Brendan O'Connor: Left must learn 'growth' is not just a buzz word
Growth is the new austerity, but do politicians have the stomach for policies like personal debt forgiveness, asks Brendan O'Connor
SO now, hilariously, our politicians have started lecturing us on growth and the need for it.
They have finally decided to row in with the lessons from history and the consensus of international economists from right across the political spectrum, that economic growth is the key to getting economies out of recession. They haven't quite got the other no-brainer that sucking billions out of the economy every year pushes economies deeper into recession, but they will get there soon too. What we're dealing with here is economics for very slow learners.
So now they are telling us, 'well of course there will be a stimulus package, we just need to vote for austerity first'. But from the bits and pieces you hear about the stimulus package, you would have to worry. You see, when most of us think about growing the economy we think about growing the productive parts of the economy -- the bits that actually make money. So when most of us think about a stimulus to the economy, we think of something like cutting taxes or putting more money in people's pockets in some way, so that they will spend more. Or we might think about liberalising the business environment to make it easier for business people to create employment. But you suspect that when governments and public sector unions think about a stimulus package they think about more money being spent by the Government, so basically they think about expanding our already extensive state sector.