Irrational policy design

David “I was right” Blanchflower’s Right Blog is right. On this occasion he’s right about polling results. The public apparently thinks that Osborne’s fiscal policy is bad for the economy, unfair, too fast, excessive, and is affecting their lives directly. They’re also worried about unemployment and public service cuts. Which they also think are “necessary” by a surprisingly strong majority (57-33) although they disapprove of them by almost as strong a majority(55-30, the don’t knows making up the difference).

Well, funny old public. Consistent much? Obviously part of this is Waring’s pony. The public would quite like deficit reduction as long as they didn’t have to have any of the consequences. Similarly, a majority would quite like a pony. Also, hardly anyone would argue for keeping the public sector net cash requirement at recession levels forever so the question is not entirely logical.

But I think this does have some interesting political consequences. If you want a policy to get implemented, I think you need some element that opinion will stick to even if all the other indicators are flashing red. It may, actually, be the irrational element. In this case it’s “necessity” and it draws on the complex of ideas around economics-as-morality. You might even come over romantic and say it would be the poetic element of policy.




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