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Social Security, Vote Buying, and the Road to Greece

What’s America’s main fiscal policy challenge, particularly in the long run? Most sensible people will agree that our greatest threat is the rising burden of entitlement spending. More specifically, demographic changes and ill-designed programs will combine to dramatically expand the size of the public sector over the next few decades. So it’s really amazing that […]

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Very Powerful Real-World Evidence for Spending Caps

A few days ago, I cited some research by an economics professor at the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!), who calculated that we would have a big budget surplus today if Washington lawmakers had simply maintained Bill Clinton’s final budget, adjusting it only for inflation plus population growth. My purpose was to show that some […]

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Bill Clinton and the Retroactive Application of Mitchell’s Golden Rule

It’s amazingly simple to reduce the burden of government spending. Policy makers simply need to impose some modest spending restraint so that government doesn’t grow faster than the economy’s productive sector. In a display of humility that can only be found in Washington, DC, I call this Mitchell’s Golden Rule. And, amazingly, even the International […]

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Restoring the Old-Fashioned Budget Virtue of…FDR and Truman?!?

This is a column I never expected to write. That’s because I’m going to applaud Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. This won’t be unconstrained applause, to be sure. Roosevelt, after all, pursued awful policies that lengthened and deepened the economic misery of the 1930s. And, as you can see from this video, the “economic […]

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Replicate the Success of Welfare Reform by Putting States in Charge of Fraud-Riddled Food Stamp Program

As shown by this graphic, why are so many people in Maine taking advantage of the food stamp program? As shown by this map, why does Oregon have such a high level of food stamp dependency? These are just rhetorical questions since I don’t have the answers. But if we can come up with good […]

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A Fair – but Ultimately Misleading – Critique of GOP Budgets

Last week, I applauded the Chairmen of the House and Senate Budget Committees for proposing budgets that complied with my Golden Rule, which means the burden of government would grow slower than the private sector. But my praise was limited because neither budget is ideal from the perspective of libertarians and small-government conservatives. Even though […]

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