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On that jobless “recovery”

This paragraph from a good posting by Victor Davis Hanson, at the National Review’s Corner blog, applies not just to the US, but also to the UK:

“The strangest thing about the current paradox of cash-flush companies and little or no economic growth is the administration’s puzzlement over the lethargy — as if no one outside Washington ever listened to what the administration has said or noticed what they have done the last three years.”

Exactly. I’d also add to VDH’s list of things that have stymied recovery: the still-lingering and damaging impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley law on things such as initial public offerings and the foolish FASB tampering with share option payments that have crimped venture capital startup businesses. (I can, by the way, recommend this book by Dale Halling about why US entrepreneurship is stalling – it controversially argues that a key problem has been the erosion of patent law in the US, an argument that is bound to get some libertarian opponents of IP excited).

VDH’s points apply in Britain, too, such as what he says about demonisation of some businesses, as well as things like bailouts, Green regulations and so on. Of course, a key problem here is the European Union and all the red tape that comes from that.

Regime uncertainty, if I can use that term, is a big problem. We have a tax authority (HMRC), given the power to decide, as it goes along, what constitutes tax “avoidance”, so that avoidance is now seen as wrong, as is tax evasion. This relates to a wider problem of uncertainty. Even the daftest tax laws are more tolerable if they are predictable. The problems get even worse, though, if officials have the ability to retrospectively decide that this or that business practice is wrong and should be shut down. Our tax code remains one of the longest and most complex in the world.

We need far fewer laws, and those that remain should be simple, easy to understand and enforce. Sometimes though, doing things the simple way seems to be so hard.

6 comments to On that jobless “recovery”

  • Brad

    We need far fewer laws, and those that remain should be simple, easy to understand and enforce. Sometimes though, doing things the simple way seems to be so hard.

    Because there are too many people getting too much power and money making things harder. The political game is now a huge industry in and of itself.

  • Paul Marks

    And they (the corrupt proffesional complicators – seeking to make ever more regulations so that the can sell exceptions, and seeking ever more spending so they can buy votes) are the, relative, good guys Brad.

    There are also are others – who seem corrupt on the surface (in that they play the same campaign contributions for loopholes ….. and so on games) but they are really much worse.

    They want to destory the United States – they are doing it on purpose.

    This really is true.

  • newrouter

    libertarian trail blazer: raul castro

    He said those attempting to undermine the reforms could face prosecution.

    The BBC’s Michael Voss in Havana says one of the biggest obstacles Mr Castro now faces is resistance from party bureaucrats who face losing their job under the changes.

    But the president warned lawmakers that “bureaucratic resistance is useless”.

    Mr Castro told parliament that the time had come for social and political reforms to be introduced. “Let’s clean our heads of all sorts of nonsense,” he said.

    The move to relax travel and migration restrictions was welcomed by people in Havana

    The measures the assembly was discussing in its twice-yearly session include cutting more than one million state jobs in a move to reduce Cuba’s vast bureaucracy and reducing the state’s role in areas such as agriculture, retail and construction.


  • Airborne miniature cows anyone?

  • Sunfish

    Those cows belong in the free world!

  • If only they could swim among those non-miniature sharks…