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Search Results for 'austerity'

In the world of fiscal policy, there are actually two big debates. One debate revolves around the appropriate size of government in the long run. Folks on the left argue that government spending generates a lot of value and that bigger government is a recipe for more prosperity. Libertarians and their allies, by contrast, point […]

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The European Commission’s data-gathering bureaucracy, Eurostat, has just published a new report on government finances for the region. And with Greece’s ongoing fiscal turmoil getting headlines, this Eurostat publication is worthwhile because it debunks the notion, peddled by folks like Paul Krugman, that Europe has been harmed by “savage” and “harsh” spending cuts. Here’s some […]

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It’s remarkable to read that European politicians are agitating to spend more money, supposedly to make up for “spending cuts” and austerity. To put it mildly, their Keynesian-based arguments reflect a reality-optional understanding of recent fiscal policy on the other side of the Atlantic. Here’s some of what Leonid Bershidsky wrote for Bloomberg. Just as […]

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There’s an ongoing debate about Keynesian economics, stimulus spending, and various versions of fiscal austerity, and regular readers know I do everything possible to explain that you can promote added prosperity by reducing the burden of government spending. Simply stated, we get more jobs, output, and growth when resources are allocated by competitive markets. But […]

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I’m not reluctant to criticize my friends at the Heritage Foundation. In some cases, it is good-natured ribbing because of the Cato-Heritage softball rivalry, but there are also real policy disagreements. For instance, even though it is much better than current policy, I don’t like parts of Heritage’s “Saving the American Dream” budget plan. It’s […]

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I want a smaller burden of government spending, so you can only imagine how frustrating it is for me to observe the fight in Europe. On one side of the debate you have pro-spenders, who call themselves “growth” advocates, but are really just Keynesians. On the other side of the debate, you have pro-taxers, who […]

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Statists are in a tough position. For years, they’ve been saying the United States should be more like Europe. And, as shown in these very funny cartoons by Michael Ramirez and Bob Gorrell, President Obama is a cheerleader for that effort. But now Europe’s welfare states are collapsing, so the left is scrambling to come […]

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I have great fondness for Estonia, in part because it was the first post-communist nation to adopt the flat tax, but also because of the country’s remarkable scenery. Most recently, though, I’ve been bragging about Estonia (along with Latvia and Lithuania, the other two Baltic nations) for implementing genuine spending cuts. I’ve argued that Estonia […]

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I wrote a detailed blog post yesterday, showing that European governments have been very reluctant to restrain the burden of government spending. Part of the problem is that the debate in Europe is a no-win exercise, pitting proponents of higher taxes (which is largely how Europe’s political elite defines “austerity”) against proponents of higher spending […]

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With both France and Greece deciding to jump out of the left-wing frying pan into the even-more-left-wing fire, European fiscal policy has become quite a controversial topic. But I find this debate and discussion rather tedious and unrewarding, largely because it pits advocates of Keynesian spending (the so-called “growth” camp) against supporters of higher taxes […]

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I realize the title of this post sounds like the beginning of a joke, along the lines of “A priest, a minister, and a rabbi walk into a bar…”, but this is a serious topic. A big problem in fiscal debates is that people can’t even agree on what they mean by certain words. For […]

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Demonstrating that he’s probably not a fan of Mitchell’s Golden Rule, Paul Krugman recently asserted that fiscal austerity has failed in the United Kingdom. Citing Keynesian theory and weak economics numbers, he warned about “the austerity doctrine that has dominated elite policy discussion” and says that the British government made a mistake when it decided […]

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London was just hit by heavy riots as part of a protest against the “deep” and “savage” budget cuts of the Cameron government. This is not the first time the U.K. has endured riots. The welfare lobby, bureaucrats, and other recipients of taxpayer largesse are becoming increasingly agitated that their gravy train may be derailed. […]

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I like the Baltic nations, as illustrated by what I wrote last year. I’m a big fan of…Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. These three countries emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Empire and they have taken advantage of their independence to become successful market-driven economies. One key to their relative success is tax policy. All three […]

