"At a time of general austerity and cost cutting"
"Ah, yes. Let the peons think this is so. Then we can bake in glory in peace." (Exit a mysterious robed figure heading for the NYT economic opinions column)
Krugman and British Austerity
[Although Krugman] asserts that British policies have simply been to "slash spending," he neglects that Britain ignored the advice of free-market supporters by increasing tax rates significantly, such as raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 50 percent, the capital-gains-tax rate to 28 percent, and the value-added-tax rate to 20 percent. More damaging to his view, as can be seen on tables 25 and 27 of this Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) document, British spending has experienced no significant cuts and still represents a sharp increase compared to prerecession levels.
Although British spending as a percent of GDP fell mildly from 51.1 percent in 2009 to 49.8 percent in 2011, this level still signifies a massive increase in spending from 2007 levels of 43.9 percent of GDP. Similarly, although the British deficit as a percent of GDP fell from 11 percent in 2009 to 9.4 percent in 2011, this deficit still amounts to a huge surge compared to the 2007 level of only 2.8 percent and, with the exception of this recession, exceeds all other deficits in Britain since World War II.