NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

U.S. Should Promote Economic Freedom

April 21, 1999

The World Bank reported earlier this month that developing countries' economies will grow only 1.5 percent in 1999 -- the slowest rate in 17 years and well below figures for population growth. This has led some economists to warn that the U.S. is becoming more isolated in its full employment and wealth, a situation which raises major issues for our national security, immigration policy and future growth.

The Clinton administration has left an international economic policy mess for a future president to clean up, they say. What's urgently needed, in the view of many experts, is for American leaders to advocate limited government, stable money, free trade, low tax rates and relatively few taxes, as well as promote constitutions abroad which support the rule of law.

Here are some of the recommendations being heard:

  • The U.S. should aggressively promote unilateral trade liberalization abroad.
  • Policy makers here should promote low tax rates and the elimination of ineffective taxes overseas.
  • Rather than give the International Monetary Fund and its affiliates a central role in global economic management, as this administration has done, the U.S. should end its reliance and dependence on the IMF.
  • The U.S. has a responsibility as the world's leader to promote stable currencies -- rather than force poor people abroad to use bad money.

Finally, there is Japan's problem of a deflationary spiral caused by a shortage of yen and wild swings in the exchange rate. The U.S. should encourage Japan to print enough yen so that prices there stop falling.

Source: David Malpass (Bear Stearns), "A Leadership Vacuum in International Economics," Wall Street Journal, April 21, 1999.


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