THE BRITISH MODEL THE GOP IS SO FOND OF…. A few months ago, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) of Alabama urged President Obama to follow the lead set by our friends across the pond: “We need a budget with a bold vision — like [the one] unveiled in Britain.”
This isn’t an uncommon sentiment on the right. British officials are pursuing policies similar to those Republicans are demanding in the United States, so GOP praise for Cameron and his austerity agenda has been incorporated into the party’s talking points on many occasions.
And how’s that British model working out?
In the United States, the debate over how to cut the long-term budget deficit is just getting under way.
But in Britain, one year into its own controversial austerity program to plug a gaping fiscal hole, the future is now. And for the moment, the early returns are less than promising.
Retail sales plunged 3.5 percent in March, the sharpest monthly downturn in Britain in 15 years. And a new report by the Center for Economic and Business Research, an independent research group based here, forecasts that real household income will fall by 2 percent this year. That would make Britain’s income squeeze the worst for two consecutive years since the 1930s. […]
“My view is that we are in serious danger of a double-dip recession,” said Richard Portes, an economist at the London Business School. “This is going to be a cautionary tale.”
To be sure, there are some differences between Tories and Republicans — Tories are so serious about deficit reduction, they’re willing to raise taxes. Republicans want to privatize Medicare out of existence, while British conservatives are just cutting social programs’ budgets.
But the larger point remains the same. The Cameron government believes the path to prosperity runs though fewer public services, less public investment, and counting on low interest rates to save the day. This experiment isn’t working at all.
Remind me again why Republicans are so eager to follow Britain’s lead? Why they see the cautionary tale, and don’t care?