The front-page story on Margaret Thatcher (TNT, 4-10) reports that she “left behind a leaner government and a more prosperous nation.”
But lean government meant drastically cutting back public services and social benefits. This contributed to lowering the median wage in the United Kingdom to a level not seen since the Great Depression.
By the end of Thatcher’s term, the poverty rate was higher than it had been at any time in the last 70 years. She decimated UK industry and bloated the financial sector, making the country’s least productive individuals richer than they had ever been.
She did indeed break the unions and eliminate most government regulation of business, but keep in mind this most relevant similarity between the UK and the United States: In both countries’ most prosperous years, from 1950 to the early 1970s, labor unions were strong and business was extensively regulated by government.