Just a short addition to today’s post. I had assumed that the Conservatives’ macroeconomic pitch for the next election was going to be based on prudence and ‘responsibility’. Only we will achieve a budget surplus by 2020, because only we recognise how dangerously high the current level of government debt is. We will achieve this, because unlike the other parties we do not go around making unfunded spending commitments. Of course the Conservatives would plan targeted tax breaks for the (very) well off, like the one on pensions announced earlier this week and well described by the Economist here, but these would be sufficiently specialised that they would not dent the public image.
I was wrong, as Cameron revealed today with commitments to large tax cuts mainly for middle and high income earners by 2020 whatever. These commitments are totally unfunded, in the sense that we are not told how they would be paid for (except that it will not be by additional borrowing). So the pretence that government spending had to be cut to get debt down has gone - we now have lower government spending (which, given existing commitments, has to mean additional money from the working poor and disabled) in order to cut taxes.
I mentioned last week the drubbing the supposedly left leaning Channel 4 news gave Ed Miliband because he forgot to mention the deficit. As anticipated, John Snow’s interview with Cameron was an altogether more friendly affair. But today their economics editor Paul Mason, whose journalism can be very good, was forced to acknowledge that this unfunded tax give away broke from the recent tradition where particular fiscal pledges were fully costed. But no fear, even Mr. Mason lives in mediamacro land. His final thought on this unfunded tax pledge - it puts Labour in a very difficult position!?! Unbelievable.