THE MINOR DETAIL SCARBOROUGH OVERLOOKED…. In keeping with his partisan allies, Republican media personality Joe Scarborough devotes his latest column to praising British Prime Minister David Cameron for his willingness to challenge “the British cradle-to-grave welfare state that has grown uninterrupted since Winston Churchill was kicked out of office after World War II.”
Cameron has taken the hatchet to defense spending and proposed raising the age for retirement benefits. It has been a death-defying act for a British politician whose chance of survival seems unlikely at best.
Cameron was elected because he promised to make tough choices and, a year after the formation of his government, he has been true to his word. In a nation conditioned to believe in an all-encompassing welfare state, Cameron looks to raise the retirement age to 66 by the end of the decade, lay off hundreds of thousands of public workers, raise taxes and slash the costs of government programs by an average of 19 percent. He’s even willing to transform the National Health Service, for generations seen as the third rail of British politics, in a move that even members of his own party are blasting as “the greatest upheaval in the organization’s history.”
Those radical reforms have been met with large-scale protests that have occasionally descended into violence, but to their credit the prime minister and Clegg stood firm over the past several months. A budget presented in March by George Osborne, Cameron’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, doubled-down on the spending cuts despite increasing public resistance.
It goes on (and on) from there — nearly a thousand words on how impressed Scarborough is with Cameron, his similarities to Thatcher, his willingness to support a conservative agenda, how the United States will soon have to go in a similar directions, etc.
The one thing Scarborough neglected to mention? Cameron’s agenda isn’t working and austerity is a failure. The British economy is contracting and household incomes are shrinking. Richard Portes, an economist at the London Business School recently said Cameron’s failures are likely to be “a cautionary tale” to others thinking about following his lead.
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, and yet, Joe Scarborough somehow neglected to mention this minor detail.