Chris Edwards

How Big Is the Government?

One measure of the government’s size is government spending as a share of gross domestic product. The OECD has released new data (Table 25) on this measure for 31 member countries, which I chart here for 2015. The spending includes all levels government: federal, state, and local.

DHS Computer Project: A Record Cost Overrun?

Politics and bureaucratic mismanagement drive up costs and generate failure in the federal government. More evidence comes from a Washington Post report today on a botched computer project at the Department of Homeland Security

Trump Should Do Homework on Entitlements

The Washington Post today discusses how presidential candidate Donald Trump is dismissing the need for major entitlement reforms. The paper noted, “… leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump railed against proposals to end or significantly change Medicare.”

The Problem and the Solution

The solution to this giant mess

is this reform plan.

Cruz and Paul’s VAT Mistake

Presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have proposed value-added taxes (VATs) as part of their tax reform plans. I critique these taxes in National Review today, arguing that they could become engines of big government growth.

Budget Deal Undermines Tax Reform

The budget agreement between congressional leaders and the Obama administration would break prior budget caps and increase spending over the next two years by $80 billion. The Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2015 would theoretically offset that cost with savings down the road, but promises of future savings are worth little given that GOP leaders have shown they will break agreed-to restraints whenever the time comes. The Heritage Foundation is right that the deal is a “colossal step” in the wrong direction and “does nothing to reduce the size and scope of government.”

Private Science vs. Government Science

In researching an upcoming study on privatization, I came across an interesting illustration of the advantages of private science over government science. Private science focuses on efficiency and results, but government science maybe not so much.

Postal Privatization: Italy

After Germany, the Netherlands, and Great Britain, it is now Italy’s turn to privatize its postal service. It seems that even “old Europe” welfare states are more reform-minded on some economic matters than Congress and the current U.S. administration.

Air Traffic Control Privatization: Cato View Gains Ground

Five years ago, Bob Poole and I wrote that Canada’s privatized air traffic control (ATC) system would be “a very good reform model for the United States.” U.S. policymakers—including the chairman of the House committee that oversees ATC—are now coming around to that view.

End of Fiscal Responsibility in Canada?

Canadian federal elections yesterday ousted the ruling Conservatives under Stephen Harper and replaced them with the Liberals under Justin Trudeau. The Liberals have promised to increase taxes on high earners, ramp up spending on government infrastructure, and purposely run deficits to supposedly stimulate the economy.

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