When It’s Better To Have No Government

“Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.” -Henry Louis Mencken

Quarterly GDP came out last week and it was pretty depressing. The UK grew at 0.2%, the US at 0.3%, Germany at 0.1%, and France at a whopping 0%. There was one bright spot. Belgium grew at 0.7%. Belgium is doing something right.

Constitution Not the Belgian government, though, since Belgium has no functioning government. In March, they overtook Iraq’s record for the country with the longest time without an official government. The political parties have been deadlocked and unable to create a coalition government since June 2010.

No government means no austerity packages, no tax cuts, no cuts to unemployment or Medicare or Medicaid or Social Security, no blocks against transportation funding bills. Just the government churning along, doing exactly what it was doing for the last year and a half.

John Lancaster pithily points out:

“Governments can’t all simultaneously cut spending while also continuing to grow their economies: it just defies common sense to think they can.”

The US, UK, Germany, et al. have taken the same approach to this crisis that governments in Latin America and Asia have taken when they experienced financial disorder. The results? Ten or so years of slow growth before the economy recovers.

I hear Brussels is nice.

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