If you wanted a perfect indictment of the Age of Austerity, you simply have to look at the economic statistics for Britain.

Britain’s finance ministry said on Wednesday that its spending plans this year remained on track after official data showed government borrowing rose to a record high in August.

The Office for National Statistics said public sector net borrowing excluding financial interventions rose to 15.934 billion pounds in August from 14.003 billion pounds a year ago, above analysts’ forecasts for a reading of 13.2 billion pounds.

So to recap: Britain put in a crippling austerity program, which the Conservatives claimed was necessary because of a runaway budget deficit (the threat of a credit downgrade from Standard and Poor’s played a role here). This ended up tipping the country back into recession and increasing unemployment. And now we learn that it didn’t even solve the main problem it was attempting to fix. Government borrowing INCREASED in the last month.

And the worst part of this is that, despite the clear disadvantages of the austerity agenda, despite the International Monetary Fund downgrading the prospect for growth in the UK, the Conservative government is pressing forward with the plan, wasting all kinds of human potential in the process. There is some wobbling from cabinet ministers, who say there is “flexibility” in the austerity program for economic stimulus, but that has largely been quashed. The Brits are going for it. And as a result, the British people suffer.

David Dayen

David Dayen