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Americans Are Laughing at Us and Using UK as a Case Study on Why Not to Do Austerity

21/03/2013 15:39 GMT | Updated 21/05/2013 10:12 BST

The George Osborne budget was tepid and utterly uninspiring. To paraphrase Fraser Nelson of the Spectator, the budget was devoid of substance and replete with gestures.

Making things worse is the raft of very unfortunate realities: UK growth forecast for 2013 has been downgraded to 0.6%; national debt is going up not down; the deficit reduction has stalled; UK unemployment rate sits 7.8% and rising.

And I could go on. As for the IMF and rating agencies, I'm not even going to go there.

However, the utter economic shambles in Britain stands in sharp contrast to the United States where the economic mood music is positive.

US joblessness figures have been positive and whilst our growth rate has been revised downwards their's has been revised upwards to 3% for 2013.

In light of this, commentators in the UK are starting to chatter. And as David Wighton in the Times has said (£), perhaps we in the UK need to look across the Atlantic to pick up some lessons on how to manage a national balance book.

More interesting than this is the fact that Americans are saying that it is they who need to look across the Atlantic: not to draw any positive lessons but to get a clear warning on why a modern economy shouldn't pursue a do or die austerity route.

And they're doing more than just taking notes - they're laughing at us! The Americans are laying the boot in and shouting about how Obama's "kicking David Cameron's butt" when it comes to reducing the deficit. The initial laughter came courtesy of the prolific finance blogger Joseph Weisenthal.

And it pretty much went viral. Here's one:

Here's another:

And another:

You get the idea.

And not only is the US outperforming Britain better on deficit and growth terms, but the world's largest economy is also managing a better job on the debt too.

So yes, maybe David Wighton is right. Maybe we've got to suck it up and look to the cousins in America.

The US Federal Reserve has been behind some creative and imaginative measures: and surely the incoming chief of the Bank of England, Mark Carney has taken note. We also need more sweeping banking reform like in the US: Banks need to lend more, especially to small businesses and big corporates themselves need to stop sitting on cash.

As David Wighton also suggested we need to open up the balance sheet and borrow more to finance public spending projects which would stimulate the economy. Certainly while Osborne needs to stay the austerity path in broad terms, he should loosen the schedule and take a long brew, long view approach.

All in all its about sentiment and how consumers are feeling and George Osborne didn't do a great deal to help the man or woman on the street or the small business.