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Britain's Cuts: Daring or Daft?

Britain announced an austerity package that has stunned even the most hard-nosed American deficit hawks. We look at U.K. cutbacks.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron talking about defense budget cuts in Northwood near London, Oct. 19, 2010. (AP)

Americans talk about spending and deficits. Britons are taking a battle axe to theirs.

Giant cuts in British government spending on nearly everything – schools, police, the military, the Queen. A wholesale shakeout of the ranks of public employees.

A true, deep, painful austerity plan to get away from debt. It’s being called revolutionary. And it’s a gamble. If it doesn’t work, Britain’s price could be steep. The whole world, America included, is watching.

We look at Britain’s new austerity, and America’s way forward on debt.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Alex Barker, economics correspondent for the Financial Times.

Lord Robert Skidelsky, emeritus professor of political economy at the University of Warwick, director of the Moscow School of Political Studies, and a trustee of the Manhattan Institute. He is active in the British House of Lords. He is the preeminent biographer of John Maynard Keynes, having published a three-volume work, now condensed into a single volume: “John Maynard Keynes, 1883 to 1946: Economist, Philosopher, Statesman.” His latest book is “Keynes: The Return of the Master.”

Tim Besley, professor of economics and political science at the London School of Economics. From September 2006 to August 2009, he served as an external member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee.

Peter Beinart, senior political writer for The Daily Beast and associate professor of journalism and political science at City University of New York. He’s also a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. His new book is “The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris.”

Robert Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization focused on fiscal responsibility.

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