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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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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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Earlier this year, I criticized the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for endorsing an orgy of Keynesian spending. Did my criticism have an effect? Well, the bureaucrats in Paris just issued a new report that bluntly suggests a reorientation of fiscal policy to achieve more growth. …the global economy remains in a low-growth trap […]

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I’m a big fan of the Baltic nations 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 nations have flat taxes. Estonia’s system is […]

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In 2008, government spending consumed 50.9 percent of economic output in Greece according to OECD fiscal data. That same year, Greece’s score from Economic Freedom of the World was 7.12 (on a 0-10 scale), which was rather poor for a supposedly developed country and only #60 for all nations. Then the fiscal crisis hit and […]

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Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for President, supposedly made a political mistake when he couldn’t name any foreign political leaders that he admires. If his inability to produce a list of names was the result of being clueless about world affairs, then I suppose he can be legitimately criticized. But what if he couldn’t […]

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I’m not the biggest fan of Paul Krugman in his role as a doctrinaire advocate of leftist policy (he used to be within the mainstream and occasionally point out the risks of government intervention in his former role as an academic economist). It’s not just that he believes in big government. He also has an […]

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When I was younger, folks in the policy community joked that BusinessWeek was the “anti-business business weekly” because its coverage of the economy was just as stale and predictably left wing as what you would find in the pages of Time or Newsweek. Well, perhaps it’s time for The Economist to be known as the […]

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