of time to fix the problems we have presented to us right now, and we have to fix the problems, not elect people who proclaim that ability without the ability to actually tell you what they think.

    Marilyn Monroe may well have been uneducated, but obviously she had the ability to think, to see problems for what they were, and to offer her opinion, no matter how inconsequential that opinion might seem.

    I'd rather have a person who is trying to improve themselves representing me as opposed to a person who proclaims to be improved and cannot come up with the goods.

    Roger W. Norman
    http://rwnorman.typepad.com...
    http://blogs.salon.com/0004478
    http://www.reverbnation.com/rogerwnorman

  67. Britain is not United States. Several European countries have bloated government payrolls - Britain, Spain and Italy. These cuts may actually hurt in the beginning but help them in the long run. United States, contrary to what some people believe, does not have a bloated government payroll. I think our cuts have to come elsewhere. I think more judicious selection of successful programs for welfare and health care may be more prudent.

  68. I'm finding a certain irony that the countries most prominent on the mantle of the Euro-Socialist-Capitalism agenda held by the Elite Left ie Britain & France are both undergoing huge purges in their social spending and taking vast steps in the direction of austerity. Does anyone still want to maintain that their systems work or are we ready to humbly go down the path of thought that clearly shows that our government cannot do and be all things for it's people. People at the end of the day need to provide for themselves. If that seems harsh at the end of the day, well, life is hard. Its not fair. Move on.

  69. I congratulate the government of my native country on taking action that has long been needed and encourage the government of my adopted country to consider how they can reduce government bloat.

    I would have raised the retirement age immediately and not waited until 2020.

  70. Myopic conservatives in the U.S., as opposed to more measured conservatives, should note the following before citing this as an example of what the U.S. should do and cheering for it:
    a) the U.K. has a higher share of public sector jobs than the U.S. and a larger safety net than the U.S.; check out the numbers and see if after the cuts they will still have more of both.
    b) the U.K. plan increases funding of health care and schools; we've been gutting schools.
    c) the U.K. cuts are to unfold over 4 years, and as such, may not send them into a double dip recession if it is back-weighted - the U.S. stimulus government spending will mostly end this year and much of it never got out the door for a variety of reasons.
    d) the U.K. plan will at least superficially tax banks, which conservatives in the U.S. typically consider anti-business.
    e) Britain does not spend as much per capita on health or defense as does the U.S.

  71. The UK has a tax rate of 50% for those earning more than 150,000 pounds. I wonder how much we could reduce our debt by adopting a similar approach. Also, the UK increased spending on healthcare--in marked contrast to the Republican goal of cutting medicare.

  72. Inevitabel whether there or here; we bash the Brits for their blind loyalty to the crown, for their love of tea and warm beer and for their continued belief that bangers and mash is cuisine; but, at least, this government at this time is demonstrating a pragmatism and common sense approach we lack on this side of the pond.

    Tough but necessary and the sooner we recognize that such is going to be required here, the sooner we can get about solving our structural deficit problems.

  73. I could almost agree with this except for the fact that available jobs are few and far between. The jobs that are available do not pay enough to provide even a subsistence form of living. I would surely hope that these extremes do not apply to the elderly and disabled for whom there is no possibility to earn extra money.

  74. The cuts to housing are horrifying -- as The Guardian explains today, some rents in subsidized housing will triple. Explain to me how reducing access to housing, and thereby increasing the incidence of homelessness, will improve the economy.

  75. Vicious cuts to services for those whom most need them without raising taxes on the wealthiest Britons, whom can definitely afford to pay more. On top of that cutting police funding? Can you say anarchy in the UK? This isn't gonna turn out well for them.

    Sounds like the same game plan the GOP has here for the US. Let me see, we need to spur the economy? Tax cuts for the wealthiest. What the economy collaped? The answer? More tax cuts for the wealthiest. Unemployment is still going up and the economy is getting worse? What to do next? More tax cuts for the wealthiest. We are heading into a double dip recession, with deflation being a possibility, with huge deficits caused by all the tax breaks for the wealthy? Our plan? More tax cuts for the wealthy!!! Our republic is left in ruins and America resembles a 3rd world country? Its ok the wealthiest have it all. Mission accomplished!!!

    Welcome to the GOP's vision (at the behest of their billionare benefactors) for 21st Century America...and the world.

