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Things to Read on the Afternoon of December 8, 2013

Must-Read for the Evening of December 8, 2013: John Cassidy: By George, Britain's Austerity Experiment Didn't Work!

Mark Thoma: sends us to John Cassidy: By George, Britain's Austerity Experiment Didn't Work!

George Osborne, the patron saint of austerity enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic, was in the House of Commons on Thursday, reveling in the fact that the U.K.’s economy is finally growing again.... For Britons who have been laboring through more than five years of recession, or near recession, that is welcome news.... It’s a clever political line... it appears to be having an impact... caught by surprise most forecasters....

But from an economic perspective, Osborne’s argument is hogwash. His effort to cure the patient by subjecting it to the equivalent of leeching—big cuts in government spending and higher taxes—a return to pre-Keynesian policies watched closely the world over, failed abysmally.... It produced a dearth of public-sector and private-sector investment that will hobble Britain for years to come. It even failed to meet its own targets of drastically reducing the budget deficit and bringing down Britain’s over-all debt burden....

The problem... is that the 'hard work' hasn’t paid off. After three and a half years of austerity, the outlook for the government’s finances doesn’t look any better than it did when Osborne entered office. In fact, it looks worse..."