Posts Tagged ‘inflation target’

Cameron and Osborne are not for learning. King should know better.

24/02/2011, 11:30:48 AM

by Jonathan Todd

“Is not the lesson from the noble Baroness Thatcher that, when you have set an economic course, you should stick to it – ‘there is no alternative'”?

So asked Jacob Rees-Mogg at PMQs recently. The IFS cautions “a Plan B might be needed, potentially involving some reduction in the size and pace of cuts in the structural deficit”. But David Cameron knows best. He did not demur from the insufferable Rees-Mogg.

But for what did Thatcher think the grinding unemployment and dislocation of the 1980s was a price worth paying? Low and stable inflation. The NUM was, she thought, the enemy within and the wage/price spirals of the 1970s were part of the damage they wrought. She was right that high inflation is no basis for a dynamic economy. But her policies didn’t deliver this. In his memoirs, Nigel Lawson concedes that he should have raised interest rates in 1986. Instead, with a general election looming, he offered tax sweeteners. Inflation topped 8 per cent by 1988.

It wasn’t until Labour took politics out of monetary policy by making the Bank of England independent that the inflation dragon was slain. Now politics is back at the Bank and so is inflation. Not that Mervyn King’s grovelling praise for George Osborne’s ideologically-driven deficit reduction strategy has caused inflation to be persistently above target. But that that is not his job. The governor’s remit is to run monetary policy to defend this target. It isn’t to provide cover for Osborne’s politics. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon