Guido's Misery Index : Britain's Got the Blues

Dave wants us to have some kind of gross national happiness index, an idea Sarkozy has also pushed. Not sure if the government really has any control over our overall happiness, it seems to Guido that governments mostly cause unhappiness and can do little to make us smile. The national mood is cheered by things like good weather, Royal Weddings and sporting victories which are beyond the government’s direct control.

Ronald Reagan popularised the idea of a “Misery Index” initiated by the economist Arthur Okun, an adviser to President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. It was simply the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate.

Given the budget deficit is the biggest economic challenge the country faces today, Guido’s Misery Index adds on the government’s deficit divided by the GDP taken from the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Retail Prices Index + Unemployment rate + ( Public Sector Net Cash Requirement / GDP ) = Misery Index

Plugging in the latest available figures for September 2010 gives you:

4.6% + 7.7% + (20.7 / 331.4 x 100)  = 18.55

The Misery Index has been steadily increasing since the beginning of the year. Misery rising even after Gordon has gone. Welcome to Tory Britain, it’s certainly blue.

N.B. Stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.
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