  76. I agree with the comments that suggest Obama could learn a lot from these Brits. Everyone says Obama is smart. I have yet to see the evidence. If he is smart then this should be a learning experience for him. We need to drastically cut all government expnditures.

  77. With about 11.5% public debt of total GDP and slow economic recovery, though the sharp public spending cuts together with downsizing the government departments, whole exempting the British National Health Service, and public education from this drastic spending cuts, though seems the last resort to prevent the British economy from going to the brink, and also, in keeping with the poll promises made by the ruling Conservative-Liberal coalition, yet the government would have to do a tight-rope walking while balancing the deficit concerns and the imperatives of employment-generating growth, for even a small step of economic/fiscal policy indiscretion is likely to plunge the British economy into the spiral of double-dip recession, with serious social-political consequences for the British society and the state.

  78. This is a great way to increase unemployment and reduce consumer spending--is it any wonder that conservative governments always preside over large economic declines?

    The only ones that will gain are the super rich--that's why they tend to be "conservative." The middle class eats up their bogus doomsday scenarios and "the money isn't there" mantras, and thus are duped into voting for policies against their own self interest. So many sheep ready willing and able to be fleeced.

  79. Half a million big spenders are going to be unemployed. this will help the recovery? The cuts are to come out of the hide of the general wage earning public through reduced services. Great. This will help the recovery. as government spending is reduced, competition for jobs will increase, reducing wages, and hence further reducing consumption. Great say the tories. The plan to reduce the deficit, is to reduce consumption. Since Britain is not part of the EURO, it cannot increase export sto make up for this shortfall in consumption. Should they now print money? No this is no good since banks won't lend out money no matter what they get. The rich are already glutted, and don't need money. they just won't risk investing. So then we move on to plan C: fiscal policy, i.e. raise taxes, but on the general public only by raising the VAT. Consequence: reduce consumption once again? What all this means is that the Tory platform has Britain in a bind. We can see a shrunken economy that pays off well for the few, but a large portion of the British people will be forced to go a begging. With a T-Party Republican government, we will end up in a worse condition here in the States.

  80. I don't agree with their rationale for the austerity changes, but I do agree in the reduction of their military expenditures, the increase in the retirement age and their reduction in the size of the government bureaucracy. In America any talk of reducing the size of the military budget would be met with objections from the very Republicans who are promoting cuts in social services to the poor.

    We need to attack the sacred cows in society, such as medicare, social security, and most other government benefits. Until we do that we will not attack any deficit problems. What will actually happen is that we will go over the cliff because we are chiefly concerned with who is on television dancing and singing.

  81. Ah yes, conservative policy 101.

    After the super rich have stolen everything that wasn't bolted down; bail them out so they retain their billionaire lifestyles, while sending their victims - working people - to the unemployment lines.

    Then, boot them to the streets by foreclosing on their homes when they lose their jobs (due to the super rich criminals) and can't pay their mortgages.

    This is the new conservative world order - where being a dispicable psychopath and unconscionable sociopath apparently has no borders.

    I think these "global elite" need to re-visit the lesson of Mad'am guilotine and the French revolt of the 1790's.

  82. This blame the worker, blame the teacher all at a time when we have the highest number of peope living below the poverty line in 70years. Why is it that no one looks at the trillion dollar costs of two wars that were completely unnecessary. Even Afghanistan, should have been an intelligence operation carried out by our inept CIA, instead of our inept bloated military.
    What is the true economic impact of spending over a trillion dollars on this folly, not to mention the wasted lives and the future enmity of our so-called "allies"

  83. global elites formula:

    - ask puppet govts to raise taxes in the name of socialism.
    - then reduce benifits for which you are taxing them in the name of budget tightening (if they are serious then useless defense budget should be tightened first).
    - but keep the tax rate unchanged :)

    remind me of matrix.. ppl are too dumb to realize that their life is only worth what they can be taxed.

  84. That's was the agreement by the big 20 countries austerity for the common people and still with the spending wars. So, now we suffer that policy here with almost 20 million of the unemployees and there in UK the change from here by injection of billion of dollars (the Group of Fox)to replace Gordon Brown -he believe in double the deficit to help the common people-.

