NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Only Thing To Fear Is Bad Government, Itself

July 7, 2000

In their recent book, "U.S. by the Numbers: Figuring What's Left, Right and Wrong With America State by State," co-authors Raymond J. Keating and Thomas Edmonds make the case that the U.S. is experiencing an "entrepreneurial revolution" that dwarfs the Industrial Revolution. But they caution that bad public policy and cultural decay could undermine today's unprecedented progress.

Some facts illustrate the rapidity and scope of that progress:

  • Between 1980 and 1997, the U.S. population grew 18 percent -- but the number of businesses jumped 72 percent.
  • Over the same period, U.S. employment increased by 32.2 million -- while combined employment for Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Great Britain increased by only 16.8 million.
  • Even as employment fell in the U.S. manufacturing sector, manufacturing production continued to growth thanks to increased productivity enhanced by technological innovation.
  • Total trade for the U.S. equaled less than 10 percent of the economy as recently as 1959 -- a figure which reached almost 25 percent by the late 1990s.

The authors argue that in the future businesses will be unforgiving toward cities and states that impose high taxes, burdensome regulations and operate bloated bureaucracies.

As for the U.S. in general, tax rates on personal and corporate income must be cut deeply -- with an eye toward moving to a pro-growth flat tax or retail sales tax system.

Source: Raymond J. Keating, "U.S. by the Numbers," Washington Times, July 7, 2000.


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