Sunday, July 09, 2006

We Should Follow the European Example-
Estonia, Anyway

"Liberty is something that, when it's there, you maybe are not noticing it, but you understand absolutely when you don't have it."...

..."Of course it is not a prize for me. It is a prize for my countrymen and country, because the government's task is only to make the conditions. The people are the ones who are doing the miracles." -Mart Laar, former Prime Minister of Estonia, during an interview with Steve Stanek after receiving the 2006 Friedman Prize.

"Mart Laar was barely 32 years old in 1992, when he became prime minister of Estonia, a small nation on the Baltic Sea that had just emerged from decades of Communist oppression as a satellite state of the Soviet Union."

"He inherited leadership of a country with 1,000 percent inflation, 30 percent unemployment, and government-owned businesses that were a shambles. Laar's government removed price controls, cut regulations and welfare programs, sold state-owned businesses, introduced a new currency, and instituted a simple, flat-rate income tax that is being emulated in countries across Central and Eastern Europe. The rate has been lowered several times over the years and is now at 20 percent."

"The result? Inflation in Estonia has dropped below 3 percent, unemployment has plunged below 6 percent, and foreign investment has poured in. Estonia has enjoyed the greatest growth in real per-capita income of any of the former Soviet states. Today the country is a member of NATO, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization."

In this short interview, Laar touches on Communism, freedom & liberty, economics, logic, American politicians, and the flat tax.

1 comment:

Billiam said...

I doubt there'll ever be a change in the tax code. The IRS would fight tooth and nail to save their power. And we know how nasty they can be.