The new issue of International Economy has an article by Canada’s Liberal finance minister from the 1990s, Paul Martin, who succeeded in shrinking that country’s federal government. If a new President Mitt Romney wants to cut spending in Washington, Martin has some tips for him, such as cutting spending broadly, forecasting conservatively, and aiming to eliminate the deficit in a fixed time frame and sticking to it. (I’d also advise President Obama to follow the Canadian example, but he’s issued four budgets so far and seems to be more interested in following the Greek fiscal approach).
I testified today to Paul Ryan’s House Budget Committee regarding corporate cronyism and the opposite policy of free-market entrepreneurialism. Also testifying was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
The lead article in the new Cato Policy Report is entitled “We Can Cut Government: Canada Did.” The article reviews Canada’s economic reforms since the 1980s, which have included free trade, privatization, spending cuts, sound money, large corporate tax cuts, personal tax reforms, balanced federal budgets, block grants, and decentralizing power by cutting the central government.
Occasional episodes of government mismanagement explode into big scandals, such as the General Services Administration’s party in Las Vegas that wasted more than $800,000.
The Washington Times today discusses whether Mitt Romney’s political and policy team is looking too much like George W. Bush’s team. The reporter quotes me in his article:
Is Washington gridlock the GOP’s fault? That’s what Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution claim in a recent Washington Post op-ed. According to them, Republicans have become “ideologically extreme” and are blocking needed bipartisan reforms.
There’s an internal contradiction in the way that Keynesian-oriented economists and policymakers address the federal budget situation. I’ve noticed it over and over. A passage in a Washington Post op-ed today by Mohamed El-Erian of Pimco captures it perfectly:
The Sunday New York Times described Apple’s successful efforts to reduce its U.S. and California corporate tax burdens. The article hints that the situation is a moral outrage, and it includes sob stories of governments that are supposedly hurting because they don’t raise enough tax revenues from businesses.