This is taking place in an environment in which the private sector is still deleveraging ferociously from the debt binge of the previous decade; so we’re creating a situation in which both the private sector and the public sector are trying to slash spending relative to income. And whaddya know, the world economy is sputtering.
The truly amazing thing is that this calamitous error is not, for the most part, the result of special interests, or an unwillingness to make hard choices. On the contrary, it’s being driven by Very Serious People who pride themselves on their willingness to make hard choices (which, naturally, involve inflicting pain on other people). In fact, I’d argue that the desire to make hard choices, or at least to be seen as doing so, is the reason the VSPs chose to ignore the extensive and, we now know, completely accurate warnings from some economists of what would happen if they gave in to their austerity obsession.
FT Alphaville says that I’m feeling a bit “smuggish” about all this; well, I’m only human. But truly, this is a terrible thing to behold.