“In Britain, government spending is now so high, accounting for more than half of the economy, that it is increasingly difficult to distinguish the private sector from the public. Many supposedly private companies are as dependent on government largesse as welfare recipients are, and much of the money with which the government pays them is borrowed. The nation’s budget deficit in 2010, in the wake of the financial crisis, was 10.4 percent of GDP, after being 12.5 percent in 2009; even before the crisis, the country had managed to balance its budget for only three years out of the previous 30.
Deficits are like smoking: difficult to give up. They can be cut only at the cost of genuine hardship, for many people will have become dependent upon them for their livelihood. Hence withdrawal symptoms are likely to be severe; and hardship is always politically hazardous to inflict, even when it is a necessary corrective to previous excess. This is what Britain faces.”