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Friday, 21st January 2011

Britainís Coalition Government: A Preliminary Verdict

Britain’s Coalition Government: A Preliminary Verdict

Source:  Heritage Foundation

Britain and the United States face similar budgetary problems. Deficits in both countries are unsustainably high. So is public spending. Action is being taken in Britain, but in the U.S., there is continuing pressure either to take no serious action at all or to take the wrong action, most notably by repairing the deficit with tax increases or—to make matters worse—by increasing spending even further.

The U.K. coalition government has proved unexpectedly bold in the decisions taken on the deficit but less bold on spending and, in some respects, bold in the wrong sense on taxes. The U.K. has also faced—and in some respects has yielded to—the temptation to adopt wrong priorities in its departmental budget reductions.

The U.S., when it faces up to financial realities, will confront the same kind of temptation. It can be resisted only if American budget cutters retain a clear conservative sense of what government truly exists to do and what functions are secondary, superfluous, or better performed by private business and individual citizens.

The United States has, of course, a different political system: A U.K.-style coalition government, as opposed to an Administration enjoying cross-party support in Congress, is simply a constitutional impossibility. The U.S. is also at a different stage in the electoral cycle, with different political as well as economic uncertainties ahead. But the initial successes and failures of the Conservative-led U.K. coalition government offer food for thought—and possible indigestion—for American policymakers intent on restoring U.S. finances, creating a virtuous circle of economic growth, and maintaining America’s status as the world’s number one power.


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