Last week, my family’s microwave broke down after 15 years of faithful service. That incident might sound trivial to you. I’m sure it is trivial to you. But it made me aware of how valuable a microwave has been to us. And our week without a microwave taught me a lot about the value of microwaves—and can teach us more generally about the value of economic freedom.
Professor David Henderson tells the story of Canada’s triumph over budget deficits in the 1990s, and explains that even severe deficit problems can be resolved through real cuts to government spending and without major tax increases.
Professor David Henderson tells the story of how Canada regained control of its spending the 1990s, and explains that even severe deficit problems can be resolved through effective cuts to government spending and without recurring to major tax increases.
“In 1994 government debt was 68 percent of Canada’s GDP. By 2008 that number was down to 29 percent. Finance Minister Paul Martin Jr. and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, both of the Liberal Party, are the two unlikely stars in this heroic tale of fiscal discipline.”
In these free-spending times there’s a growing movement among economists who say the best way out of this recession is to do nothing, nothing at all.
One big problem with the Romers’ research, which they acknowledge, is that in their model one tax cut of a given magnitude is identical to another tax cut of the same magnitude. It doesn’t matter, in their model, whether the tax cut comes from a tax credit or from a cut in marginal tax rates. But, of course, it does matter.
Many journalists claim that the U.S. economy since the late 1970s has been very free, with little regulation; that this absence of regulation has caused markets to fail; that there was a consensus in favor of little regulation; and that, now, this consensus is fading. On all these counts, the reports are false. Specifically, the U.S. economy has not been free since before the New Deal of the 1930s.
The main difference is that a government that forswears central planning and leaves individuals free to make their own decisions within a system of property rights will typically end up being the government of a prosperous country.
The insight that markets break down discrimination is not new. Over 200 years ago Voltaire wrote: “Go into the London Stock Exchange. . . and you will see representatives of all nations gathered there for the service of mankind. There the Jew, the Mohammedan, and the Christian deal with each other as if they were of the same religion, and give the name of infidel only to those who go bankrupt.”
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