Cut Spending? If Only It Were That Simple

Good advice from the Adam Smith Institute in the UK:

Milton Friedman used to say that cutting taxes would force governments to cut spending to make ends meet. The last ten years has basically proved him wrong. Why cut spending when you can spend more, tax less and let the next lot pay the bill?

The old ‘tax cuts first’ strategy is dead. For a smaller state, we need to cut spending as we cut taxes, and avoid government borrowing as much as possible.

But it’s not quite that simple. The problem is that there aren’t many places you can cut without also changing quite a few other things as well. “Cut spending” sounds good, but, without much more fundamental reforms, almost any big spending cut would leave a lot of people high and dry.

The five biggest areas of government spending are health, welfare, pensions, education, and defence. To really shrink state spending, we need to cut all of these things. But without a complete overhaul of policy in general, no real cuts can be made.

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