If you want an indication of how quickly things can change, Jonah, just look across the pond. There’s been a major new “deliberative” survey on British attitudes to government spending that shows quite clearly that the Brits have suddenly and dramatically reversed their thinking on the issue. As recently as 2005, almost 60% of Britons wanted the same or increased public spending. Now 72% want spending cuts. As the ever-excellent Fraser Nelson says,
An old orthodoxy still reigns in SW1*: that it is cruel and heartless to want cuts, and that higher state spending is the non-negotiable priority of modern, compassionate Britain. Yet outside the Westminster village, the public is growing increasingly incensed about the way ministers are spending as if the party will never end — from the expenses claimed by Jacqui Smith to cover her husband’s cinematic tastes** to the NHS supercomputer.
* The zip code for Parliament and Westminster.
** The husband of the Home Secretary (Attorney General equivalent) ordered two porn movies on pay-per-view and charged them as public expenses. No, this was not an April Fool’s joke.