Of course it appears like we will just keep doing the same thing and expect different results.
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Why not consider sending this post to your Member of Parliament for his/her consideration?
Following are a few pertinent points:
"When anti-austerity policymakers or critics talk about austerity without even alluding to this distinction in how deficit reduction is achieved, they do a disservice to the clarity of the issues at hand, since different types of austerity measures produce very different results.
"This testimony is based on a paper I wrote with Harvard University economist Alberto Alesina, called “Austerity: The Relative Effects of Tax Increases versus Spending Cuts.” (pdf) As we explain in detail in that paper, the consensus in the academic literature is that the composition of fiscal adjustment is a key factor in achieving successful and lasting reductions in the debt-to-GDP ratio. The general consensus is that fiscal adjustment packages comprising mostly spending cuts are more likely to lead to lasting debt reduction than those composed of tax increases.
"There is still significant debate about the short-term economic impact of fiscal adjustments, but some important lessons have emerged. First, fiscal adjustments and economic growth are not incompatible. Second, while fiscal adjustments may not always trigger immediate economic growth, spending-based adjustments are much less costly in terms of output than tax-based ones. In fact, when governments try to reduce their debt by raising taxes, the policy is more likely to result in deep and pronounced recessions, possibly making the fiscal adjustment counterproductive. Finally, there is some evidence that expansionary fiscal adjustments are more likely to occur when they are accompanied by growth-oriented policies, such as policies liberalizing both labor regulations and markets for goods and services, in addition to a monetary policy that keeps interest rates low."
Here's her conclusion:
"Economists disagree a lot when it comes to fiscal policy. For instance, there is no consensus about the size of the spending multiplier or where on the Laffer curve most countries are situated. However, a consensus seems to have emerged recently that spending-based fiscal adjustments are not only more likely to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio than tax-based ones but also less likely to trigger a recession. In fact, if accompanied by the right type of policies (especially changes to public employees’ pay and public pension reforms), spending-based adjustments can actually be associated with economic growth.
"Fortunately, successful fiscal adjustments are possible when based mostly on spending cuts and accompanied by policies that increase competiveness, as we have seen in the case of Germany, Finland, and other more recent examples, such as Estonia and Sweden. However, it is important to refrain from oversimplifying these results since fiscal adjustment packages are often complex and multiyear affairs. Also, many of the successful (i.e., expansionary and debt-to-GDP-reducing) fiscal adjustments in this literature are ones where the growth is export-led during times when the rest of the global economy is healthy or even booming. While there has been some recovery in the midst of the recession, we should recognize that it may be much harder today to achieve export-led growth when many countries are struggling.
"The cost of well-designed adjustments plans will not be zero, but will be relatively low. Besides, it is not clear that the alternative to reducing spending is more economic growth. In fact, the alternative for certain countries could be a very messy debt crisis."
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