Thatcher’s Britain: By the numbers

Margaret Thatcher’s death brought forward testimonials of gratitude and anger for her legacy. Labor unions and statists are typically her fiercest critics. Some even put together “Death Parties” to celebrate her passing, complete with anti-female slurs.

She was certainly hard on unions and those who celebrate and invite government oversight and power during her administration. She was also hard on those seeking to advance communism around the world. Those who have sympathy for either of those persuasions would understandably celebrate her passing.

But what do the data tell us about her impact on Great Britain? The Economist put together some pretty telling data about her era. First, notice that she was elected during a recession, with rising inflation and dropping real income. During her time as PM:

  • Real incomes recovered and remained relatively stable for 20 years, contrary to popular belief.
  • Unemployment rates dropped and stayed low for 20 years.
  • Inflation rates dropped and stayed low for 20 years.
  • British government spending dropped and budgets balances improved.
So, the course she put Britain on had long-lasting, positive economic impact. Arguments to the contrary are not supported by the data.


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