Boris, Biden and the era of big government

Bill Clinton’s declaration that ‘the era of big government is over’ summed up the late 1990s political zeitgeist. Centre-left political parties could win if they accepted the small state model bequeathed by the Thatcher-Reagan consensus. Now things feel very different, as I say in the Times today. The stimulus Joe Biden signed into law is huge, $1.9 trillion (£1.4 trillion): three times larger than the financial hole created by Covid. Here there has been nothing as dramatic. But it is still telling that Boris Johnson is insistent that the public finances won’t be brought back into order by ‘austerity cuts’. Big government appears to be back. Politics is going to become