Daniel J. Mitchell
During the 1980 presidential campaign, Ronald Reagan famously said “there you go again” when responding to one of Jimmy Carter’s attacks. Well, the Gipper’s ghost is probably looking down from Heaven at the new budget deal between congressional leaders and the Obama Administration and saying “there they go again.”
Let’s celebrate some good news. When politicians can be convinced (or pressured) to exercise even a modest bit of spending restraint, it’s remarkably simple to get positive results.
When I make speeches about fiscal policy, I oftentimes share a table showing the many nations that have made big progress by enforcing spending restraint over multi-year periods.
I then ask audiences a rhetorical question about a possible list of nations that have prospered by going in the opposite direction.Are there any success stories based on tax hikes or bigger government?
Earlier this year, President Obama proposed a budget that would impose new taxes and add a couple of trillion dollars to the burden of government spending over the next 10 years.
We’re not going to come up with a good answer if we don’t understand basic fiscal facts.
There’s a joke in Washington that Democrats are the evil party and Republicans are the stupid party. Except this joke isn’t very funny since a lot of bad policy occurs when gullible GOPers get lured into “bipartisan” deals that expand government. Consider, for example, all the tax-hiking budget deals – such as the “read my lips” capitulation of the first President Bush – that enable more spending.
Keynesian economics is the perpetual motion machine of the left. You build a model that assumes government spending is good for the economy and you assume that there are zero costs when the government diverts money from the private sector.
The Tea Party-oriented lawmakers who wanted to block Obamacare before people began to get hooked on subsidies were unable to prevail: we have a deal and the wailing and hysteria in Washington is over. The politicians now have the authority to borrow more money and the bureaucrats are all back at work (rested and refreshed after their paid vacation, so they’ll probably tax, spend and regulate with extra fervor).
One reason I’m so bullish on Australia is that the nation has a privatized Social Security system called “Superannuation,” with workers setting aside 9 percent of their income in personal retirement accounts (rising to 12 percent by 2020).
It can be very frustrating to work at the Cato Institute and fight for small government.
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