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Gordon Brown's "double/treble Counting"

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Gordon Brown was often accused of double, treble, quadruple etc. counting of spending increases (separately to another trick of reannoucning the same money several times)

I'm ashamed to admit that I was never sure I understood what it meant

Is it as simple as the following example?

Say the health budget in Year 0 was £100 billion ("billions" in Gordo speak), and he announces a 5% real terms increase for the next year (Year 1)

So in Year 1 the health budget would be £105 billion

In Year 2 the health budget would also be £105 billion

but as the extra £5 billion was spent ("invested") in Year 1 and Year 2, he claimed £10 billion extra spending "by Year 2"?

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Gordon Brown was often accused of double, treble, quadruple etc. counting of spending increases (separately to another trick of reannoucning the same money several times)

I'm ashamed to admit that I was never sure I understood what it meant

Is it as simple as the following example?

Say the health budget in Year 0 was £100 billion ("billions" in Gordo speak), and he announces a 5% real terms increase for the next year (Year 1)

So in Year 1 the health budget would be £105 billion

In Year 2 the health budget would also be £105 billion

but as the extra £5 billion was spent ("invested") in Year 1 and Year 2, he claimed £10 billion extra spending "by Year 2"?

Gordon who?

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http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/3509801/browns-illusory-g20-deal.thtml

Britain has as its Prime Minister a master of political illusion. He may not be much of an orator, but there is no one better at dressing up old money as new. If the G20 nations wanted to fake progress, to spin a $1.1 trillion figure while committing no new money at all, then Gordon Brown is their man. “This is the day that the world came together to fight the global recession, not with words but with a plan,” said our Dear Leader. Well, let’s have a closer look at this supposed plan…

1) “Making available an extra $1 trillion”. Ahh, those Brown verbal tricks. What does “make available” mean? Is it guarantees, promises, statement of intent? Real spending? Not a penny of cold hard cash has been pledged by anyone. The sum is concocted by taking the IMF’s pre-existing $500bn target for its bailout fund (a target it still hasn’t met), adding another $250bn to the target. And, then, we add a $250bn fund which the IMF would create by printing its own special money.

2) IMF Funds “treble to $750 billion”. Very fishy. We heard from the IMF on Valentine’s Day that it wanted double its rescue fund to $500 billion – then it said it wanted even more. So where has the extra $250bn come from? Who has stumped it up? No one, it appears - it's just a target. And then the IMF will print its own money, in its own pretend “currency” (called Special Drawing Rights or SDR), and then allow its members to swap this for real money. The idea was once rejected by US Congress, but Obama thinks he won’t need congressional approval now the limit is kept to $250bn. But to be clear: no one has stumped up any new cash. It’s a little quantitative easing for the world – aimed, I suspect, at Eastern Europe. China will be happy as it wants SDRs to replaced the US dollar as a reserve currency.

3) Old pledges dressed as new. Brown gave a breakdown of who had stumped up: Japan, he said, contributed $100bn to the IMF. Yes it did: in January. The EU has agreed to contribute $100bn, he added. We know: this was announced at the last EU summit. Brown said China has chipped in just $40bn, and this appears to be new. But given the size of Beijing’s $2 trillion piggy bank, that is a rather derisory amount (and won’t buy it a seat on the IMF board). The Brazilians had thought China was good for $100bn.

4) Double counting. The Dear Leader has good news. “We are going to act decisively to kickstart international trade” But how? “We will ensure availability of at least $250 billion over the next two years." Note that “over two years” means that this is $125bn, double counted. Why not make it four years, and whack up an extra $1 trillion? It’s just a joke. Nor is this real cash – it comes from trade insurance schemes to protect importers and exporters. It’s not money being spent by governments. Pure Brown-style fiscal conjuring.

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Well that and you just keep re announcing things by pooling and de aggregating things.

E.g., 100 million maintenance grant for school buildings (announcement 1)

50 million of capital investment in school buildings (announcement 2)

150 million for "Investing in schools" initiative (announcement 3)

70 million for building investment in secondary schools programme (announcement 4)

70 million for building investment in primary schools programme (announcement 5)

So you've spent 140 million, you've cut 10 million from what you intended to spend and you've announced 440 million pounds worth of spending. I chose education because this was one of Ed Balls' favourite techniques, he'd conceal a small cut as a new programme.

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4) Double counting. The Dear Leader has good news. “We are going to act decisively to kickstart international trade” But how? “We will ensure availability of at least $250 billion over the next two years." Note that “over two years” means that this is $125bn, double counted. Why not make it four years, and whack up an extra $1 trillion? It’s just a joke.

Yes, this is the sort of thing I was thinking of when I did the OP

It sort of seems plausible. If $125 billion is spent in each of two years why isn't that $250 billion over two years? What would have been the pre GB way of presenting this which people would have found transparent.

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I heard the example of double counting given for the NHS: 9BN over 3 years is:-

3BN: year one.

3BN: year two (plus 3BN from year one)

3BN: year three (plus 6BN from previous years)

=3+3+3+3+6 = 18BN

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  • 261 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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