Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to Run a Country: Australia

We need government, and we need it to work.  Australia provides an example of how to do it

Tea partiers have been cast as government-hating anarchists.  Wrong!  We realize we need government, and we know that it takes tax money to run that government.  We also know that we're not getting a good return on the dollars we send to DC and to our state capitals.

How I learned about Australia

Magpie is a pleasant liberal blogger from down under. We had some civil back in forth at another blog over what's going on in America.  As I was boisterously railing against too much government interference, Magpie responded by saying Australia has health care for all and that it is far from a socialist country. Hmmm... I thought. And then I googled. 

His example of Australia was an excellent one!

Australia is the gold standard of how a country should operate. It is ranked #3 in the world in The Heritage Foundation's Index of economic Freedom. (Heritage Foundation - Index of Economic Freedom)  Only Singapore and Hong Kong are higher (but who wants to live where you can get sick breathing the air or get caned for chewing gum in public?).

Australia has a relatively small and efficient government, low corruption, and light but effectively enforced regulations on the economy and banking. It is an excellent business climate, and that translates into Joe Biden's favorite three-letter word:  J-O-B-S.

We here in the States are being crushed by bloated, wasteful governments (federal, state, local) that bring us expanding debt, diminishing freedoms, unguarded borders and poisoned eggs . They incentivize banks to loan money to people who cannot pay it back, so we transfer billions to fannie and freddie. They encourage reckless consumer spending, and we have laws in place that guarantee Wall Street that the taxpayer will bail them out (to the tune of trillions) when they shoot craps at the casino.

I wish to God we were like Australia! They pay much higher taxes than we do, but their government provides a great return on taxpayer money and doesn't stifle freedom in the process.

 It is a myth that free markets mean no rules

It is a myth that big biz doesn't like regulation; they help shape it to benefit themselves and to keep competition down. This is government-sponsored perversion of the rule of law.

The Heritage does a nice job evaluating countries based on a balanced list of criteria:

"Studies in this and previous editions of the Index of Economic Freedom demonstrate important relationships between economic freedom and positive social and economic values such as per capita income, economic growth rates, human development, democracy, the elimination of poverty, and environmental protection."
If a nation is denuded of natural resources with the rich trodding on everyone else, it is not going to score high.

Here is its benchmark on Business Freedom:
"Business freedom is a quantitative measure of the ability to start, operate, and close a business that represents the overall burden of regulation as well as the efficiency of government in the reg-ulatory process."
Australia beats us in all these categories, so it's no mere coincidence that they enjoy lower unemployment than we do. 

Australia is a country that both liberals and conservatives happily brag about.


Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

All true but check out their gun laws, quite repressive. I am sure you know why we have a right to bear arms.

I love Australia but those laws have to change.

Silverfiddle said...

True Christopher. No nation is perfect. I was just surprised to find this Heritage ranking of economic freedom. It's quite a resource.

I also think it's important to look around for successes and see if there is anything there we could do to improve our situation.

Obviously, our politicians are out of ideas (besides Paul Ryan and a few others).

I find it intriguing that lib and conservative Australians find things to be proud of about their country, and their unemployment is lower.

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

The Heritage Foundation is an excellent resource period on all things American/Freedom.

It is amazing that the left in all coutries except ours, the very leader in the concept of freedom, find themselves proud of their respective nations.

What Makes Us Right said...

Does Australia feel the need to support and protect the rest of the world.

Leticia said...

Australia has some things that need to be changed, but what country doesn't?

However, it seems what they are doing is working for the good of all the people not just the privileged few. Every one is expected to pull their own weight. Spot-on!

Lisa said...

The word here is "compromise" which we see more from the right than the left.
They want a big nanny welfare state with massive regulations and they will hear of nothing else.
They only like "choice" for one thing.

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