Charles Moore Charles Moore

The Spectator’s Notes | 22 November 2008

‘A money-financed tax cut is essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman’s famous “helicopter drop” of money.’ So said Ben Bernanke, now the chairman of the Fed, in a speech about how to ward off the ‘extremely small’ chance of deflation, which he delivered in 2002.

‘A money-financed tax cut is essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman’s famous “helicopter drop” of money.’ So said Ben Bernanke, now the chairman of the Fed, in a speech about how to ward off the ‘extremely small’ chance of deflation, which he delivered in 2002.

‘A money-financed tax cut is essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman’s famous “helicopter drop” of money.’ So said Ben Bernanke, now the chairman of the Fed, in a speech about how to ward off the ‘extremely small’ chance of deflation, which he delivered in 2002. Today, deflation looms, and Gordon Brown seems to want ‘money-financed’ (i.e. paid for by printing money) tax cuts. The Conservatives have responded by promising to cut loose, from 2010, from their adherence to Gordon Brown’s huge spending plans. They will be the responsible party. In terms of exposing Mr Brown on the prudence which was once his strongest point, the Tories are putting themselves in the right place for an election campaign. But their greatest problem is simple: suppose that Mr Brown is right, and is in league with Mr Bernanke. Suppose that the world does act in concert to despatch the necessary metaphorical helicopters to avoid a slump. Then the Tories look like dreary arithmeticians who want to condemn voters to self-reinforcing hardship. They now have a huge interest in British economic failure in order to be proved right. Mr Brown, much assisted by Lord Mandelson of Hartlepool and Foy, will point this out, again and again.

When told that stars such as Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand should not ring up private citizens to boast, on air, that they have slept with their grand-daughters, some BBC ‘entertainers’ and their supporters protest at what they call ‘censorship’. But censorship, surely, is an external force.

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