EstoniaCommentary by Pete du Pont
December 31, 1996
Host intro: Who says small government doesn't work? Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis reports on a former Soviet satellite that in just five years has taken to the free market with a vengeance.
I'll save you a trip to the atlas: Estonia's on the Baltic sea in far northern Europe. It suffered 45 years of Communist oppression.
Now, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, Estonia's out-Thatchering Margaret Thatcher, the patron saint of downsizing and privatizing overstuffed government. Estonia's socialist euro-neighbors could learn a few things. So could we.
Estonia isn't just talking about world economy and small government.
It's privatizing anything with a balance sheet: the state airline, the ports and railways, the power companies, even the phone company. And it's selling them to foreigners.
It has a flat tax. It has a currency board that literally stops the government from printing too much money.
It has no import-export duties, little red tape and low payroll taxes. Investors flock there, notably ones leaving Sweden and Finland, with their high taxes and (are you listening Washington?) thick stacks of regulations.
Soon, 90 percent of the economy will be in the private sector. If we're serious about a model for 21st century, we should get out the atlas and find Estonia. Or better yet, just follow the trail of companies moving there.
Those are my ideas. And at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world....just look at Estonia. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Host outro: Tomorrow, Pete du Pont has some unkind words for activists who want to make cars smaller and less safe.