The political right is in an illiberal trap of its own making, which offers their opponents opportunities
Mainly Macro
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5d ago
  A new CPS report 'Taking Back Control’, co-written by the relatively sensible and numerate among Conservative MPs Neil O’Brien, proposes a national commitment to return net migration to the historical norm of the tens of thousands. The last government to do such a thing was of course the Cameron coalition, and their failure to meet these targets was a key factor behind the rise of UKIP and Brexit. Others are more qualified to discuss the report in detail. Instead I want to set it within a much broader political economy framework, mainly focused on the UK but with references to the US w ..read more
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High on their own supply
Mainly Macro
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2w ago
  There was a point on the BBC’s Question Time last week where the Minister for Policing Chris Philip, who was until recently an immigration minister, asked whether the Congo is a different country from Rwanda. It was sufficiently embarrassing that even the Mail reported it as such, and described the audience gasping and laughing in front of the camera. This may be an extreme example, but it is increasingly difficult for most people, including much of the mainstream media, to take our current government and the Conservative party seriously. There comes a point for any government that has ..read more
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PLEASE UPDATE THE RSS FEED
Mainly Macro
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3w ago
The RSS feed URL you're currently using https://follow.it/mainlymacro will stop working shortly. Please add /rss at the and of the URL, so that the URL will be https://follow.it/mainlymacro/rss ..read more
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The Bernanke Review of Bank of England Forecasting
Mainly Macro
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1M ago
  My guess is that the world is divided into two groups of people: those who are really interested in the process by which central banks decide on monetary policy, and those who are largely disinterested. If I’m right, and you are part of the second group, it may be wise to skip this blog. As the job of central banks is to set interest rates to keep inflation close to target, and inflation over the recent past has been well above target, then a typical reaction might be that central banks have slipped up in some way. The Bank of England is a typical central bank in this respect, and it c ..read more
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The Anatomy and Reasons for UK relative Economic and Political decline over the last decade and a half
Mainly Macro
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1M ago
  Nothing works anymore, the country is in a mess, worker’s living standards have remained stagnant, public services are at breaking point. Such statements are now commonplace, and are increasingly brought together in articles like this one by Sam Knight in the New Yorker. But is all this the result of 14 years of bad government, or can the blame be laid at the door of one or two specific events like austerity or Brexit? Economic decline I want to start with a post I wrote two years ago, where I was already talking about an unprecedented era of UK macroeconomic decline. I focused on com ..read more
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Why raising taxes substantially is critical for the next Labour government to be sure of achieving its missions
Mainly Macro
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1M ago
  My series of posts on detoxifying government debt was all about why Labour should not be afraid to increase public investment substantially. Public investment should be matched by borrowing because future generations benefit from individual investment projects. The same is not the case for most day to day (current) public spending. If the economy is not suffering from deficient aggregate demand, it makes sense to match increases in day to day spending with higher taxes. A fiscal rule that does this (often called the ‘golden rule’) makes sense. That day to day public spending needs to i ..read more
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Detoxifying government debt, part 4. Labour’s inheritance
Mainly Macro
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2M ago
  The Labour party has for a long time been fearful about high government borrowing to fund additional public investment. It didn’t start with 2010 austerity. Gordon Brown, probably the best Chancellor the UK has had over the last 50 years, used PFI mainly as a way of getting public investment done without additional public sector borrowing. It didn’t make economic sense at the time, as public borrowing is normally a far cheaper way of financing investment, but it happened because increasing government debt to finance worthwhile public investment was seen as toxic. In parts 1-3 of this s ..read more
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On maxing out credit cards and magic money trees
Mainly Macro
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2M ago
  “When you repeat a lie, you spread it. When you spread a lie, you strengthen it. When you strengthen a lie, you become an accomplice to it. In this disinformation age, we must do better.” George Lakoff Keir Starmer,in commenting on the recent Budget, said “Britain in recession, the national credit card maxed out, and despite the measures today, the highest tax burden for 70 years”. The analogy of maxing out the nation’s credit card has been repeated by other Shadow ministers. Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chancellor, has joined many Conservative ministers in saying there is no ‘magic money tre ..read more
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How 14 years have shown the impossibility of shrinking the UK state
Mainly Macro
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2M ago
  The Budget was predictable, and predictably boring. Hunt cut taxes, but the tax burden is still rising because of the tax increases already programmed in. Furthermore, he was only able to make the tax cuts he did (i.e. reduce the extent of tax increases) because he had previously pencilled in assumptions about public spending that were fantastically low. You can either portray those assumptions as Austerity 2.0 or just silly - I did the latter here. However, with (I hope) the not silly assumption that this will be the last Conservative budget [1] for a while, I thought it might be usef ..read more
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Rishi Sunak doesn’t want to talk about Islamophobia because he wants to use it
Mainly Macro
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2M ago
 This week I was going to post the final part of my ‘detoxifying government debt’ series, but Sunak’s statement from No.10 last week means that it will have to wait. Lee Anderson had the Conservative Whip withdrawn because he said something wrong and didn’t apologise for it, but ministers were comically unable to say what was wrong about what he had said. They certainly didn’t want to say it was Islamophobic, although it certainly was. [1] Many commented that the Conservative party was reluctant to call Anderson’s words Islamophobic because that would expose the extent of Islamophobia wi ..read more
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