Get the latest news, research, commentary and analysis on what is impacting your quality of life. From top scholars to regular citizens, this blog’s contributors make the latest in empirical research on economic freedom accessible and easy to understand, issue by issue.

2013 New Year’s Resolutions for the U.S. Government

2013 New Year's ResolutionsFrom:

Sent: January 1, 2013

To: U.S. Federal Government

Subject: New Year’s Resolutions Suggestions


Hi Uncle Sam,

This hasn’t been your best year, I’m sure you’ll agree. But fortunately, now is a great time to make some New Year’s resolutions and begin to turn things around.

To make it even easier, went ahead and started a resolutions list for you. Of course, these are just the first steps in your journey toward restoring economic freedom in the U.S. Still, it’s a start, and the more you practice the better you’ll get.

1.  Lose WeightCut Down on the Spending

With $16 trillion in debt and counting, you’re spending yourself—and our economy—to death. Rather than taking more and more of our resources, increasing the size of the public sector, and crowding out private investment, why not let citizens and businesses spend and invest their own money as they see fit? They do a better job at it. Besides, you’re not just hurting this generation: When you overspend, you’re placing a financial burden on the generations to come.

2. Get OrganizedTax Reform

Your tax system is a mess. In 2011, America’s taxpayers and businesses claimed $1.3 trillion worth of tax credits, deductions, exclusions, and exemptions. That adds up to a lot of hours filling out tax forms instead of spending time with family, learning new skills, or building businesses—an estimated 6.1 billion hours in 2012 alone. Those hours are the equivalent of 3 million full-time jobs. It’s time to get it together: Eliminate loopholes, lower taxes, and free the U.S. from tax chaos.

3.  Cut Down on ClutterDecrease Unnecessary Regulations

There’s just too much red-tape and bureaucracy tying up U.S. businesses in regulatory knots—whether it’s permits, licenses, safety codes, fees, or administrative costs. More than 3,500 new rules were added to the Federal Register in 2012 alone. The cost in time and money of complying with such regulations can force businesses to lower their wages or even lay off employees. Small businesses find it hard to expand when faced with regulatory expenses of approximately $10,000 per employee. For a fresh start, let’s clean out some of the burdensome clutter and let businesses focus on making better products and better serving their customers.

4.  Learn Something NewA Budget

I know you’ve struggled with budgeting for a long time, but it’s a great habit to develop in order to manage your resources responsibly. The last time you adopted a budget resolution was on April 29, 2009, and since then you’ve overspent by $3.6 trillion. As a result, your credit score’s not doing so well. Merely having a budget won’t completely fix your spending problem, but it’s at least a step in the right direction.

5.  Make Some New FriendsIncrease Freedom to Trade

When you impose tariffs on trading partners, you limit consumer choice in the U.S. by driving up the prices of imported goods. We realize you’re just trying to protect domestic businesses, but it’s usually only specific industries and their allies that benefit. Everybody else suffers from such protectionism: Not only do tariffs force Americans to pay higher prices for goods and services—they also cause domestic businesses to stagnate from lack of competition.

So go ahead, give these resolutions a try. The new year is here, and with it an opportunity to create a new you.

Good luck! And remember that will be here to support you in making the right decisions in 2013.