What “austerity”?

What “austerity”? By Scot Summer.

Here are the ratios of government spending to GDP in some major economies:

Germany: 43.9% (2017)
Britain: 41.1% (2017)
Canada: 40.8% (2017)
Australia: 36.2% (2015)
Switzerland 34.0% (2015) …

It’s not obvious why a country devoting 41.1% of its GDP to government spending is not able to provide basic government services and a safety net for the poor. …

I have an alternative explanation. Progressivism leads to a virtually infinite number of “unmet needs” Patch one hole (say health care) and lots more will pop up, such child care, or free college education. Patch those holes, and still more unmet needs will pop up, such as housing and high speed rail. Combine that with the inefficiency of big government, as well as all the problems identified by public choice models (i.e. special interest groups), and you have a recipe for continual disappointment.

Each time I visit France my first reaction is; “Where the heck did all these homeless people come from?” Doesn’t the French government spend 57% of GDP? Yes they do, and yet somehow Paris has homeless people all over the place. Maybe they need to spend 67%. Or 77%.

Government can be viewed as a means by which people can spend other people’s money. Government takes money off everyone using the threat of violence, and then a few select people get to choose how to spend it. This is inefficient, as everyone now knows, but there is an even bigger problem.

Government creates inequality. Most big fortunes and the rich class on top are made by exploiting government rules, contacts and give-aways — ordinary workers don’t get a look in. Inefficient, and a cesspool of soft corruption.

hat-tip Matthew