  85. Wow! No mention of reducing the military budget or increasing the taxes of the very wealthy. The private sector will not hire the 500,000 government employees being laid off. They will find a country with extremely low wages (China) and hire there. Unfortunately the British who have been laid off wont be able to afford the goods the private sector makes so expect many companies to collaspe. Meanwhile they plan on cutting pensions that haven't kept up with the cost of living and raising the retirement age (we hope you die so we don't have to support you in your old age). Further nowhere did I read anything concerning rebuilding and/or maintaining the Public Infrastructure that the Government provides, you know, schools, roads, hospitals, public transportation, etc. Why don't they just bring back the debtor's prison and indentured servants and be done with it?

  86. Sure there needs to be some pruning of public spending but where are the tax increases on the wealthy that will share the burden and responsiblity across all classes. They cannot hope to balance their budget without them and yet the Conservative movement (in Britain and America) refuses to come to grips with that reality. This is just more posturing and hot air from the right that signifies nothing. And to all the working class folks that vote for these people, enjoy the really low tax bill you have when you're unemployed.

  87. The US should follow the Brits to brake the downward spiraling economy:
    1. Cut military spending by stopping the two stupid wars.
    2. Cut subsidy to all corporations.
    3. Cut all government employee salary at least 10%.
    4. Cut real estate tax at least 10%.
    After the cuts, price control measures must be enacted to stop inflation until the our sick economy is stablized.

  88. Cameron's approach is at least honest and direct, whatever the merits of the details. A smart approach for the US Congress would be to reduce Pentagon and CIA funding by 1/3 over three years, end our "optional" foreign wars immediately, and enact Medicare for all, putting insurance companies out of business and saving 10-15% on our health care bill off the top. We could save $250B out of defense and $350B out of health care and end up healthier and safer. End foreign tax loopholes, restore Eisenhower era tax rates on the rich, and institute a Value added tax of around 8% and we our federal budget would be in balance. Then invest like crazy in clean energy, efficiency, and EVs to cut our foreign oil bill by $350 billion a year. That's what adults would do. With business as usual, we will double-dip within three years and be in a world of hurt.

  89. A harsh proposal, but it is instructive to see a political system that actually works, with real proposals rather than slogans. Let the (real) debate begin.

  90. A preview of the USA after the 2012 election? I hope so. The comments in here tell me that most people have no clue as to how the economy or even money works. We cannot afford out of control government spending. It catches up with us. The mentality of throwing money a problems that are not fixed with more money has to come to an end. We CANNOT afford it!

  91. Whew! Don't have to worry about necessary cuts in spending and entitlement increases here, for the sake of our kids, grandkids or the nation's fiscal wellbeing. We'll make sure we don't elect those with enough guts to pull off such shenanigans!

  92. The cuts to higher education funding are stupid and short-sighted. Like the USA, only the comfortable or well-off will be able to afford university education.

    This is Conservative credo at it finest. Tread the middle and working classes into an underclass. Are they trying to turn Britain into a Republican USA wannabe?

    Since they left such generous allowances for "defense," will they now start emulating their American cousins and make the only route to college education for the underclasses a stint doing time as cannon fodder for their corporatist wars?

  93. What struck me is something that all comments failed to note from this article:

    "Additionally, other welfare payments would be limited to 500 pounds a week for couples and families and 350 pounds for single adult households"

    500 pounds a week is close to $800! All this talk about how in the US we need to put austerity measures into place when compared to the British and Europeans we're already there. Can I move to London and be out of work and get $800 a week?

    But alas here in the US we take from the middle class to give to the rich and now want to take from the poor. The rich have done a good job at convincing many that they to can become rich if they "work hard". What they're not telling you as that they benefited from us and want to take away all of the programs which helped them get where they are.

    Its become a matter of, now that I got mine you can't have it.

  94. If it wasn't for capitalist we wouldn't have unions, if we didn't have unions we wouldn't have fraud if we didn't have fraud we wouldn't have the democrat party if we didn't have the democrat party we wouldn't be in this mess.

    Socialist agenda never did and never will work. You cant pay out more then you have. It's like stealing from the rich to give to the poor, what happens when the rich runs out of money? Stop biting the hand that feeds you.

  95. We should be doing the same thing here. Slashing the out of control public worker salaries and pensions. Unions are destroying America.

  96. Ronald Reagan stimulated the economy by increasing spending and thus increasing the deficit.

    We are in hard economic times. Does it make sense to have the government stop spending?

    This is a perfect scenario for the out of balance Republicans. It sounds good to cut your spending and get your house in order when your house is up for foreclosure, right?

    Yeah, this all doesn't make sense.

