American gives us home truths

During the Second World War, Americans were described as “overpaid, over-sexed and over here”.

But sometimes it takes a Yank to deliver a devastating analysis of our coalition government’s austerity agenda, which gives tax breaks for the rich, paid for by the poor and disadvantaged.

One such is Robert Reich, the political economist who served in three US administrations, most recently as labour secretary under former president Bill Clinton.

His verdict on the austerity package embraced by the Tories and heir Lib Dem lapdogs was “you’re saving the economy by killing it”.

He warned that the strategy, which applies both sides of the Atlantic, has fostered soaring levels of inequality and entrenched poverty, and he dismissed as “nonsense” the idea that if the rich get richer wealth will “trickle down” to the wider population.

Referring to savage coalition cuts in welfare, he said: “With austerity you have only to think for half a moment about the economic reality. If you embrace austerity and thereby reduce economic growth you actually end up potentially in a worse place than you started, with a higher ratio of public debt to GDP. At the same time you are generating huge amounts of human suffering unnecessarily. It takes a huge toll on individuals, on families and on communities.”

He added: “In the short term I think the austerity agenda will crumble beneath its own weight It will lead to a stagnation of a sort that will reveal itself to be a terrible mistake.”

The Oxbridge educated cabinet are fully aware of that – David Cameron, chancellor George Osborne and Nick Clegg are not idiots.

Which means that they have embarked on a deliberate strategy to make the rich richer and terrify the poor, the old, the hard-pressed, hard-working families, into submission.