Sunday, June 26, 2016

The elusive upside of Brexit

By James Pethokoukis of AEI.
"One reason, some free-marketeers have argued, that Britain needed to vote to leave the EU was to escape big government Brussels. If Brexit, then no longer would Britain be “a serf-nation under the European yoke, [it] gains control of its economy and sweeps away the burdens of regulation and tax.”

But then I bounced over to the Index of Economic Freedom to see what it had to say about the UK. Not only did it rank #10, just ahead of the US, but also there’s this glowing report:
Economic freedom has been on an upward path in the United Kingdom over the past five years. … Disciplined fiscal adjustments have helped to restore economic dynamism, steadily reducing the budget deficit. The corporate tax has been cut from 28 percent to 20 percent. … With an effectively institutionalized legal system that enforces the rule of law and guarantees security of contracts, the U.K. is able to benefit fully from open-market policies and a relatively efficient regulatory environment. The labor market is well developed and vibrant. …
Since 2010, the U.K. has experienced the strongest growth in the G20 thanks to the performance of its three main economic sectors: services, manufacturing, and construction. Unemployment is at a six-year low, and retail sales are robust. … Corruption is not a major problem, although a few high-profile scandals have damaged political reputations in both major parties. The 2011 Bribery Act is considered one of the world’s most sweeping anti-bribery laws. The rule of law is well established within an independent legal framework. Private property rights and contracts are very secure, and the court system is efficient. Protection of intellectual property rights is effective. … The efficient and transparent regulatory framework encourages entrepreneurship. With no minimum capital required, it takes less than a week to establish a business. The labor market is relatively flexible. … EU members have a 1 percent average tariff rate. Trade agreements are currently being negotiated with countries that include the United States and Japan. The United Kingdom generally treats foreign and domestic investors equally under the law. The overall stability of the financial system has been restored. The banking sector is highly competitive and offers a wide range of financial services.
I see. So, not Hong Kong on the Thames, but also not so bad. The Leave campaign also promised — perhaps now revoked — to spent the money now sent to Brussels on the National Health Service. Hmm."

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