  97. Maybe The US can copy their actions. The Democrats have a majority in Congress. They need to move on this now.

  98. This is the shape of things to come for the USA.

    The military conquest of the entire planet is a fool's errand. Which is not to say that American politicians and the electorate are not up to it. But, unfortunately for them both, the money will just not be there.

  99. Yesterday the BBC posted a headline about defence spending cuts, first. The NYT had nothing about it. Oh no, we can't even think about that!

    How un-godly it would be to cut the budget of the largest social welfare recipient in the history of time - the us "defense" department.

    Kill, create more "terrorists", kill more "terrorists", create more "terrorists", spend more, profit more... wag the flag.

    Kill, create more "terrorists", kill more "terrorists", create more "terrorists", spend more, profit more... wag the flag.

    Kill, create more "terrorists", kill more "terrorists", create more "terrorists", spend more, profit more... wag the flag.

    What a wonderful society!

  100. Why are we following the failed path of the Brits? Do we not learn anything from the experience of others?

  101. In response to poster #29 Rodrigo de Posa's "500 000 jobless people? That makes a revolution."

    Yes, but this is why we have the highest military spending...

  102. England and America cannot be compared. England has little land left to be developed, it has a large aristocracy that controls most of the land. If you aren't born into money you can't afford a good school and can't get a good job. It is a stifling environment. I can't say I disagree with these cuts (500 per week is like $750 a week, can you imagine if people could receive $3k a month in welfare?) unnecessary public sector jobs should ALWAYS be cut, and its good they are not decreasing education or health spending.

    The problem the U.S. is facing is entirely different. Over the course of the past 10 years, because of China, and favorable laws to big business, it is immensely profitable to "outsource" jobs to China and India. WHAT ARE WE DOING??????

    All manufacturing jobs are in China, and now we are outsourcing our entire service industry to India. Where is anyone in the U.S. going to work now???

    If we don't intervene and stop this trend, we will find ourselves in a welfare state where Americans can only be consumers, shipping all our wealth abroad.

    We have to create incentives for companies to stay (tax incentives) and deterrents for companies who try to leave (tax penalties)

    We have to continue investing in education, and stop the health insurance and drug company monopolies who are gouging us at the pharmacy.

  103. thank God,somebody finally got some sense,who needs nuclear battleships top fight dirt poor shoeless farmers with antique weapons in the mountain villages of Afganistan,the latest trillion dollar threat. Or ,is it just the trillions of dollars which has become the threat. with Tony the lap pooch gone the Brits cannot whimper,and ko -toe to heel no more.

  104. Oh good, the UK has learned from the US - save the rich, let the working and middle class figure it out for themselves. Too bad "we're all in this together" is just an empty promise.

  105. What choice does Great Britain have? It will happen here too. In most states the largest employer is the state itself.

  106. I have the answer! Turn the clock back to 2000 and begin. Present the 2000 budget to the congress in Jan 11 with cost of living increases and spending is reduced considerably. We'll learn to live within our means.

  107. I hope Obama reads this. Firing 500,000 government "workers" would be a good start.

  108. A couple will get benefits that are the equivalent of $785.77 dollars a WEEK, a single person $350 a week, for what exactly? No wonder they are broke.

  109. Wow! 500 pounds a week, that's nearly what I make, including all deductions and I work full time in the same job I've been working for nearly 13 years!

    I'm so glad, this is happening. My brother is over there with his family and is literally a leach off of the economy. Watch out Mom and Dad, you're about to gain 6 dependents all of working age and ability!

  110. Health Care won't be cut, will it?

  111. Not since Churchill have we witnessed such courage in England.

    May our feckless leadership take note.

  112. Reality is the gap between the have and have not is continuing to widen and that is not a good thing. If they were not so greedy, they would keep the middle class satisfied.

  113. It's the Anglo disease; unfortunately, America (and Obama) have got it. Traditionally, you spend your way out of a recession--but the new ethos is to starve your way out. . . a generation of lost children will follow.

    In the old days, the conservatives understood that you retained a welfare system to keep the poor from stabbing you when you stepped out your front door in the a.m.s. They must have a stronger belief in their security nowadays.

  114. Cameron looks...turned on in that picture.
    Why is Britain suddenly on the NYT radar? Why does it matter that Britain is slashing deficits? Did I miss a part in this piece that should have noted Britain wants to cut its Navy funding, as the UK knows no military threats? Now that should be celebrated. Not the disaster of having, in my posh locality alone, a library and community center shut down, amongst other community services.