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I’ve called for the abolition of the Department of Transportation. On more than one occasion. So I was very excited to see this new video about infrastructure from Johan Norberg. Very well put. As Johan says (channeling Bastiat), we should remember that jobs are destroyed when money is taken out of the private sector to […]

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Every so often, I mock the New York Times for biased or sloppy analysis. Claiming Medicaid cuts in a piece that shows rising outlays for the program. Asserting that government schools are “starved of funding” when taxpayer subsidies actually have skyrocketed. Claiming that budget-cutting austerity nations are doing worse than “stimulus” nations, but getting the numbers backwards. […]

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I’m a fan of the Baltic nations in part because they were among the first to adopt flat tax systems after the collapse of the Soviet empire. But tax reform was just the beginning. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have liberalized across the board as part of their efforts to become prosperous. Economic Freedom of the […]

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I wrote yesterday about a very depressing development in the United Kingdom. Politicians in that country – including some supposed fiscal conservatives – are contemplating a big expansion in the burden of government spending in order to give pay hikes to the bureaucracy. What makes this so unfortunate is that the country has been making […]

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One of my favorite charts shows how nations achieve great results when they engage in multi-year periods of spending restraint. The most important benefit is that the burden of government shrinks relative to the private sector, but it’s also worth noting that the symptom of red ink begins to disappear when there is a serious […]

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Time for an update on the perpetual motion machine of Keynesian economics. We’ll start with the good news. The Treasury Department commissioned a study on the efficacy of the so-called stimulus spending that took place at the end of last decade. As discussed in this news report, the results were negative. …a scathing new Treasury-commissioned […]

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A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the four major candidates running in the French presidential election and expressed general pessimism. This Sunday, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will face each other in the runoff election. That’s a rather depressing choice. Macron is a former official in the disastrous big-government Hollande Administration and Le […]

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In a column in today’s  New York Times, Steven Rattner attacks Trump’s tax plan for being unrealistic. Since I also think the proposal isn’t very plausible, I’m not overly bothered by that message. However, Rattner tries to bolster his case by making very inaccurate and/or misleading claims about the Reagan tax cuts. Given my admiration […]

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The last time there was a presidential election in France, I like to think my endorsement made a difference in the outcome. Now that another election is about to take place, with a first round this Sunday and a runoff election between the top-2 candidates two week later, it’s time to once again pontificate about […]

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I’ve shared several surveys that people can take to determine whether they are libertarian. Now the good folks from FreedomFest are taking this to the next level by conducting a survey to determine the “50 Most Influential Libertarians.” I invite everyone to participate by clicking here, especially since filling out the survey gives you a […]

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I’ve put forth lots of arguments against tax increases, mostly focusing on why higher tax rates will depress growth and encourage more government spending. Today, let’s look at a practical, real-world example. I wrote a column for The Hill looking at why Greece is a fiscal and economic train wreck. I have lots of interesting […]

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I don’t like tax increases, but I like having additional evidence that higher tax rates change behavior. So when my leftist friends “win” by imposing tax hikes, I try to make lemonade out of lemons by pointing out “supply-side” effects. Such as the big drop in soda purchases after a tax on sugary drinks was […]

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Last year, I shared some remarkable research from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development about the negative relationship between government spending and economic performance. The economists at the Paris-based bureaucracy looked at data from its member nations (primarily Europe, North America, and the Pacific Rim), discovered that the countries with bigger government experienced less […]

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What could be more fun than to spend the day before Christmas reading about fiscal policy? I realize there are probably endless ways to answer that question, particularly since normal people are probably more concerned about the rumor that the feds are going to arrest Santa Claus. But America’s fiscal future is very grim, so […]

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The good thing about being a libertarian (above and beyond respecting the rights and liberties of other people) is that you can always say “I told you so” when government intervention leads to bad results. Obamacare is a very good (albeit very painful) example. The bad thing about being a libertarian is that you don’t […]

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Last month, I explained that America’s fiscal problems are almost entirely the result of domestic spending programs, particularly entitlements. Some critics immediately decided this meant I favored a blank check for the Pentagon, even though I specifically stated that “I’m very sympathetic to the proposition that trillions of dollars that have been misspent on foreign […]

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