Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story

Guido is watching a preview of film maker Martin Durkin’s very accessible look at the economic situation we are in. As Ireland’s political class mortgages future generations to keep the ECB and bondholders happy it explains the full extent of the financial mess the UK is in. Not quite at Irish levels, but if Gordon had won the election…

Durkin’s film is polemical, but he is right, inflation and debt are going to impoverish us for generations. Worth watching tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm. Though it may give you nightmares…

Quote of the Day

Nassim Nicholas Taleb said…

“Obama did exactly the opposite of what should have been done… He surrounded himself with people who exacerbated the problem. You have a person who has cancer and instead of removing the cancer, you give him tranquilizers. When you give tranquilizers to a cancer patient, they feel better but the cancer gets worse… Total debt is higher than it was in 2008 and unemployment is worse.”

+++ CPI Still High Above Bank of England Target +++

Every month consensus economists* and the Bank of England predict inflation will fall, Mervyn King even talks about the threat from deflation – Guido sees that merely as an excuse to justify printing even more money via quantitative easing (QE). QE means inflation is inevitable.

Get your wheelbarrows out, stock up on gold and baked beans. If you can, buy a productive asset, like farm land – it is an inflation hedge and you won’t go hungry. Here comes inflation – as it always does when governments turn on the printing presses…

See also : Coming Soon : Double Digit Inflation, Double Digit Inflation is a Black Swan, Bank of England Pension Fund Surges Betting on Inflation, Yo Dude, Where’s the Deflation?, UK Dec CPI Posts Largest Jump On Record to 2.9%, Growing Unease About Old Lady’s Secrecy, Something Odd in the Banking Bill

*Liam Halligan and Andrew Lilico being honourable exceptions

Quote of the Day

Nouriel Roubini writes that…

“The reopening of the fire hoses of credit and capital that occurred during the bubble years will happen again and intensify the boom-and-bust cycles. Driven by ever-more- desperate policymakers in the U.S., Europe and Japan, these cycles will both shorten and magnify. Political, policy and regulatory uncertainty will increase, and as a result, financial crises will become more frequent and costly, while risk aversion, volatility and uncertainty will rise.”

Do We Really Need the VAT Hike?

Osborne’s budget has convinced the bond markets that this coalition is serious about tackling the deficit. The rally in gilts since the election and budget has been strong, taking 10-year yields down from 4% to 3% in three months, bringing down long term borrowing rates for mortgage holders and capital hungry growth businesses alike.

There has at the same time been a slew of negative-to-soft data on the economic front, given that the deficit cutting credibility of the government is firmly established, to the nigh on elation of the bond markets, Osborne has now earned a bit of leeway. Having already achieved fiscal credibility, if we do get more soft numbers on the economic front, he could afford to suspend the VAT hike due in January. If he goes ahead with the VAT hike and we do see a double-dip, Ed Balls will be well justified in blaming him for adding to the woes of the consumer. The VAT hike will take £13 billion of spending out of the economy.

David Smith, chairman of the Shadow Monetary Policy Committee group of independent economists, says his budget model calculates the move could increase unemployment by 235,000 over the next decade and reduce GDP by 1.4% over the same period. Do we really need to be reducing GDP at this time? The fiscal flagellation is no longer required to appease the gilt market…

Spending Cuts: Real or Unreal?

Last week John Redwood advanced the argument that we will not see any overall cut in government spending during this parliament, Guido would add that the government isn’t planning on paying down a single penny of the national debt by 2015 either. Nobody challenged the Redwood-Guido contention that in cash terms there is no overall spending cut – the fact is the coalition budgets over the next 5 years to raise expenditure 15% – from some £600 billion to nearly £700 billion.  Some counter that specific expenditure programmes are already being cut because in real-terms, inflation adjusted, there will be an overall cut in government expenditure.

Last week Peter Hoskin on the Speccie’s CoffeeHouse blog produced a chart* showing an inflation adjusted real-terms spending cut of 2.7% after 5 years. Even this thinnest of salami slices doesn’t ring true, Guido is under the impression that the Treasury aims to keep spending flat in real terms. Peter was kind enough to supply the spreadsheet showing his workings.

Peter used a combination of HM Treasury sources to calculate his deflator (red). If however we plug in the Bank of England’s inflation target of 2% things come out different (orange). Mervyn King was warning us only last year, when he was making the case for printing money (QE), that it was deflation that was the coming threat. Nevertheless if we ignore his previous scaremongering and accept that he will meet the Bank of England’s 2% average inflation target over the term of the parliament, the result is a real terms cut of 0.2%. That is a rounding error, not a significant real terms cut in government expenditure. Based on the Bank of England’s inflation target, government spending by 2015 compared to 2010 will be flat in real terms.

Contrary to the BBC-Guardian cuts narrative, the reality is that there is going to be a real terms spending freeze, the coalition is planning a spending hike of 15% in cash terms, it isn’t planning real terms cuts and it isn’t planning to pay down a penny of the national debt. The deficit unfortunately will still be with us come the next general election…

*Fraser Nelson has other 21st century modernisation plans besides charts for the Speccie under his kilt. Expect to see changes to the magazine’s cover, look and feel.

+ + + UK GDP Increased 1.1% in Q2 + + +

The ONS today reported that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 1.1% in the second quarter of 2010, compared with an increase of 0.3% in the previous quarter. That is much higher than expected, almost double what consensus economists were forecasting. Good news for the economy but terrible news for the agreed Balls-Byrne line that public sector cuts “risk a double dip recession”. If this number is not rogue it blows IMF and OBR predictions out of the water on the upside. It also blows Labour’s political strategy…

This will cause anguish in Labour circles (whatever they say publicly) because if the Coalition gets the economy to bounce and grow strongly by 2014, Labour faces becoming the third party. Labour needs bad news to thrive electorally…

€uropean Debt Crisis Explained

Australia based Kiwi satirist John Clarke explains the €uro Debt Crisis with some wit. The Aussies are laughing at us because they are literally sitting on thousands of tonnes of gold…

Via the Devil.

Markets Like the Change Coalition

Before the election George Osborne and many Tory leaning pundits were claiming that a coalition government would wreak havoc in financial markets.  Guido argued the opposite – that a “Change Coalition” would see gilts rocket upwards – only a government […]

+ READ MORE +

The Spectre of Sovereign Collapse Haunts Europe

Most of the non-financial Dead Tree Press has been so focused on the election that they haven’t noticed that Europe’s financial markets are in meltdown, the euro is plunging and a spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of sovereign […]

+ READ MORE +

Reality Check on Cuts

As Labour begins to scream hysterically about the planned £6 billion reduction in over-spending which will be made in Osborne-Law’s Emergency Budget, it falls to Guido to remind readers again that £6 billion is less than 1% of government spending […]

+ READ MORE +

Markets Stable, Sterling Rising

Sterling is rising from lows against the dollar as the City expects a Lib-Con deal, gilts are going sideways, the EU Greece-Euro bailout is also cheering markets. Gilts are a buy if you believe a Lib-Con regime will take tough […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Ken Clarke tells the Ben Fellows trial:

“The idea that I would go strolling off in order to grope a man in an office is highly unlikely.”

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