Krugman on Brown
Very fair and covers both the good and the bad.
The Brown government has moved aggressively to shore up troubled banks. This has potentially put taxpayers on the hook for large future bills, but the financial situation has stabilized. Mr. Brown has backed the Bank of England, which, like the Federal Reserve, has engaged in unconventional moves to free up credit. And he has shown himself willing to run large budget deficits now, even while scheduling substantial tax increases for the future.
All of this seems to be working. Leading indicators have turned (slightly) positive, suggesting that Britain, whose competitiveness has benefited from the devaluation of the pound, will begin an economic recovery well before the rest of Europe.
Meanwhile, David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has had little to offer other than to raise the red flag of fiscal panic and demand that the British government tighten its belt immediately.
Now, many commentators have raised the alarm about Britain’s fiscal outlook, and one rating agency has warned that the country may lose its AAA status (although the others disagree). But markets don’t seem unduly worried: the interest rate on long-term British debt is only slightly higher than that on German debt, not what you’d expect from a country doomed to bankruptcy.
Still, if an election were held today, Mr. Brown and his party would lose badly. They were in power when the bad stuff happened, and the buck — or in this case, I guess, the quid — stops at No. 10 Downing Street.