What Does the Future Hold and What are the Alternatives
The Link between the Weight of the State and Economic prosperity
Think Tanks summit conference (Vienna, 7–9 June)
“Liberals get together once a year to join forces, bureaucrats do that all the time.”
Liberals are in a difficult position, since their demands are always of a negative kind: less state, less taxation, less spending. Liberals would have to move from defence to offence, challenging the current leftist policies, or “otherwise, we will stay an eternal goalkeeper.”
The crisis is abused, as an argument for more regulation and taxation: tax revenues are on an all-time high, amounting to 704 Billion Euros in Germany. Since Francois Hollande announced a wealth tax in France, 70 Billion Euros have left the country, tax increases will not lead Europe into the right direction. For the future, it has be the objective to first relieve tax pressure and then fight for fundamental reform like a flat-tax-system.
Switzerland has introduced a constitutional debt break, being voted for by 86% of the voters. Switzerland shows the extremely good figures in all fields, particularly in comparison with European countries. Bessard asked not to “count on the tiny Switzerlands and Singapores to save you”, but to “let them inspire the debate” in Europe.
Israel has had several severe crises in the past, leading to social protest in 2011, in which one can observe two very different notions; one demanding a “social budget”, one stating that “the people are sick of taxes”. The election results of 2013 showed an overall success for the center-right party. Since then, spending has been cut, trade barriers have been removed and a fourth, private seaport has been developed, all over union protests. As reasons for the public approval, Klein mentioned Greece and Cyprus as deterring examples. His advice for Europe was to first reduce the deficit and then work expenditures, taxes and debt down.