Paul Krugman writes:
I’ve been playing around with the IMF’s historical public debt database, which has long-term information on ratios of debt to GDP. And you really have to marvel, given that historical record, at the deficit panic now so widespread. Here’s debt as a percentage of GDP in Britain, back to 1830:
That uptick at the end — you’ll see it if you squint — is what’s driving the Cameron government’s insistence on slashing spending in a liquidity trap.
It’s also interesting to note — contrary to what you often hear — that at the time Keynes was writing, and calling for fiscal stimulus, Britain was substantially deeper in debt than Britain or the United States are now.