Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Slovenia’

I’m a big believer that real-world examples can teach us about the benefits of good fiscal policy (think Hong Kong, Estonia, Canada, and the U.S. under Reagan and Clinton) and the costs of bad fiscal policy (France, Cyprus, Greece, and the U.S. under Bush and Obama).

Today, let’s look at another example of bad fiscal policy. And we’re going to pick on Slovenia since I’m on my way back from the annual Liberty Seminar at Lake Bohinj.

I’m motivated because one of the other lecturers at the Seminar was that country’s former Finance Minister, Janez Šušteršič.

His basic argument is that Slovenia is at risk of falling behind because of a failure to reduce the size and scope of government.

Here are some of his slides, starting with a look at how Slovenia started out richer than many other post-Soviet Bloc jurisdictions, but you can see that other nations (with better track records on reform) are catching up.

I especially like that he shows the rapid growth of the Baltic nations (hmmm….I guess Paul Krugman was wrong after all).

The message from these two slides is one that I often make, which is that faster economic growth makes a big difference over time.

You can click here to get links to a bunch of similar examples of how countries with pro-market policies out-pace other countries that chose statism.

The one disappointment in Dr. Šušteršič‘s presentation is that he looked at deficits and debt when he discussed fiscal policy.

Here’s his slide showing a big increase in red ink.

You won’t be surprised to learn that I think he should have focused on the underlying disease of too much spending rather than the symptom of red ink.

So I went to the IMF data and put together this chart.

As you can see, the reason that Slovenia has more red ink is that the burden of government spending increased so rapidly in recent years.

In the past few years, you can see that spending no longer is growing so rapidly.

I’d like to think this is a sign of new-found fiscal rectitude, but I suspect it’s simply a sign that Slovenian politicians realize they may be at the precipice of a fiscal crisis.

What Slovenia needs (what just about every nation needs) is some sort of spending cap to enforce long-run and sustainable spending restraint.

The Swiss “debt brake” is a good model to emulate.

Read Full Post »

I don’t mean jokes about the Slovenian political system, though I’m sure it would be a target-rich environment since politicians all over the world are easy to mock.

Instead, I happen to be in Slovenia and it’s time to share the best political jokes from America’s late-night talk shows (something I do periodically, as you can see here, here, and here).

Jay Leno

  • Astronomers have discovered a planet that has two suns. That solar company Solyndra went bankrupt on that planet too.
  • President Obama says his new jobs bill will create over 1.9 million jobs — and up to 50 of them will be right here in America.
  • I had a horrible nightmare. My cat was sick and the only vet in town was Ron Paul, and I didn’t have my pet insurance card.
  • President Obama is more popular overseas than here. Then again, he’s created more jobs over there than here.
  • Congress is investigating why the Obama administration invested over $500 million in a solar panel company called Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy. Only the White House could pick a solar panel company that goes broke in California in the summer.
  • The Democrats lost a seat they’ve held in New York since the 1920s. The White House said, “At least President Obama created one new job.”
  • Dick Cheney was grilled by the women of “The View.” So apparently he’s willing to undergo torture himself to prove a point.
  • After saying the jobs bill is paid for, President Obama now says that it will be paid for by raising taxes over 10 years. I can’t figure out if he’s the kind of guy who makes infomercials, or the kind of guy who falls for infomercials.
  • Threatening messages were posted on the White House Facebook page. Secret Service takes this very seriously and they’re warning that whoever is responsible runs the risk of being unfriended.
  • According to the latest poll, a record 73 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. But the good news: Gas is so expensive that we’ll never get there.
  • President Obama’s uncle has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Remember when the most embarrassing person in the president’s life was Joe Biden?
  • How sad is it for the uncle? He got thrown in jail and the only relative he could call for bail money is $14 trillion in debt.
  • Hurricane Irene wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was downgraded to a tropical storm. Even our hurricanes are getting downgraded.

Conan

  • President Obama has proposed a new tax increase called the “Buffett rule.” At first, Newt Gingrich was for it because he thought it was the “buffet rule.”
  • President Obama’s re-election campaign is doing a contest where contributors can win a chance to have dinner with the president. Or, if you come in 2nd place, a mid-afternoon Hot Pocket with Joe Biden.
  • President Obama described himself as an eternal optimist. He then explained that he’s the kind of person that sees the country as “half employed.”
  • A man wearing an Obama mask robbed a bank. Either that or Obama has an exciting new plan to reduce the deficit.
  • It’s being reported that Rick Perry met his wife when they were in elementary school. There was another boy that liked her too but Perry had him executed.
  • According to a report, the post office could go out of business this winter. On the bright side, the post office won’t receive the report in the mail for another two years.
  • Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman announced that he received the endorsement of Jeb Bush Jr., who is the son of the brother of the former president. Analysts say he’s sewn up the crucial “guy you didn’t know existed” vote.

Jimmy Kimmel

  • The University of Chicago is hosting an academic conference called “Jersey Shore Studies.” Meanwhile in Korea, students are learning something called “math.”
  • President Obama is determined to help the unemployed because it’s looking increasingly likely that in a year, he’ll be one of them.
  • President Obama’s approval rating is very low. But then again, his disapproval rating is very high, so there’s a silver lining.
  • This is the first debate Rick Perry has participated in since he announced his candidacy. Perry is a mix between George W. Bush and Yosemite W. Sam.

David Letterman

  • I love autumn in New York City: The yellows, the browns, and the rust — and that’s just the drinking water. (not political, but I thought it was funny enough to share)
  • Labor Day is the day that Americans take three days off from looking for work.

Jimmy Fallon

  • Last night in the Rose Garden, President Obama had a beer with a Medal of Honor winner. Not to be outdone, Joe Biden had a beer with a “World of Warcraft” winner.
  • According to a new poll, only 55 percent of Americans think President Obama is intelligent. Yeah, that may not sound impressive, but it’s up 55 percent over the last president.

Speaking of political humor, this cartoon is my most-viewed blog post of all time.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: