Mankiw's Wish List
By Arnold Kling
Speaking of miraculous political conversions, here is Greg Mankiw’s wish list.
Just repeat after me:
• #1: This year I will be straight about the budget mess. I know that the federal budget is on an unsustainable path. I know that when the baby-boom generation retires and becomes eligible for Social Security and Medicare, all hell is going to break loose. I know that the choices aren’t pretty — either large cuts in promised benefits or taxes vastly higher than anything ever experienced in U.S. history. I am going to admit these facts to the American people, and I am going to say which choice I favor.
…• #7: This year I will be modest about what government can do. I know that economic prosperity comes not from government programs but from entrepreneurial inspiration. Adam Smith was right when he said, “Little else is required to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice.” As a government official, I am not going to promise more than I can deliver. I am going to focus my attention on these three goals — peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice — and I am going to trust the creativity of the American people to do the rest.