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New “Tax Oppression Index” Shows Grim Toll of OECD’s Statist Agenda

Back in 2009, I shared the results of a very helpful study by Pierre Bessard of Switzerland’s Liberal Institute (by the way, “liberal” in Europe means pro-market or “classical liberal“). Pierre ranked the then-30 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development based on their tax burdens, their quality of governance, and their […]

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Carbon Taxes: Worrisome in Theory, Bad in Reality

I don’t have strong views on global warming. Or climate change, or whatever it’s being called today. But I’ve generally been skeptical about government action for the simple reason that the people making the most noise are statists who would use any excuse to increase the size and power of government. To be blunt, I […]

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The United Kingdom and the Benefits of Spending Restraint

When I debate one of my leftist friends about deficits, it’s often a strange experience because none of us actually care that much about red ink. I’m motivated instead by a desire to shrink the burden of government spending, so I argue for spending restraint rather than tax hikes that would “feed the beast.” And […]

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Is Putin Being Honest and Accurate about the Benefits of Russia’s Flat Tax?

I’m obviously a big fan of a simple and fair flat tax. In part, my support for fundamental reform is driven by my desire for a low rate, for no double taxation, and for the elimination of loopholes. Those are the economic reasons for reform. But I also am very much motivated by the moral […]

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Just Say No to the Debilitating Drug of Keynesian Stimulus

I’m glad that Donald Trump wants faster growth. The American people shouldn’t have to settle for the kind of anemic economic performance that the nation endured during the Obama years. But does he understand the right recipe for prosperity? That’s an open question. At times, Trump makes Obama-style arguments about the Keynesian elixir of government […]

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Is Democracy Inimical to Prudent Government Budgeting: The U.S. and India Contrasted

At a time when the U.S. Government sported an accumulated debt of roughly $20 trillion, with continued deficits expected to add about $10 trillion more over the next ten years, the most populous democracy in the world, India, laid out a prudent budget proposal—one that had been “extremely well thought-out,” according to Deepak Parekh of the Housing Development Finance Corporation in India.[1]


The full essay is at “Prudent Government Budgeting.”



1. Getta Anand, “Arun Jaitley, India’s Finance Chief, Aims to Spur Economy Hit by Cash Shortage,” The New York Times, February 1, 2017.

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Border-Adjustable Taxation, but Were Afraid (or too Bored) to Ask

House Republicans, as part of a generally laudable tax reform plan, want to replace the corporate income tax with a “destination-based cash-flow tax.” I’ve addressed that topic a couple of times. Left-leaning advocates like “destination-based” tax systems such as the DBCFT because such systems undermine tax competition and give politicians more ability to increase tax […]

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A Lower Corporate Tax Means More Growth and Higher Wages

Yesterday was “Australia Day,” which I gather for Aussies is sort of like the 4th of July for Americans. To belatedly celebrate for our friends Down Under, I suppose we could sing Waltzing Matilda. But since I’m a policy wonk with a special fondness for the nation, let’s instead acknowledge Australia Day by citing some […]

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New CBO Numbers and the Simple Formula for Good Fiscal Policy, Part II

Based on new 10-year fiscal estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, I wrote yesterday that balancing the budget actually is very simple with a modest bit of spending restraint. If lawmakers simply limit annual spending increases to 1 percent annually, the budget is balanced by 2022. If spending is allowed to grow by 2 percent […]

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New CBO Numbers and the Simple Formula for Good Fiscal Policy, Part I

The Congressional Budget Office, as part of The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2017 to 2027, has just released fiscal projections for the next 10 years. This happens twice every year. As part of this biannual exercise, I regularly (most recently here and here) dig through the data and highlight the most relevant numbers. Let’s repeat […]

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On the U.S. Government’s Fiscal Imbalance: Federalism to the Rescue?

At the outset of the Trump administration in the U.S., real economic output was projected to grow at an annual rate of 1.9 percent over the next decade.[1] The new federal president was hoping his proposals of tax cuts and $1 trillion in additional infrastructure spending over a decade would bump up the annual growth to 4 percent. I submit, however, that just over 2 percent more in the growth rate would not alter the stark “budget reality” facing the new president and the American people.

The full essay is at “U.S. Government’s Fiscal Imbalance.”



1. Alan Rappeport, “Federal Debt Projected to Grow by Nearly $10 Trillion Over Next Decade,” The New York Times, January 24, 2017.

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Will Trumponomics Mean More Freedom and Prosperity?

I was sitting directly under a television in a Caribbean airport yesterday when Trump got inaugurated, so I inadvertently heard his speech. The bad news is that Trump didn’t say much about liberty or the Constitution. And, unlike Reagan, he certainly didn’t have much to say about shrinking the size and scope of Washington. On […]

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Advice for Donald Trump’s Fiscal Garden: Eliminate rather than Cut

Because of what he’s said on entitlements, infrastructure, child care, and other issues, I’ve been skeptical about Donald Trump. But if recent headlines are true, I may develop a man crush. Here’s a story from The Hill. Donald Trump is ready to take an ax to government spending. Staffers for the Trump transition team have […]

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Tax Competition: A Necessary Liberalizing Process to Discipline the “Stationary Bandit” of Government

Mancur Olson (1932-1998) was a great economist who came up with a very useful analogy to help explain the behavior of many governments. He pointed out that a “roving bandit” has an incentive to maximize short-run plunder by stealing everything from victims (i.e. a 100 percent tax rate), whereas a “stationary bandit” has an incentive […]

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The Negative Macroeconomic Impact of Overpaid Bureaucrats

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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Concerns about the”Border Adjustable” Tax Plan from the House GOP, Part II

I wrote yesterday to praise the Better Way tax plan put forth by House Republicans, but I added a very important caveat: The “destination-based” nature of the revised corporate income tax could be a poison pill for reform. I listed five concerns about a so-called destination-based cash flow tax (DBCFT), most notably my concerns that […]

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Concerns about the”Border Adjustable” Tax Plan from the House GOP, Part I

The Republicans in the House of Representatives, led by Ways & Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Speaker Paul Ryan, have proposed a “Better Way” tax plan that has many very desirable features. Death tax repeal Depreciation replaced with expensing Corporate tax rate dropped to 20 percent No deduction for state and local taxes And there […]

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Trump, Entitlements, and America’s Potential Greek Future

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (or like Donald Sutherland in Animal House), I’m going to repeat myself for the umpteenth time and state that the United States has a big long-run problem. To be specific, the burden of government spending will inexorably climb in the absence of big reforms. This isn’t […]

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The Flat Tax, Now More then Ever

On December 24, I wrote that all I wanted for Christmas is a spending cap. Alas, Santa did not manage to stuff that long-overdue policy down my chimney. But I’m not surprised. For years, the flat tax was on my Christmas list and that never happened either. I guess I must have been bad. Or […]

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All I Want for Christmas Is…a Spending Cap

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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