Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
on 3 March 2013
Mike Denham is a highly experienced economist, having worked in both the public (the Treasury) and private sectors. For many years he had the leading economic blog in the UK, also entitled "Burning our Money". He has been 'on leave' from the blog to write this similarly entitled book. The gestation period has been long, but it's been worth the wait. Let's face it, to the uninitiated, economics is an impenetrable, often dull, discipline, practiced by people who were either born impenetrable and dull, or rapidly became so as they submerged themselves in Laffer curves and fiscal drag. Whatever that jargon may mean. Mike Denham achieves the near impossible of making the subject both understandable and even, at times, funny. This book is an easy read, but do not be deceived by the Denham light-touch. The underlying message is horrifying. We delegate control of the nation's income and expenditure to a group of politicians who, between elections, are answerable to no one. If expenditure rises - and it always does - then either taxes must rise or borrowing (aka taxing your children and their children) must rise. Usually both rise. As we are spending all this money, we have the right to ask some questions of those who are spending it on our behalf. Why is our beloved NHS failing? Why can the French and Germans treat cancer better than we do? GCSE and A level results seem to go from strength to strength so why are our children not as well educated as Chinese children? Why are the governments of the US, Japan, Australia and Switzerland twenty-percent more efficient than ours? Do we care? Most of us do not understand the significance of these figures. Throughout Burning our Money, Mike Denham translates these arcane economic facts into everyday language that we can all understand. What does a loss of twenty percent government efficiency mean? It means £140 billion a year down the plughole. That's £5000 for every family in the UK. If we could match the efficiency of those four countries, we could abolish - yes, abolish - income tax for anyone earning less than £50,000. Even I can understand the idea of not paying income tax.
Despite all their promises the current government has increased borrowing, and the Labour Party shadow chancellor has recently committed his party to even further increases. Burning our Money will open your eyes to what is going on and what is going to happen if we don't take control of the runaway expenditure train. Look at Greece. Look at Italy. Do you want Eddie Izzard as our next chancellor of the exchequer?
Burning our Money is essential reading for anyone who pays tax.