Open letter to President Obama (Part 465) (Government spending undermines economic growth)

(Emailed to White House on 5-6-13)

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

___________

No surprise but the world has now discovered what we conservatives knew all along: Government spending undermines economic growth.

The fiscal policy debate often drives me crazy because far too many people focus on deficits.

The Keynesians argue that deficits are good for growth and this leads them to support more government spending.

The “austerity” crowd at places such as the International Monetary Fund, by contrast, argues that deficits are bad for growth and this leads them to support higher taxes.

Then you have institutions such as the Congressional Budget Office that want the worst of all worlds, supporting Keynesian spending in the short run while advocating higher taxes in the long run.

But since I don’t like higher spending or higher taxes, you can see why I want to pull my hair out.

With this in mind, I’m pleased that economists at the European Central Bank have released some new research on “Fiscal Composition and Long-Term Growth” which doesn’t reflexively assume that red ink is the key variable. Instead, they dispassionately look at how several fiscal policy variables impact economic performance.

Here is the general conclusion.

In this study we use a large panel of developed and developing countries for the period 1970-2008. …Specifically, we examine the following issues: the influence of which budgetary components have a stronger influence in affecting (positively or negatively) per capita GDP growth rates… Our evidence suggests that for the full sample…government expenditures appear with significant negative signs.

This makes sense. Whether financed by taxes or borrowing, excessive government expenditures hurt an economy by diverting resources from productive uses.

But not all government spending is created equal. Here are some of the specific findings.

In a nutshell, our results comprise notably: i) for the full sample revenues have no significant impact on growth whereas government expenditures have significant negative effects; ii) the same is true for the OECD sub-sample with the addition that total government revenues have a negative impact on growth; iii) taxes on income are less welcome for growth; iv) public wages, interest payments, subsidies and government consumption have a negative effect on output growth; v) expenditures on social security and welfare are less growth enhancing.

It’s noteworthy that government spending is negatively correlated with economic performance for both developing and advanced nations.

It’s also interesting that taxes on income are bad for growth everywhere, and overall revenue is bad for growth in advanced nations (both of these findings, incidentally, suggest that Obama’s class-warfare tax agenda is quite misguided).

The authors of the study also find that some forms of government spending are particularly harmful for growth. That also makes a lot of sense since I’ve explained in my video on the Rahn Curve that core public goods can be good for growth while other types of government spending undermine prosperity.

So what does all this mean? Simply stated, the fiscal problem in virtually all nations is not red ink. It’s big government. Large deficits aren’t desirable, to be sure, but they’re best understood as side effects of too much spending.

In other words, entitlements need to be reformed and discretionary spending needs to be reduced. Solve these underlying problems and you fix the symptoms of red ink and sluggish growth.

______________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

Related posts:

A suggestion to cut some wasteful spending out of the government Part 2 (includes editorial cartoon)

Does Government Have a Revenue or Spending Problem? People say the government has a debt problem. Debt is caused by deficits, which is the difference between what the government collects in tax revenue and the amount of government spending. Every time the government runs a deficit, the government debt increases. So what’s to blame: too […]

A suggestion to cut some wasteful spending out of the government Part 1 (includes editorial cartoon)

What Are the Dangers of Too Much Debt? Published on Mar 20, 2012 Interest payments on U.S. government debt are three times spending in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars already, and that is with the lowest interest rate we have seen since the 1960s. A rise in interest rates would increase interest payments dramatically. What […]

Dear Senator Pryor, here are some spending cut suggestions (“Thirsty Thursday”, Open letter to Senator Pryor, cartoon included)

Senator Pryor pictured below: Why do I keep writing and email Senator Pryor suggestions on how to cut our budget? I gave him hundreds of ideas about how to cut spending and as far as I can tell he has taken none of my suggestions. You can find some of my suggestions here, here, here, […]

We need to slash defense spending and make other wealthy allies pay for their own defense!!!!

We need to slash defense spending and make other wealthy allies pay for their own defense!!!! The Republicans need to wake up on this issue. APRIL 15, 2013 1:13PM Your Tax Dollars at Work: Subsidizing the Security of Wealthy Allies By CHRISTOPHER A. PREBLE SHARE It’s Tax Day, and for millions of Americans that means ponying […]

We got to get a hold on entitlement spending!!!

We got to get a hold on entitlement spending!!! Entitlement Spending Is America’s Biggest Fiscal Challenge, but Discretionary Spending Is Still Far too High April 13, 2013 by Dan Mitchell If America descends into Greek-style fiscal chaos, there’s no doubt that entitlement programs will be the main factor. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Disability are all […]

Dear Senator Pryor, here are some spending cut suggestions (“Thirsty Thursday”, Open letter to Senator Pryor, cartoons included)

Senator Pryor pictured below: Why do I keep writing and email Senator Pryor suggestions on how to cut our budget? I gave him hundreds of ideas about how to cut spending and as far as I can tell he has taken none of my suggestions. You can find some of my suggestions here, here, here, […]

President Obama will not cut spending ever it appears

President Obama will not cut spending ever it appears. Early Details Show Obama Will Propose a Bait-and-Switch Budget Plan Containing Higher Taxes and More Spending April 5, 2013 by Dan Mitchell Are we about to see a new kinder-and-gentler Obama? Has the tax-and-spend President of the past four years been replaced by a fiscal moderate? That’s […]

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: