CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research


En Español

Em Português

Other Languages

Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Note to NYT on Coverage of UK Austerity: Economies Ordinarily Grow

Note to NYT on Coverage of UK Austerity: Economies Ordinarily Grow

Tuesday, 07 January 2014 05:40

The NYT discussed the state of debate in the United Kingdom on the conservative government's austerity policy. The piece notes that the economy is now growing again and implies that the austerity policies might be the basis for this renewed growth.

Actually, economies almost always grow, so there really should not be much debate about whether austerity policies deserve credit. This is like noticing that a child is taller at age six than she had been at age five and then boasting that her growth must have been attributable to six months of a near starvation diet. While that may be the nature of political debate in the United Kingdom, the billions of people around the world who know that children grow would recognize it as absurd.

Similarly, it is absurd to say that an economy has resumed growth after years of recession or near recession conditions, owes this growth to austerity. The NYT is not supposed to present delusions of political leaders to its readers as plausible explanations of reality.

Comments (3)Add Comment
written by Last Mover, January 07, 2014 7:44

Doctor: Have you been on a taker diet or a maker diet?

Patient: I have always been on the well known Austerian Maker Diet.

Doctor: Then why are you so thin and fragile?

Patient: Well, so many of us went on it at one time, one day we looked around and there was not enough to eat.

Now we call it the Anorexia Diet, guaranteed to keep makers safe from those on a taker diet - since there's nothing to take.

We may be thin and fragile. But we're safe.
A Bit Unfair to the Times
written by Ellen1910, January 07, 2014 8:52

The subject of the news article is how the three political parties are positioning themselves, that is, their proposed economic policies, in light of the fact that Britain's economy is growing -- whatever the cause. And I don't read that the reporter remarked upon the cause.

What's sad is that all three British political parties seem to have drunk the Austerity KoolAid differing only on the question of who should bear the pain. On the big question the voters aren't being given a choice.
UK's finance minister is lying.
written by Ralph Musgrave, January 08, 2014 12:51

Britain’s right of centre finance minister, George Osborne, obviously claims that recent UK growth is due to his austerity policies. But an examination of the FIGURES shows he is actually implementing a Keynsian “borrow and spend” boom.

And the fact that there’s an election coming up is of course entirely coincidental. I mean I wouldn’t want to accuse him of engineering a pre-election boom (ho ho). See:


Write comment

(Only one link allowed per comment)

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.


Support this blog, donate
Combined Federal Campaign #79613

About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.