Democracy: making monarchs look frugal

Our rulers assure us that the UK is facing serious austerity. It would be nice to know what that means. Apparently it doesn’t mean that the UK is not running a huge budget deficit. Federal spending doesn’t appear to have even gone down from any one year to the next. Can I get some help? Obviously, I agree that the UK is facing crippling austerity (who I am to say otherwise) – I’d just like to know what I mean when I say so.

– The difference between signaling and segregation is that segregation is incredibly valuable, whereas signaling is “conspicuous spending.” Being in the right group gives you access to untold riches.

– Were the founders over-rated?

– Check out those numbers from DC

– Speaking of DC, you might be in DC, if one of these commercials comes on TV

Why we all have to be investors (related)

– Someone should explain how democracy works to Auster.

Heh and heh again

– Don Colacho is back (HT)


8 Responses to Randoms

  1. DC almost made me publish completely wrong numbers. DC made it into all my population figures but the site I got the homicide figures from didn’t feature it. Because of sloppy spreadsheeting, my original numbers treated the DC homicide rate as 0 per million, which dropped the correlation between blacks and murder to under 0.6. That would have made Audacious Epigone pretty skeptical, I’d imagine.

    Fortunately I got DC homicide data elsewhere.

  2. Well, monarchs only have to satisfy the needs and desires of one group of people (the family & friends), whereas democracies have to try and satisfy those who serve as the reason for their continued existence—the large non-productive class). It stands to reason that the former will be frugal in comparison with the latter.

    Note that monarchs do this at the expense of a large group of people, but democracies do this at the expense of a smaller (and shrinking group of people (i.e., productive members of society—taxpayers).

  3. […] least in Europe there’s still some dignity left (H/T foseti). Share this:PrintEmailTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  4. Steve Johnson says:

    “Crippling fiscal austerity” simply means that the word is out to use the phrase “crippling fiscal austerity” or “in these times of budget cuts” as rhetorical elements in speeches.

    Haven’t you ever been to a function at a museum or a school? Has the school or museum ever been described as being adequately funded?

    The left is the perpetual underdog, rhetorically always fighting and losing to the better funded, more popular right. To say otherwise is to be part of the lunatic fringe.

  5. Phlebas says:


    On an internationally comparable measure, the IFS says the U.K.’s public spending will fall by 11.3% over the next five years. […]

    At the moment the U.K. is less than two years into the seven year program and the vast majority of the spending cuts are yet to happen–so far only 12% have been instigated.

    But Mr. Osborne can take heart from one of the IFS’s observations: The austerity measures come after the largest sustained period of spending increases since the Second World War–between April 1999 and March 2006 the previous Labour government oversaw an increase in public spending of 58.6%. This means the cuts will take public spending back to its 2004-2005 level.

    Mr. Osborne’s progress will no doubt be closely watched by his counterparts in the increasing number of countries who are now embarking on their own austerity plans.


    The report claims that the scale of the government’s austerity strategy is “almost without historical or international precedent” but by the end of the current financial year only 6% of the cuts will have been implemented.

    The government is expected to beat its 2011/12 deficit reduction target of £127 billion by £3 billion.

    IFS director Paul Johnson said: “The Chancellor faces his third Budget with the economy and public finances in considerably weaker shape than he had hoped a year ago.

    So the proposed cuts in government spending are genuine if they happen, but most of them have yet to come. Also, if Labour were to get back in power in the next general election (which seems unlikely) then there’d be no chance of the austerity measures continuing.

  6. Matt Weber says:

    I think the UK and all other countries are like the US, where most spending is off-limits and only the small slice of discretionary spending ever faces any cuts. Most of the cuts come from laid off or demoted government workers or retracted public services, closed parks/buildings, and so on. Also, government budgets seem sneakily indexed to inflation, so that government budget growth of 1% against an expected rate of 3% inflation is treated as a cut.

  7. rightsaidfred says:

    I seem to recall big plans by every administration in the last 40 years to inject some kind of austerity into the fed budget: Obama was going to “go through the budget line by line”, Al Gore “re-invented government” during the Clinton years, Carter made a big show of taking on the bureaucracy, etc.

    We just need to try even harder. Bwhahaha.

  8. james wilson says:

    Well, in America at any rate, a crippling austerity would mean cutting the rate of government spending growth from 8% annually to 6, killing women and children.

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