When numbers get big, I have a tendency to overlook their real implications. By equating government debt repayment with the time it would take to repay just some of the interest, it is easier to put our debt position into perspective.
For example, in the news of 23rd July 2011 there is an article describing a saving of about £13m by closing social centres for youngsters in London; closures that will undo accumulated good work over many years that has reduced teen crime, reduced youth pregnancy and reduced STDs
This saving of £13m will buy approximately two and a half hours leeway in the UK debt repayment schedule. Yes two and a half hours in the course of a year that will undo many years of dedicated and committed support that is improving the lot of the youngsters of London
And not just London, these savings of a couple of million here or there are tinkering at the very edges of the issue. Libraries closing, social centres deprived, people who need support the most finding themselves even further distanced from the things that can bring them a bit of hope or restore dignity.
We need to address the hangover from past government profligacy which increased the employment of unproductive labour to keep the numbers looking good; when in reality all that was created was another Ponzi scheme, but because it was by government, they got away with it.
Please click here for one argument that begins to put the real issue into perspective