NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Tax Cutters Win Big Victories Abroad

May 22, 2001

In the past several days, voters in Canada and Italy have tossed out leftist politicians and replaced them with candidates pledged to cutting taxes. Some political observers see these victories as evidence that socialism -- a powerful force in the world only 10 years ago -- continues to lose appeal with voters.

  • In British Columbia, voters awarded only three seats out of 79 to the leftist New Democratic Party, giving the other 76 seats to the center-right Liberal Party -- whose leader, Gordon Campbell, said his first order of business will be to cut taxes.
  • Observers say the NDP tried to regulate the timber and mining industries out of existence, clamping price controls on some services, jacking up the minimum wage to Canada's highest, boosting taxes and doubling the province's debt -- with the result that per capita income grew only 0.4 percent in the 1990s, compared to 21 percent in neighboring Alberta.
  • In Italy, voters handed the center-right coalition of Silvio Berlusconi both the upper and lower houses of Parliament -- along with the strongest mandate of any postwar Italian prime minister.
  • He plans to use that mandate to cut taxes, simplify the tax system, shrink the notorious Italian bureaucracy and speed up privatization of state industry.

The once-powerful Italian Communist Party -- which in Soviet days commanded 25 percent of the vote -- has been split in two, with its unreconstructed wing, the Refounded Communists, achieving only 5 percent of the vote.

Source: George Melloan, "The Socialist Left Loses Out in Canada and Italy," Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2001.


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