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Dale’s IFS Fail

Tory blogger Iain Dale did a whoopsie today when he claimed that the Guardian cherry-picked the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) research to write their piece “Poor families bear brunt of coalition’s austerity drive”.  Basically, his point was that they’d ignored a bit when a man from the IFS told Total Politics magazine in June (remember this bit, it’s important) that:

[T]he Budget is regressive overall, in that it will hit the poorest the hardest, yet, its VAT increase is actually progressive.

Why would they do such a thing?  Quoth Dale:

It clearly didn’t suit their agenda.

I’d personally go with ‘The Guardian knew the IFS did an August revision of their opinion and he didn’t’.

Or, maybe, just maybe, they don’t mention it because it doesn’t matter. What virtue would a progressive shift in VAT be if it’s wiped out by the other measures?

You see, the Guardian is still right; the poor get hit hardest in this budget.

And this is the big thing.  Progressive economics was a fig leaf which brought disaffected Labour voters to the Lib Dem yard and is the idea which Lib Dems desperately cling to.  We haven’t sold out – look, we’re helping the poorest! Ah no, no you’re not.  You’re helping the Tories do what they’d already planned to do.

That said, I wouldn’t go running to Labour just yet – until the party leaders show a willingness to tackle its recent history with something more than words, claims of being the home of progressive liberal politics still remain hollow.

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