Mitos e factos sobre a austeridade

Simon Wren-Lewis perdeu algum tempo a escrever uma série de posts sobre a percepção e a realidade da macroeconomia da austeridade. Ao todo são oito entradas, resumidas em Mediamacro myths. Num registo menos técnico, Paul Krugman escreveu no Guardian uma anatomia da política orçamental dos últimos cinco anos: The austerity delusion. Vale a pena ler os dois – e ter cuidado para distinguir os argumentos que valem para com acesso ao mercado dos argumentos que se aplicam a países como Portugal.

The story presented in much of the UK media is simple and intuitive. The previous government messed up: they spent too much, and it left the UK economy on the brink of financial meltdown. The coalition came to the rescue: clearing up the mess was tough at first, but now it is all coming good.

AIn previous posts I have shown that this is almost complete fiction. The increase in the government’s budget deficit under Labour was all about the recession, which in turn was created by the global financial crisis. There was no prospect of a UK financial crisis in 2010, which meant that austerity was not something the government was forced to undertake. Reducing the deficit could have been left until the recovery was secure (and crucially interest rates had risen above their lower bound), but the coalition chose to do otherwise. As a result they delayed the recovery by three years, at great cost. Even since 2013 we have simply seen a return to normal growth rates: there has been no catching up of lost ground. In that sense growth under the coalition hardly deserves the term recovery, and we have seen an unprecedented lack of growth in living standards. Productivity growth has been non-existent, yet the government has feted the employment growth that is its counterpart.

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