segunda-feira, 18 de julho de 2011

Sharper Axes, Lower Taxes

Alguns excertos do sumário do conjunto de ensaios Sharper Axes, Lower Taxes: Big Steps to a Smaller State, do Institute of Economic Affairs (observações sobre a realidade britânica, mas facilmente extensíveis a todo o Ocidente):
  • Government spending is over 50 per cent of national income. Spending grew steadily in the twentieth century and then experienced very rapid growth from the beginning of the 21st century.
  • Much government spending discourages economic activity and prevents innovation and competition in crucial sectors such as health and education. Furthermore, government intervention is incoherent. For example, government spending and implicit subsidies strongly encourage certain carbon-intensive activities; other forms of government spending are then used to try to reduce carbon-intensive energy generation.(...)
  • A complete review of government functions could, as a first step, lead to cuts in underlying government spending of £242 billion in addition to the government’s proposed cuts. Using the government’s definitions of government spending and national income this would amount to a cut of £215 billion to around 29 per cent of national income.(...)
  • The current welfare system discriminates strongly against work, family formation and saving. Welfare should be completely reformed to provide income supplements through a negative income tax with household tax allowances. Furthermore, welfare claimants without jobs and who are of working age should be required to undertake work as a condition of receiving benefits. Reforming welfare and related changes to pensions would save £46.5 billion a year.
  • The National Health Service should be replaced by health savings accounts with insurance for catastrophic risks. Experience from other countries suggests that this can lead to better outcomes, lower costs and much stronger incentives for health promotion. This reform would save £44 billion a year. More radical reform of education to save over £15 billion is required: reforms should include parents making some contribution to the cost of their children’s education.
  • Policy in areas such as defence and foreign aid should be strategically reviewed. Foreign aid should be cut entirely except for emergency aid: the evidence suggests that growth in poor countries will come about only as a result of the adoption of market economies and through private investment. Aid probably hinderss growth in the poorest countries. Reforms to defence and foreign aid should lead to spending reductions of £29 billion a year.
  • Much government-owned infrastructure can be privatised; marketbased solutions to transport urgently need to be adopted with a consequent elimination of government subsidies; and climate change policy is currently incoherent. Huge savings in government spending are possible in the field of climate change policy even if the government wishes to retain incentives to reduce carbon emissions. Over £80 billion a year could be available for tax decreases from the proposals made in these areas.

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