Warwick Lightfoot, author of Sorry We Have No Money, explains the background to his forthcoming book on the US economy.
''Traditionally America has seen itself and been seen as ‘exceptional’ in many ways including in its attachment to free enterprise. In this caricature America was able to produce great wealth through rugged individualism and unbridled capitalism, with little in the way of a welfare state or social safety net. America did not have many of the structural problems of other advanced OECD economies caused by expensive public spending on social welfare. Although it may exhibit economic inequality its markets were not held back by excessive regulation or a historically heavy burden of public expenditure. This difference between America and other economies was most vividly exhibited in the flexibility of its labour market compared to that of Europe. The United States over the last thirty years appeared to have fewer structural rigidities and created more jobs and lower rates of unemployment over the economic cycle than other comparable western European economies.
This picture of rugged individualism and unbridled markets has always been something of a caricature...
This book looks at the big Federal Government programmes, the role of state and local authorities. It shows how America not only has a large public sector but one that exhibits the costs and awkward issues of efficiency that affect other countries. It has at federal and state government levels a tax collection regime that fails to mitigate some of the deadweight costs of taxation by use of properly constructed expenditure taxes. It explores the historical, political and institutional context that has shaped the modern American public sector and the economic challenges it now faces.''
Table of Contents
The Progressive Tradition
The Legacy of the Great Depression
Political Process of Crony capitalism
Condition of the Federal Government’s Public Finances
Federal State and Local Government Spending
Structure of Federal Budget
Fiscal Crisis in State Government
Public Sector Employment in the US
Health Care and the Medical-Industrial Complex
President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act 2010
Affording American Higher Education
Are American Labour Markets becoming more like those in Europe?
America’s Complex Web of Taxes and Transfer Payments
Widening distribution of income in America: wider wage dispersion, weak growth in household income and the impact of technology and trade
The Agency Problem in the age of Crony Capitalism: the Top 1 per cent, Corporate Governance and Where are the Customers Yachts?
What Role Does Fiscal Stimulus have and how effective was President Obama’s Stimulus?