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Hullabaloo


Monday, December 10, 2012

 
Whatever you do, don't think of England

by digby

Well hell, this news out of the UK doesn't sound very good at all:

Vince Cable, business secretary, has admitted there is “clearly a risk” of the UK entering a triple-dip recession and facing a Japanese-style lost decade of stagnant economic growth.

In an interview with the Observer newspaper, Mr Cable – who is one of the most senior Liberal Democrats in government – was asked whether a triple-dip in the economy was possible. “I always try not to get drawn into forecasting arguments but there clearly is a risk,” he said. “The most likely outcome is that we continue bumping along the bottom”, reflecting the Office of Budget Responsibility’s forecasts.

These comments come after chancellor George Osborne downgraded UK growth prospects in his Autumn Statement, and grim manufacturing figures released at the end of the week stoked fears of further economic contraction.
[...]
Michael Saunders, UK economist at Citibank, said : "Early data suggest the UK is heading for a 'treble dip', with GDP shrinking again in the fourth quarter of 2012. We expect the economy will continue to underperform the OBR's forecasts in 2013-14, leading to further sizeable revenue shortfalls and deficit overshoots."

Saunders said government debt as a share of national output was likely to hit 100% over the coming years as budget deficits piled up in response to weak growth. "We have argued for a while that the UK will lose its AAA rating in the next two to three years and it now seems likely that this will happen in the next 12-18 months, reflecting the higher path for the debt/GDP ratio plus rising uncertainty over how and whether the government will achieve the savings needed to stabilise and reverse the debt trajectory."

A leading thinktank, the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, said growth had slowed sharply since the 1% growth in the third quarter of 2012 that marked the end of the nine-month double dip recession. It estimated growth of 0.1% in the three months to November and said the economy would not be strong enough in 2013 to reduce unemployment.

Why you'd almost think that their vaunted austerity plan wasn't a very good idea.

Meanwhile, back in the states:

The prospect of cutting Medicare benefits in a “fiscal cliff” deal has prompted an outcry from concerned liberals. But whether or not legislators actually end up raising the Medicare age or paring back Social Security payments, domestic benefits and services—ranging from veterans’ health care and low-income housing to Head Start programs—are going to get squeezed over the next 10 years.

Last year’s debt-ceiling agreement included $1.5 trillion in cuts to discretionary programs through 10-year spending caps that are already in effect. According to a new analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the domestic programs subject to the spending caps will face a $615 billion shortfall if they keep their benefits and services at 2012 levels. If such, they’ll be forced to scale back unless Congress decides otherwise—and right now, the Republicans want even less money spent on these domestic programs, not more.

So, you know, it's just a terrific idea to be talking about even more spending cuts. Because, what could go wrong?


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