The Myth of the Sustainable Public Budget

by Wendell Cox 11/16/2010
Nobel Laureate economist Paul Krugman caused a stir on ABC’s This Week, expressing the following view to Christina Amanpour on the recommendations by the leadership of the US Debt Reduction Commission:

“Some years down the pike, we’re going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes. It’s going to be that we’re actually going to take Medicare under control, and we’re going to have to get some additional revenue, probably from a VAT.”

He later clarified his statement to be less provocative, noting that health care costs had to be better controlled and that there is a need for “several percent” more revenue, which might “most plausibly” come from a value added tax.

He went on to say that “And if we do those two things, we’re most of the way toward a sustainable budget.” That is a very tall order. Any serious examination of government costs makes it clear that there is no such thing as a sustainable budget. Click here to read more of wendell Cox’s superb writing.

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The Overdue Debate: Smart Growth Versus Housing Affordability

by Wendell Cox 11/22/2010
American households face daunting financial challenges. Even those lucky enough not to have suffered huge savings and retirement fund losses in the Great Recession seem likely to pay more of their incomes in taxes in the years to come, as governments attempt pay bills beyond their reasonable financial ability. Beyond that, America’s declining international competitiveness and the easy money policies of the Federal Reserve Board could well set off inflation that could discount further the wealth of households.

In this environment, the last thing governments need do is to raise the cost of anything. It is bad enough that taxes may have to rise and that a dollar will probably buy less. America’s standard of living could stagnate or it could even decline.

The Choice: Smart Growth or Affordability

The Washington Examiner, however, succinctly put the choices that face the nation, states and localities with respect to the largest element of household expenditure — housing. In an editorial entitled “Take Your Pick: Smart Growth or Affordable Housing,” the Examiner noted:

“No matter how much local politicians yammer about how much they support affordable housing, they are the principal cause of the problem via their land use restrictions, such as the urban growth boundary in Montgomery County and large-lot zoning in Loudoun County.” Click here to read more.

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