Boris Johnson’s Prescription for Coronavirus Britain: An End to ‘Austerity’

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a daily news conference at 10 Downing Street in London, England, to update on the coronavirus outbreak. (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Handout via Reuters)
American conservatives could also learn to tolerate deficit spending to achieve policy goals that can restore the health of the republic.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he Conservatives were elected to office in the United Kingdom ten years ago on the promise to eliminate the deficit through an “austerity” program of spending cuts and tax rises. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are now running their own deficit in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Long before the 2008 financial crisis, public spending had been ramping up under the previous Labour government, increasing the deficit to a staggering 10 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in fiscal year 2009–10. While falling short of eliminating the deficit entirely, the Conservatives managed to get borrowing back under control,

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