But its safety net, i.e. social spending, is not something to emulate. As an American, losing your job means losing your health care; often it means losing your home. Public spending on higher education is minimal in the United States, in fact, there's an entire system of private schools and universities that just doesn't exist in the UK (where free or nearly free education has been the norm). Infrastructure is crumbling; libraries are closing; schools are aging.
Yet as the chart prepared by the IMF shows, if the UK continues on the austerity track of the Cameron government, public sector spending in the UK will fall precipitously below that in the US sometime in the future, all things being equal (assuming no upcoming US administration succeeds in passing an austerity budget, an assumption I wouldn't bet on).
The article accompaning the graph describes the situation thus:
Particularly striking is the fact that Britain will end up spending less as a proportion of its national income than even the US, the international byword for a decrepit public sector.
Decrepit. Think of that next time you tool down the Interstate in your sweet SUV, dodging potholes and holding your breath over bridges.
On the other hand, we can all move to Germany, which had the foresight to offer workers who'd otherwise be laid off subsized part time work at their previous positions, so that when the economy bounced back, the workers would be in place. Not wasteful government spending; rather, simply smart thinking "Decrepit" isn't the word that comes to mind when I think of German roads, either.
So, if the Tory government would like a bit of advice, coming from an American who's been there, done that, do try to avoid cuts to schools, roads, and health care, especially when the economy is in recession. Halt this race to the bottom, because that way lies broken infrastructure.