At the Lib Dem conference in Liverpool the party leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has come up with a really stupid idea.
He plans to let local councils borrow money!
The only reason our national debt isn't twice what it already is, is because only central government can borrow money in the name of the taxpayer. Local councils are already massively profligate, wasting money on pet projects and over-paying local civil servants. At the moment they are limited by the outraged squeals of council tax payers whenever they raise the rate, and the fact that most of their income stems from a fixed central government grant.
With unfettered access to the bond markets the town hall spendthrifts would think all their Christmases had come at once. Local taxpayers would soon be left financing a permanent structural debt, the borrowed money having feathered a lot of nests and produced little of tangible benefit.
An object lesson would be Greece which in recent years, ably assisted by Goldman Sachs, has monetised its revenue streams, ie, borrowed against future tax receipts, the borrowing then being frittered away.
We don't want that here.