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At least we’re getting an accurate definition of austerity

Summary:
How long has this taken to arrive? “Restrictions on the growth in health and social care expenditure during ‘austerity’ have been associated with tens of thousands more deaths than would have been observed had pre-austerity expenditure growth been sustained,” said Prof Karl Claxton of the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York.“Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the slowdown in the rate of improvement in life expectancy in England and Wales since 2010 is attributable to spending constraints in the healthcare and social care sectors.”This past decade people have been screaming about the cuts. And there it is, the actual definition - a slow down in the rise of such social spending. It should be obvious that such social spending cannot continue, forever, to

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How long has this taken to arrive?

“Restrictions on the growth in health and social care expenditure during ‘austerity’ have been associated with tens of thousands more deaths than would have been observed had pre-austerity expenditure growth been sustained,” said Prof Karl Claxton of the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York.

“Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the slowdown in the rate of improvement in life expectancy in England and Wales since 2010 is attributable to spending constraints in the healthcare and social care sectors.”

This past decade people have been screaming about the cuts. And there it is, the actual definition - a slow down in the rise of such social spending. It should be obvious that such social spending cannot continue, forever, to grow faster than the economy as a whole. For the, well, obvious reason that if it did then soon enough we’d have nothing but social spending and nothing financing it.

Some haven’t quite got the message yet. Polly Toynbee, obviously, among them:

I once chronicled Labour’s social programmes and their effects from 1997 to 2010. Spending on the NHS rose by an average of 7% a year, more than since it was founded in 1948.

Well, yes, but it can’t do that forever, can it?

Perhaps now that it’s in a scientific journal we can all agree that there were no cuts? That it was the rate of growth which was shaved, nothing else? That what actually happened was that after an election the new government declined to follow the spendthrift ways of the people who had just lost the election? That being, we’re really pretty certain, the purpose of having elections, that we folks out here get to decide whether the current plans should be followed or that the nation tries some other ones?

Democracy?

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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