Although Sullivan's post is on the Tory party's commitment to recognize married couples in the tax system, he betrays the remnants of his fixation on government spending in the following sentence:
In Britain, there's a small flap
over David Cameron's commitment to recognizing married couples in the
tax system, something the UK currently, and bizarrely, doesn't do. The
trouble is its cost in a period of terrible public finances after years
of Labour over-spending.
Sullivan has supported Obama's stimulus spending and has generally softened his views on militant Friedmanism, but every now and then, he lets rip with a knee jerk conservative response to something that has nothing to do with monetary policy. The terrible public finances in Britain have far less to do with over-spending than it has the economic philosophy Sullivan cheer led for most of the years Labour was in power. New Labour followed the Thatcherite model of deregulation, tax cuts for the rich and complete acquiescence to the financial sector. As a result, the economy blew up and there isn't a penny to spend without massively adding to the deficit. The fact that New Labour did spend a bit on social services, building up public infrastructure and ensuring children didn't live in abject poverty has probably done more to mitigate the effects of the economic meltdown than anything else.
Conservatives rarely look at the least well off as actual people and insist on treating them like equations in an economics text book. And I thought Sullivan was over that nonsense.