James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Boosting the U.S. economy isn’t all that hard

June 7, 2011

John Tamny of Forbes speaks Truth to Power:

An economy is not a living, breathing blob, rather it’s a collection of individuals acting in their individual self interest. In that case, to stimulate ours or any economy, it’s really quite simple. Remove the roadblocks to economic activity which are taxes, regulation, barriers to trade, and cheap, unstable money.

Right now Washington is violating all four basics, thus making our limp economic outlook a present and future inevitability. Government spending is rising and it’s a tax like any other for every dollar consumed by government one less dollar meant to fund real productivity. Tax rates, though not historically high in the 20th century sense, are uncertain, and with them uncertain, the economy’s vital few must produce with the future possibility that the fruits of their efforts will be penalized at much higher rates. Beyond that, regulations are increasing at a horrifying pace, trade agreements that would foster the work specialization necessary for economic advancement are on hold, and the dollar, as mentioned, continues to decline.

The answer to all of this is a very simple one. An economy is once again just a collection of individuals, and when the barriers to production are removed, the individuals that drive our advancement will start producing again. Of course until the aforementioned roadblocks to growth are reduced, productive activity will decline, and what we call an economy will continue to crawl.

Lovely.

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