"The deficit is the growth in the national debt. The best way to pay off the national debt (and which the good Keynesian economists out there would recognise) is to do so when your economy is growing and there are more taxes coming in from workers and less benefits paid out to the unemployed."
Would that be real economic growth, or the sort of pretend growth where governments borrow more than the increase in GDP, and call that "growth"? I don't think the UK economy has seen any real growth (net of debt) since about 2000.
Given the spending promises made by the economic illiterates of all the major parties, there's no prospect of any of them turning the deficit to a surplus and paying down the debt. The Labour party (as unfit to run a whelk stall as they've always been) might at least try a taxation squeeze, but that would simply result in a 1970's style brain drain, and large numbers of UK domiciled companies going overseas (as HSBC are currently considering, in response to the bank levy). Add in their ambitions on a living wage or a higher minimum wage and the outlook is bleak. With all the talent, corporations, and high earners gone, tax revenues would fall, and we end up like France. A stagnant, statist economy, with higher and more persistent youth unemployment.
The Tories are now so close to the Labour position it makes no odds. Ring fenced spending on pensions, health (and obsessive about spending one pound in fifty of government spending as foreign aid), and they're in a position where they can't even afford the sorry state of our armed forces after their laughable 2010 strategic defence review (for which Cameron should be handed over to IS for some rest and rehabilitation). They're obsessed by big state shite like HS2. They stand no chance of balancing the books either.
Even on health where they've promised shedloads of money, Sir David Nicholson recently pointed out that they're all lying, that their plans make no sense and don't add up.
Unfortunately, painful though it will be, the only way out of this mess will be to unwind Gordon Brown's profligacy, step by bloody step. All those unemployed encouraged onto disability benefits need to be taken off. All the increases in public sector pay relative to private need to be reversed. The expansion in public sector workers fully reversed. The cancerous GP contract that the last government signed needs to be torn up in full. Energy policy (and all the green levies and related costs) needs to be undone.
I can't see that happening, so it seems likely that we will continue with the past fifteen or so years policy of "pretend and extend" as Dr Tim Morgan put it. Little has changed since this report was written: