Outlook So George Osborne does have some friends at the International Monetary Fund. On Monday, the IMF embarrassed the Chancellor by cutting its economic growth forecast for the UK this year.
Yesterday, it was at pains to say it thought Mr Osborne was right to seek to cut the UK's deficit so quickly, while singling out the US for criticism over its determination not to rein in spending until the recovery is secured.
Is the IMF's position contradictory? Not if you accept the Chancellor's argument that leaving the cuts until later would be more painful – or if you buy the almost pathological dislike of deficits that remains the IMF's default position.
Still, those on the wrong end of Mr Osborne's austerity measures would no doubt rather be in the boots of our friends in the US, who are now copping flak from the IMF.
You'll notice that its growth forecast for 2011 for them was cut by less than ours – and in 2012 it has been upgraded.