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Obama vs Balls

23 May 2012

5:36 PM

23 May 2012

5:36 PM

What do Ed Balls and Mitt Romney have in common? They both want you to
think that Barack Obama is spending government money like never before. For Mitt Romney, it’s an attack: he wants to make Obama a Big Government bogeyman who’s failing to tackle
America’s deficit. ‘I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno,’ the Republican nominee promises. For Ed Balls, it’s an example for Britain to follow: ‘I will lead us into this
debt and spending inferno’, the shadow chancellor promises. Well, essentially.

But the Obama camp is pushing back hard against such claims, highlighting a Wall Street Journal article yesterday titled ‘Obama spending binge never happened’. In
fact, based on the latest figures from the Congressional Budget Office, Obama has cut federal spending by 0.9 per cent in real terms from 2010/11
to 2011/12.

Ed Balls argues that George Osborne should look to the US President for inspiration, but it seems he already is. UK government spending has fallen by an almost identical 0.9 per cent in real terms
from 2010/11 to 2011/12. And it’s projected to fall a further 0.5 per cent in 2012/13, compared to Obama’s 2.6 per cent. So if Balls thinks Osborne should be more like Obama, he’s
really advocating faster spending cuts. But I’m sure someone’s been warning against going too far, too fast…


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