by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
DRAMATIC ELECTION upheavals are transforming the U.S. and the U.K. and are likely to sweep through Continental Europe in 2017 and Mexico in 2018. The results will vary from good to bad, because there are big differences among the systems of government, the leaders and their ability to change course.
Adding to the risk is the fact that political change is coming at a time of financial weakness for many governments. Private sectors have held back on investment and new business formation because of bad macro policies. As a result, productivity is weak, and prospects for growth in small businesses and tax receipts have been severely diminished. Rather than change, governments have tended to borrow and spend without much to show for it other than very high national debt.
The U.K. is a parliamentary system in which the majority party can make fast changes. The Conservatives kept their majority in Parliament, but their new leaders will focus on immigration and exiting from the EU, while following through with most of the planned corporate tax cut that’s critical to growth.
The U.S. is going through a bigger political change. The people instructed the government to conduct a sweeping upheaval of the status quo, the topic of many of these columns. The urgency of change was clear in the election results. Mr. Trump identified deep grievances against the party in power for poor results in terms of prosperity, the inner cities, security and freedom and also nailed big government for the rigged system. It permeates the U.S. with special interests and cronyism, especially in the blue states and in Washington. …
… The goals of the new U.S. government are clear: to ensure peace through strength; enforce the laws; secure the borders; rebuild the inner cities through jobs and education; lower tax rates to encourage investment, productivity and higher wages; improve infrastructure; seek 4% growth and 25 million new jobs; make the dollar trustworthy; slow the growth in national debt through better spending and tax decisions; create better trade relationships that benefit American workers; provide school choice; reform the waste and failures of the education system; stop global government; improve care for veterans; reverse the ObamaCare mistake and set a useful course for medical insurance.
Each goal is achievable but complicated, especially since voters also demanded an upending of the current system in a way that creates better outcomes for many decades.