The problem with socialists, according to Margaret Thatcher, is that “they always run out of other people’s money.”
My colleagues Kevin Hassett, Andrew Biggs, and Matt Jensen studied 21 developed countries that have attempted fiscal consolidation over the last 37 years. Some succeeded and returned to economic health; -others failed.
On average, failed attempts to close budget gaps relied 53 percent on tax increases and 47 percent on spending cuts. Successful consolidations averaged 85 percent spending cuts and 15 percent tax increases. Some of the most successful financial comebacks—like Finland’s in the late 1990s—involved more than 100 percent spending cuts, so that taxes could be lowered. The spending cuts by the successful countries centered on entitlements and government personnel.