Whitehall Watch has the details of how the £6bn cut breaks down - fascinatingly, the cut actually falls almost entirely on local authorities, quangos, universities, in general what might be described as the decentralised element of the public sector. Big Society Tories and Lib-Dem decentralisers, meet the Treasury Devil. Stable, but hardly principled.
Chris Dillow points out that the promise of cutting the money out of “Whitehall waste” was a classic example of the delusions of centralised, top-down management. It’s also well worth pointing out that, in fact, Whitehall succeeded very well in protecting its budgets by channelling the cuts elsewhere - with the result that, far from being confined to “efficiency savings”, they hit actual policy deliverables.
Also, Chris doesn’t agree with Nick on using the eurozone debt panic as an argument for cuts.
Here’s an example - the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, which funds insulation and heat pumps, some of the very fastest and highest return-on-investment ways of saving Co2 and energy, gets the chop, saving a massive £34m. What fraction of the standard error in the DECC budget is that?
UK public finances since the war, at the Guardian data blog; the TUC blog points out that the government ran a deficit 5 times from 1946 to 1979 (mostly immediately after the 1973 oil crisis), but the Thatcherist era has seen near-continuous heavy borrowing.
The San Francisco Fed publishes a study showing that recessions since the 1980s tend to be harder to get out of (a result backed up by the fact that the worst ones tend to be the ones that begin with a financial crisis, and most of the ones since the 80s are like that).
Barack Obama’s national security strategy, as Spencer Ackerman points out, has a lot to say about restoring the US’s industrial base, infrastructure, and science. Yes, well, think on. Some Coalition briefers are still suggesting that the Mandelson investments in the automotive, nuclear, and green sectors might be radically cut back, although BIS Secretary Vince Cable is sounding notably more interventionist than he used to.