Owen Jones manages to get two things right in his latest offering. Portugal's economy did not do well and now is doing better. Sadly, he manages to get the why wrong:
But now, thanks to Portugal, we know how flawed the austerity experiment enforced across Europe was. Portugal was one of the European nations hardest hit by the economic crisis.
At the end of 2015, this experiment came to an end. A new socialist government – with the support of more radical leftwing parties – assumed office.
Presumably all was sweetness and light as a result?
The economic rationale of the new Portuguese government was clear. Cuts suppressed demand: for a genuine recovery, demand had to be boosted. The government pledged to increase the minimum wage, reverse regressive tax increases, return public sector wages and pensions to their pre-crisis levels – the salaries of many had plummeted by 30% – and reintroduce four cancelled public holidays. Social security for poorer families was increased, while a luxury chargewas imposed on homes worth over €600,000 (£550,000).
The promised disaster did not materialise. By the autumn of 2016 – a year after taking power – the government could boast of sustained economic growth, and a 13% jump in corporate investment. And this year, figures showed the deficit had more than halved, to 2.1% – lower than at any time since the return of democracy four decades ago. Indeed, this is the first time Portugal has ever met eurozone fiscal rules.
Well, yes, that is the claim, isn't it? The problem with the claim being that economic growth returned in 2013. Something which happened two years before the socialists took power is unlikely to be connected with the socialists taking power really.
We're really quite sure about that.