Downtime

May 17 2010   1:26PM GMT

Gambling with the house’s money

ComputerWeeklyStaff Profile: ComputerWeeklyStaff

Well, it was a nice party while it lasted, but the hangover is about to begin. Bewildered as ever about government finance, Downtime decided to do something about it. He now understands why ignorance is bliss.
Thanks to good people at HM Treasury and the Institute of Fiscal Studies he has discovered the true size of the elephant that is hunting George Osborne. It is £1,847bn.
(Add together the current overdraft of £890bn, plus£770bn in unfunded public sector pension liabilities, plus £57bn for PFI capital expenditure plus £137bn for maintaining PFI projects.)
Put another way, that is £30,783 per person for the 60 million people who live in the UK officially. Or about £64,000 a head for those of us with jobs.
Of course, we don’t have to pay it all back at once. As the nice man at IFS said, “It’s like having an interest-only mortgage.” Which to Downtime’s mind is like renting in the hope of getting a risk-free capital gain when you move.
Put another way, it’s like gambling with the house’s money. Only the goverment is the house. Since the odds in Las Vegas always favour the house, Downtime can’t see why the markets  or Mr Osborne should be sweating.

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