I attended a luncheon on jobs and the Transatlantic Relationship on Tuesday (which was sponsored by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, the Representative of German Industry and Trade, and the Congressional Study Group on Germany.) Rainer Brüderle, the German Minister of Economics and Technology, gave his perspective on the steps his government has taken to get their economy back on track – which, compared to the ongoing mess in the United States, is going pretty well.
Brüderle acknowledged that sustained recovery depends on the private sector – which is why Germany has promised to cut taxes by €24 billion in order to lighten the burden on businesses and individuals. Such tax cuts are to be coupled with a balanced budget (if only more American politicians advocated one!) to spend the few dollars collected wisely. He noted that his government did have a small stimulus package to buy up some of the private sector’s excess supply (which I disagree with) – but that doing so was temporary. Brüderle cautioned that continued bailouts (*Cough! Congress! Cough!*) would only weaken the economy in the long-run, and held up “cash for clunkers,” (which actually originated in Germany) as a bad program that channeled money to a less useful purpose than it otherwise would have gone to.
Brüderle’s remarks were followed by Rep. Russ Carnhan (D-MO), who defended “government investment in the new economy” … also known as special favors for clean energy companies, biofuels such as algae (insert pond scum political joke here) and high-speed rail. Carnahan also decried a “race to the bottom in trade standards,” calling for new global regulations to “level the playing field.”
With the economy still faltering, and businesses paralyzed by uncertainty, Carnahan’s proposals are both dangerous and remarkably out of touch with proven economic doctrine. Burdening the economy with more regulations and digging the nation into a deeper hole while Congress picks winners and losers with our children’s money is the height of irresponsibility. For the sake of our nation’s economy, U.S. politicians would be well-served to heed the advice of Mr. Brüderle – and ignore the folly of Rep. Carnahan.