Guido's Advice to Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson has been very self deprecating about his economic knowledge, promising to get a text-book to brush up. He faces George Osborne at the Dispatch box for the first time today.

In truth to be Shadow Chancellor does not require a knowledge of neo-classical endogenous growth theory. He needs to just pick a few issues with which to harry the government. Guido checked Alan Johnson’s website to discover a flavour of his approach to economics. Unfortunately he doesn’t appear to have one. All Guido could find under the “business and economy” heading was a press release about the PBR dating back to December 2009.

Since Alan seems devoid of his own ideas, perhaps he could borrow some ideas from his fellow progressive Barack Obama? Obama is giving individuals a progressive tax break this year of 6.2% of earned income up to $400 for individuals and up to $800 for couples, phased out at an income of $75,000. Obama is also giving parents a $1,000 tax break per child (in France it is €5,000) that would please the squeezed middle-classes.

Barack Obama says that the the one thing you don’t do in a recession is raise personal taxes, taking money out of the economy. Alan Johnson should stand foursquare against Osborne’s VAT hike. The Coalition has no mandate for it, in fact half of them campaigned against it. If the economy double dips next year as a result of consumer spending being crushed, Johnson needs to position himself to be able to pin the blame on Osborne’s VAT hike…




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George Osborne paraphrases Boris, telling the FT:

“If the ball came loose at the back of the scrum, I wouldn’t fumble it”

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