Believe it or not, the U.K. Treasury is a bit more accountable than its counterpart in the United States. Insane spending programs may finally get the likes of Daniel Hannan, MEP to rise and deliver a stinging rebuke to Gordon "The Devalued Prime Minister of a Devalued Government" Brown, but it does even more damage to the Treasury, which currently suffers such a credibility gap than the Pound is in real danger:
So severe is the deterioration in the U.K. public finances that when Chancellor Alistair Darling delivers his budget on April 22, he will have to make some very hard choices indeed.
Only last November, Mr. Darling was forecasting the U.K. recession would end in the second half of this year and that the budget would be balanced by 2015/16. That looked wildly optimistic at the time, and looks even more so now.
Public borrowing is likely to overshoot Mr. Darling's forecast by £17 billion ($25.24 billion) this year alone, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies. By 2015/16, it reckons, public-sector net debt will have risen to 81.4% if one includes the International Monetary Fund's estimate of £130 billion of U.K. losses from financial-sector bailouts. To balance the budget by then, Mr. Darling must find an extra £39 billion per year, equivalent to 2.7% of gross domestic product.
Somewhere, somehow, the West is going to have to lose the drunken sailor costume and get out of the Casino. Here's to hoping Britain doesn't beat us to it.
U.K. Treasury Faces Hard Choices [The Wall Street Journal]