Can Government Spending Be Cut After All?

"What if we can't make government smaller?" the Niskanen Center's Will Wilkinson asks. He says that the evidence, particularly Wagner's Law, shows that government spending is impervious to political assault, and libertarians should make their peace with big government. Instead, libertarians should focus on reforming regulations to foster competition and the market process. I have … Continue reading Can Government Spending Be Cut After All?

U.S. Infrastructure and Subsidy Spending: Not What You Might Expect

In my last two posts, I showed that the U.S. has a large social welfare state by cross-national standards, maybe even the second-largest in the OECD. However, the U.S. welfare state is much less redistributive from rich to poor than most other welfare states. In this post, I tackle spending on infrastructure ("gross fixed capital … Continue reading U.S. Infrastructure and Subsidy Spending: Not What You Might Expect

The United States’ Big Welfare State

The United States has long had a larger welfare state than most other Western democracies. Surprised? You may not be aware of the new research on "net social spending." Net social spending includes not just government expenditures on social programs, but also tax credits for social purposes and, as a debit, government taxation of social … Continue reading The United States’ Big Welfare State

David Brooks – Would You Take His Bet?

Polisphiliac David Brooks: Here’s a way to make money off of other people’s misery. Short house prices in Northern Virginia. Starting with sequestration and then continuing over the next several years, the Defense Department is going to be hammered. All the big defense contractors in Northern Virginia are going to be hit. It’s already happening. I … Continue reading David Brooks – Would You Take His Bet?

The Fiscal Responsibility Debate, Continued…

In the past few months, we have had a number of lively posts by Pileus contributors and readers over the question of fiscal responsibility. Some of the posts were focused on the problem of long-term unfunded entitlements. Some revolved around the question of whether a revivified GOP would embrace fiscal responsibility. Most recently, there have … Continue reading The Fiscal Responsibility Debate, Continued…

Solving the Budget Deficit

Taking up commenter Bill Bachofner's challenge, I'm posting my personal solution to the federal deficit using that nifty tool at the NY Times. I ended all short- and long-term deficits with no tax increases (except reducing employers' health insurance tax deduction) and without raising the Social Security retirement age. Here's the link. Of course, much … Continue reading Solving the Budget Deficit

Will Cutting Spending Hurt the Republicans?

Peter Beinart argues that Over the last half-century, the Republican Party has been, at times, a genuinely anti-government party and, at times, a politically successful party. But it’s never been both at the same time. Once this fall’s elections are over, I suspect the Tea Partiers will begin learning that, the hard way. If a … Continue reading Will Cutting Spending Hurt the Republicans?

Are Liberals Statists?

Conor Friedersdorf says no, but at Mother Jones Kevin Drum totes up the scorecard and says, pretty much, yes: If you can find liberals who favor charter schools, less regulation of small businesses, and an end to Fannie Mae, that's well and good. But that's 10% or less of my worldview. I also favor high … Continue reading Are Liberals Statists?

Those looming deficits. Yawn.

Before I get voted off the island, let me say that I’m in favor of much smaller government, lower spending and lower taxes.  I’m also a supporter of reducing budget deficits. That said, however, I cannot find a reason to get that worked up by the budget future of the U.S. or most developed countries.  … Continue reading Those looming deficits. Yawn.