No government has ever spent its way to prosperity. Our proposals help governments be fiscally responsible so citizens can be prosperous.
Arizona policymakers need to accept the reality that there’s no way to avoid government downsizing. The state is now second to only California in the severity of its fiscal crisis and faces over $5 billion in additional budget deficits through 2011. Yet, our officials remain distracted by Sacramento-style accounting gimmicks and a proposed sales tax hike that wouldn’t come close to closing the gap. Worse, many policymakers seem more concerned with preserving agency largesse than trying to eliminate it.
Twenty years ago a biologist showed me a graph from a peer-reviewed scientific journal that showed an alarming increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Then I noticed the graph’s scale was logarithmic and made even small increases look exaggerated. I’ve been skeptical of the science behind global warming ever since.
The economy is struggling, the unemployment rate is high, and many Americans are struggling to pay the bills. But one class of Americans is doing quite well: government workers. Their pay levels are soaring, they enjoy unmatched benefits, and they remain largely immune from layoffs, except for some overly publicized cutbacks around the margins.
On January 11, Chile was officially invited to join the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Chile will be the OECD’s 31st member and its first from South America. The OECD is largely made up of the world’s richest and most stable economies and Chile’s invitation to join the club wasn’t always a given.
I recently attended a meeting with Maurice McTigue, director of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a former member of the New Zealand Parliament, and a man with wide experience in government reform. Attendance at the meeting, arranged by State Senator Sylvia Allen, should have been required for everyone in our state government.
Last week, the House Committee on Natural Resources and Rural Affairs approved HCR 2040, a measure that would refer yet another tax increase to Arizona voters. The proposal would require every Arizonan to pay an additional $12 for each license plate registration. The money would be directed to the state parks agency in an attempt to reopen some sites and to fund improvements at others.
Last week the Legislature made some long overdue spending reductions after three years of gimmicks, one-time cash grabs and borrowing. Amidst the cries of Armageddon, it sometimes helps to back away and look at the big picture.
As I have traveled the country recently promoting the need for fiscal responsibility many people have asked me: Are we Greece?
Over the past 40 years, U.S. government spending has grown by almost 300 percent after adjusting for inflation, and our revenues haven't kept pace. Our current deficits are the highest as a percentage of our economy since World War II.