Bill English is always busy trying to put lipstick on the pig of our moribund economy. We’ve told him off before for fiddling his figures. But now he’s transcended mere lying with numbers. Now he’s invented a whole new economic theory:
English: Savings-Based Recovery Set To Pick Up In 2011
A sustainable economic recovery is underway and will pick up momentum next year as the Government continues to roll out its economic plan, Finance Minister Bill English says. … “This trend towards increased household saving creates a strong platform for faster economic growth in the medium and longer term. That is the only way we can create the jobs, higher incomes and the better living standards Kiwis deserve.
Savings based recovery? Savings based recovery? I’ve never heard of a savings based recovery — have you? I ran it through Google first thing this morning and the phrase generated exactly 5 hits. It’s generating more now (15) as coverage of English’s announcement spreads. In short, it looks like the double dipper has invented the whole notion of a “savings based recovery” all by himself.
I wondered if Google was being unfair to Bill, so I wandered off the check the academic literature with Google Scholar. A bit of messing round showed that phrases relating to X based or led growth or recovery were most productive, where X was replaced by various words of interest. (The exact queries entered, including quotes, were for example “export (based OR led) (growth OR recovery)”, “investment (based OR led) (growth OR recovery)”, and so on.) Here are the results:
So – export based or led growth or recovery the clear winner. Private sector, investment, demand, knowledge, also seen as very important factors in the academic literature. Savings? Bill English’s new theory? Not so much. 8 hits. And most of those are reference to foreign savings. In other words, in terms of economic theory, English’s idea of a “savings based recovery” has a fan club of one.
What’s really going on here is another coat of lipstick. English is trying to make excuses for the fact that due to his brilliant handling of the economy, no one has any money to spend. Those that do have a bit of excess are desperately trying to pay down debt in these uncertain times. He’s tried such tactics before, arguing that anaemic growth and falling household spending on big ticket items are actually good things.
Enough with the lipstick. English needs to face up to his miserable economic record. And stop making empty promises. From the first quote:
A sustainable economic recovery is underway and will pick up momentum next year as the Government continues to roll out its economic plan…
What economic plan? What momentum? English has been promising “jam tomorrow” since before the election. He is never going to deliver.