"Is there some good reason why deficit obsession should still rule in Britain, even as it fades away everywhere else? No. This country is not different. The economics of austerity are the same – and the intellectual case as bankrupt – in Britain as everywhere else."
Last month I noted (by way of sarcasm) that a majority of leading economists feel that the Coalition's austerity measures have not had a positive effect on the economy. In this superb article for the Guardian, accessible to the layman (speaking as one myself), Paul Krugman goes further in stressing that they've actually had a damaging and retarding effect on growth.
What he rightly finds particularly extraordinary is that in the UK the belief that such measures are both prudent and necessary remains strong and widespread. This flies in the face of all the evidence that exposes so-called "expansionary austerity" as a myth - and, moreover, one that it has lost currency everywhere else in the world. Krugman's explanation for why this might be is depressingly predictable - the measures are politically motivated rather than economically sound.
The piece is a very timely read ahead of the election - especially given the way that Labour and the Lib Dems seem as blindly preoccupied with the need for cuts and budget deficit reduction as the Tories.
(Thanks to Alex for the link.)