When Pigs Fly: Business Leaders Agree With Nadir; Shun Paul Hue

In a striking story that will surprise only Paul Hue, the U.S. has fallen from 1st to 6th in economic competitiveness ranking.

The U.S., which held top spot last year, fell behind Switzerland, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, and Singapore. The top four counties all ran budget surpluses and have low levels of debt - something the US has not been able to achieve with the Bush tax cuts, his foreign adventures, and exploding deficits.

The report says, "The U.S. economy suffers from striking weaknesses. There is significant risk to both the country's overall competitiveness and, given the relative size of the U.S., the future of the global economy."

Tax cuts? Foreign adventures? Deficit spending?? Why these are the very policies that caused Paul Hue to vote for and provide continued support for the criminally and economically incompetent Bush administration!!

How could it be that business leaders around the world agree with little old leftist Nadir, who runs a small corporation, but obviously doesn't know economics from an E minor 7th chord, and disagree with right-wing intellectual giant, Paul Hue whose decision to paint his living room pink is seen by many to be the metrosexual investment move of the century??

How could it be that all the economic indicators support Nadir's view and not Paul Hue's?

Surely Adam Smith is turning in his grave, Hell hath frozen over and prized Berkshire sows are piloting F-16s over Iraq this very moment!!


Paul Hue said...

1. This is a poll of how business leaders feel, not a list of facts. But I do agree it means something.

2. TAX CUTS. Bush's tax cuts increased federal tax revenue and increased private business ativity (two ways of saying the same thing, actually). Without those tax cuts, certainly the US would have fallen further on this list due to:
- An even bigger fedl defict.
- Less money in the pockets of Americans to purchase things and invest (not just money in the form of themselves paying less taxes, but them keeping their jobs, gettig jobs or raises, due to robust economic activity).
Thus we must strike from Nadir's celebration any finger-pointing at Bush's tax cuts, which have certainly assisted the US economy in general.

3. BUDGET DEFICIT. We all agree that the US govt spends way too much money, spends it too often on stupid things (Alaskan bridge to nowhere, the Capital "vistors center, too much checking at airports), not often enough on things that would promote prosperity (New Orleans levees, a rail system), and often poorly (we spend enough on Education, but spend it poorly; lots of waste and curruption with the Katrina response and in Iraq). Many people of course believe that the money spent on the Iraq war is a waste, though others (a minority today) believe that it will pay future dividends. My economists want to cut the US federal spending, shift it to more useful activities, and spend it more wisely. The Nadirites will disagree on some aspects of what to cut, where to shift, and how to improve efficiency. However, the Nadirites and the Paulhueians should be able to agree on many things. I and the other right wing fanatics fault Bush with spending too much, spending on stupid things, and govt inefficiency.

4. TRADE DEFICIT As my heros at Cafe Heyak lament, many business leaders have an incorrect interpretation of some economic data, in particular the trade deficit. A trade deficit ony occurs when domestic consumers have money to purchase things. Who is correct here? Future economic figures will tell. As the article states, correctly I believe, even false beliefs have some validity when they direct behavior. If business leaders incorrectly believe that a nation's trade deficit creates a bad business climate, they will select nations with a lower trade deficit. Do Switzerland, Finland, and Sweden have per capita less of a trade deficit than the US? I don't know.

I am eager for the critiques of this report by the economisits whom I respect, such as Tommy Sowell, Larry Kudlow, and the Heyakers.

Paul Hue said...

I notice that three of the four nations that beat the US are tiny.

Also, all four are homogenious; they do not struggle with massive immigration of poor people, and do not suffer from large fractions of their population fiddling around unproductively.

I am confident that all four also have education systems that focus on academics and comprise students who are much more typically engaged productively than in the US. Bush economic policies can't improve the conduct of US school employees or students, both of whom are failing. This also figures into this poll.

Paul Hue said...

None of us freemarketeers ever claimed that the US economy was perfect, or even that it was the best in the world... only better at this point than nearly any alternative. And what are those better alternatives, according to this survey of business leaders, which last year found none? Today they find four tiny countries, none with populations that exceed that of New York City: Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, and Singapore. Doesn't seem like much competition...

...yet learning about these countries provides much insight into improving the US ecnomic fortune, but no torpedos into my own Free Market, Free People views, despite Nadir's headline.

According to economist.com,

All four are DEMOCRACIES; and all four practice free market economics. Where are the non-democracies on this list? The nations larger than 100 million? China is the only non- democracy, but only via capitalistic reforms has it developed a robust economy and reduced poverty. India is a big democracy, and it transformed itself into a prosperous, poverty-reducing nation also only after abandoning Nadir-endorsed market controls. And the US rates on this poll higher than either of those places.

Of the four rated above the US, three have lower and simpler taxes than the US, two have reduced their tax rates recently, and two have federal deficits. Only Sweden has higher tax rates, and a tax system noted for complexity, though even Sweden's is simpler than the US's. Perhaps this "proves" that a tiny high-tax state can attract more business endorsements than a few tiny low-tax states and one huge moderate-tax state.

Finland and Singapore' s recent tax rate cuts, according to the Econimist, helped reduce unemployment in those nations, and did not decrease federal income. Sweden also suffers from much higher unemployment than the US, and none of these countries has an average 5-year GNP that exceeds that of the US (one ties, the other three lag the US).

Two of these four have private healthcare (Singapore, Switzerland) and two have socialized healthcare (Finland, Sweden). All four have well-regarded healthcare systems.

These four nations also have better school systems, where are not hostage to uneducated "teachers" with flimflam degrees who constantly lower the academic standards, their student populations are charactorized by students committed to serious academic matters (including behaving themselves), and the school systems all rely on testing even more than the US. Bush's policies can hardly affect most of these problems, but his "no child left behind" policy does move the US towards more standardized national testing, in line with these four "better" economies.