It's embarrassing the read the comments from the Treasury seeking to suggest that the IMF's downgrade of UK growth prospects and its suggestion that Osborne's austerity plans are too severe don't amount to a condemnation of the whole of the government's austerity plans because very obviously that is exactly what they are.
It has always been the case in the modern era of active government participation in economies (which has resulted not just in massive economic growth but in increased wellbeing too) that there is only one way out of a depression, and that is for the government to spend.
As Duncan Weldon notes this morning, UK householders are not spending, and he provides this graph to prove it:
At the same time as this is happening business is not investing. It's sitting on a cash pile of more than £700 billion instead. And export markets are pretty much frozen. Put these three facts together and the only way out of recession is then for the government to spend.
And that is what it must do. Of course it must do so wisely. I'd suggest a Green New Deal, as I and colleagues have been since 2008 (before the crash happened, but when we clearly foresaw this crisis). But there is no other way to get the economy going again now.
What is more, such a policy pays. As I showed in 2009, and which remains almost unchanged now, when tax paid and benefits saved are taken into account it is entirely plausible that in many cases providing a person with a new job using government funding in a period when there is mass unemployment is a cost neutral (at worst) exercise but with enormous social and economic benefits, In other words, austerity is entirely counter-productive.
Sometime soon this is going to be appreciated. As Oliver James argues in the Guardian this morning, people are going to stop blaming themselves for the mess we're in, will cease to feel helpless about it and will demand action. If politicians don't then step up to deliver they'll set out to get it anyway because there is only so long that people will suffer imposed oppression before declaring they've had enough.
We are suffering imposed oppression in the UK. The period of tolerance is coming to an end. The only question is when it will end, not if.