A Credible Strategy to Reduce Government Spending Growth and Increase Economic Growth

  • In tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal, Gary Becker, George Shultz and I present the economic case for a credible strategy to reduce the growth of federal government spending, bring the deficit down, and increase economic growth. We emphasize the words credible and strategy.
  • The essential first step in the strategy is substantial progress in reducing discretionary spending in 2011. This will help establish credibility and show that government can actually take needed actions, not just promise to take them. Think game-changer.
  • The second part of the strategy is a transparent longer term plan to get total spending (including entitlements) as a share of GDP down gradually to a level consistent with tax revenues generated by the current tax system. Credibility will be enhanced by showing that the needed spending share is close to shares seen in not-so-distant American history and that it is achieved gradually.
  • It’s important for the government to explain to the American people why such a strategy will help increase economic growth and reduce unemployment. This task is made easier by the fact that it is consistent with basic economics in which expectations and incentives figure prominently.
  • The two parts of such a strategy may be emerging from Washington this week in (1) some form of HR1 for 2011 and (2) the 2012 Budget Resolution to be put forth on Tuesday. Stay tuned.
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