Saturday, January 10, 2009

Print - and be damned!

Ruth Lea provides a salutary reminder in this post of just how bad the economic position is for the UK and just how badly placed we are to weather the storm.

She makes the point that "as people in the private sector lose their jobs, the public sector continues to expand. Indeed it is government policy that it should continue to do so – even though the public borrowing figures are appalling and the productivity record in the public sector is frankly disgraceful, thus dragging down the overall performance of the economy.... In the third quarter of 2008 public sector employment rose by 14,000, compared with a fall of 128,000 in the private sector. Given the substantial increase in public sector employment since 1997 (it was 5.2 million in 1997 and is currently nearly 5.8 million), there should surely be room for cost savings and belt-tightening, which could help finance tax cuts and stimulate the wealth-producing private sector. But our Prime Minister doesn’t see it that way."

One of the commenters on Ruth Lea's post (Steve Tierney) makes a telling point: "Could I draw everyone's attention to the 2008 Banking Bill which proposed the abolition of the weekly return: 'Section 6 of the Bank Charter Act 1844 (Bank to produce weekly account) shall cease to have effect'. The effect of this change was essentially to make it unnecessary for the bank to publish details of new printed money. Interesting minor change in the Bank Charter Act that dates back to 1844, isn't it? I wonder why they did it? Hmmmm."

Can you hear the whir of the printing presses?