It’s possible to make he Lake Wobegon point here, that we can’t all be at or above the average. Rather more seriously, perhaps this is just the choice that we want to make?
The NIESR’s analysis published on Wednesday suggests the UK has usually opted to spend less on public services and bring in less from taxation as a proportion of GDP compared to other major advanced economies.
It does depend upon which major economies we compare ourselves to. We process very much more of everything through government than the United States does, less than say Sweden - although insisting that, with their populations of the order of the size of London, the Nordics are major economies is a bit rich.
To which the correct response is so what? We are indeed n a democracy, we the people get to choose how we;d like things to be run. And our choice seems to be that we run less of everything through government than some other places.
Quite why, well, one place to go look would be the quality of those who claim to run government for us but that would just be rude, wouldn’t it? Perhaps instead we’ve some cultural attachment to the idea that we should run more of our own lives, they less of our lives. But whatever the reason, the observation is indeed true.
The British have never supported nor been happy with the sort of tax rates, percentages of government in GDP, that applies in some other places. Well, this is simply a fact about the British, isn’t it. A constraint to be worked within rather than something to be overcome perhaps.