    For those wishing we would do the same things Brits are doing, by slashing "benefits". Our system is nothing like theirs! It seems like a third of the populace lives in public housing! The benefits extend to bizarrely levels on the one hand and then to paltry ones on the other.

    Another article on Britain and its generosity towards its populace left me absolutely dumbfounded. The article interviewed a family in the extremely wealthy neighborhood of Hampstead Heath about the so called child-benefits they receive. That's like interviewing folks living on CPW about their child tax credit!!! Fact is, child care here in London (unlike most other European countries) is extremely expensive. Were talking 75 to 150 USD a DAY expensive. So, a 100 bucks a week coming your way to help foot the bill for day care is not a lavish amount for a middle class family living in, say Wimbledon or Hackney or a gazillion other places in the city that are NOT Hampstead Heath. Also, many who work here legally and pay full taxes here are not eligible for "public funds" and are thus not entitled to the child benefit. That includes a considerable chunk of people.

    Don't compare Britain to Scandinavia or Germany or France. It's a band-aid culture and society. It doesn't know if it's market based or socialist. Whether you're on the right of the left, the UK is a bad example. Their socialized medicine costs individual tax payers a fortune while providing so little so badly that many of us who can get care elsewhere. Then the excellent government services you find in other socialized European countries, daycares, schools and heck, even public transportation, are major FAILS in the UK.

  115. Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrats, it really doesn´t matter who is making the decisions. The Brits are going to have to go back to stocking up on Spam.

  116. Bravo to the Brits!!! Making the hard choices is something to be seen and lauded. Cameron, Sarkozy, and Merkel--the New New Europe.

  117. Here and in the UK the poor and middle class are asked to sacrifice but not the very rich.

  118. NOTE: Britain's "public deficit is one of the highest among developed economies, running at 11.5 per cent of its total economic output, compared to 10.7 per cent for the United States and 5.4 per cent for Germany."
    Since the US is not that far away from Britain's situation -- we should take a hard look at this blueprint for sustainable prosperity.

  119. #68 Ryan: "People at the end of the day need to provide for themselves. If that seems harsh at the end of the day, well, life is hard. Its not fair. Move on."
    ----------------

    So, after you've lost your job and find yourself homeless and living in a cardboard box, you won't mind when the rest of us shrug indifferently and sneer that same thing at you as we stroll on by.

  120. Need to cut harder and deeper. Way too many slackers who spend a lifetime on the Public Dole. Cut the Lifers in Government by the full 25% and raise the retirement age even sooner. Hopefully the US can implement half these cuts - otherwise the current generation will beggar the rest of us while they collect fat pensions after a lifetime of consumption, leaving the rest of us a bankrupt economy and society.

  121. news folks:
    UK was most *un*socialist country in EU.. Germany is the most socialist country.
    news ends:

  122. @hairy nosed wombat: It is a blog comment for goodness sake. Get over it! Half the people type on iPhone or other mobile devices with tiny screens and tinier keys. Oh yeah, folks... get off your duffs and VOTE next month!

  123. Like any time you vote in conservatives -- they run their campaign n vague platitudes about "reigning in government" etc. But once in office that set of vague platitudes becomes the very real "balance the budget on the backs of the poor" that governing conservative elites have done since the days of Prince John....

  124. Ahem--my fellow Americans listen up! If you think things are bad here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Stressed Out Pill Popping Workaholic, just think of how much worse things are across the pond! If the American Revolution had failed we would not only be addressing Elizabeth Windsor as Your Majesty but we would have to cough up big time in taxes to support her and the rest of the Royals!

    Why doesn't England lay off the middle class for a change and cut off the Royal allowance entirely! Elizabeth Windsor is incredibly rich and she could hire her own staff. Or better still she could join the rest of the world and make do with or do without.

    I want to ask the English--why do you persist on putting up with Royal foolishness when your own benefits are on the conservative chopping block?!

  125. Good day, visitor of the New York Times on the web. But from a purely selfish point of-view, I feel Happy. I feel Happy that _neither_ my 2 brothers _nor_ I have children.

    Yeah Barrack [sic, I know. :-) ], please feel free to punish those who make America work! Loafers (of the human kind, not shoes) vote, too.

    Now I can crawl-back into my Secure Hole & feel Happy as I listen to Rush Limbaugh! :-) & :-) Thank you.