Thursday, January 08, 2009

Set For A Barrow Full Of Banknotes

With the Bank of England slashing interest rates to an historic low, speculation is rife the government will print money to get it off the hook. Brown and his hapless chancellor are losing control of the country's finances and their senses. 

Floundering in economic cloud cuckoo land, their only way out is a barrow full of banknotes. 

The Bank of England's cut to 1.5% is a welcome last-ditch bid to kick start the economy. The Orange Party has predicted before it may well have to come down to zero percent. But with that cut comes the fear of deflation. Printing wads of bank notes is a short-sighted and short-term way to reflate but will help get the government off the hook until after the general election. 

Where the US leads, sadly the UK follows and printing money is exactly the option now being considered by Obama's incoming administration, as faced with a trillion dollar debt, attempts are being made to fool some of the people some of the time. 

It's clear the government hasn't a cat in hell's chance of funding its ridiculous borrowing binge but printing money is fraught with long-term dangers.

Anyone who takes a scant look at economic history can see that. Japan tried and failed. Mugabe prints worthless banknotes. Debt ridden Latin-American countries have become a laughing stock, as they tried the same trick. Germany tried it in the Twenties, leading to rampant inflation, the Nazi Party and people needing wheelbarrows to carry the cash to buy a loaf of bread. 

Brown and Darling have steadfastly buried their heads in the sand, refusing to shoulder any blame for the current economic disaster. The Orange Party has warned time and again the government is in denial about the scale of the economic crisis as it colludes with the BBC to label the recession a 'downturn', in the vain hope one day it will all go away. It won't and the government is fast running out of options.

Bailing out the banks with £37 billion of taxpayers' cash has failed. Now the banks want more money pumped in. Unemployment looks set to rise well beyond three million. Even using the government's smoke and mirrors way of fiddling with off balance sheet accounting, national debt has risen far more than the 44% of GDP, as Brown was forced to rip up his fiscal rules.

For Brown and the government, the solution is even more reckless, short-term fixes. But the political prognosis doesn't look good. 

The Tories are having a hard time getting clear and simple economic messages of thrift and good housekeeping across, as Brown spin goes into overdrive. For the LibDems, Vince Cable, seems to be getting perilously close to a deal with the government, which the Orange Party has previously predicted could happen. 

Slashing interest rates and printing more money is a quick fix which would release a flood of extra cash but there's no guarantee that would find its way through to businesses and families as people tighten their belts and hang on to any cash to pay off debts and hold off for better High Street deals.

There are realistic ways out of the recession, apart from massive government borrowing and reckless spending, if only the government and the BBC would have the guts to admit we are in one. 

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