They must be holier than we.
The Brussels Journal calls the tax revolution that began in Estonia “walking on water,” but it’s really just doing what your Grandma told you as she thwacked your noggin: “use your common sense, child.”
Here’s what happened: The Estonian Prime Minister in 1992 (who governed for three years and then came back in 1999 until 2002) was Mart Laar. Mr. Laar was not a poliltician. His area of study was Europe’s 19th century national movements. Not being an economist, and figuring he’d better learn something quick, he sat down and read Free to Choose by Milton Friedman. Seeing all these ideas about the benefits of privitization, the abolition of tariffs, the economic advantages of a flat tax was a real eye-opener for Mr. Laar. He also thought that these were reforms already in place in the West.
| It seemed common sense to me and, as I thought it had already been done everywhere, I simply introduced it in Estonia, despite warnings from Estonian economists that it could not be done. They said it was as impossible as walking on water. We did it: we just walked on the water because we did not know that it was impossible.”|
So how do things look now? We should be so lucky:
| Today, inflation is 2.5%, economic growth is between 6 and 7%, unemployment is low, the government budget is balanced and there is a high level of investment. Moreover, Estonia is leading the world in the field of e-government.|
Meanwhile, Mart Laar has returned to writing history, this time about the anti-communist partisan fighters in the forests of Estonia. “They saved the soul of my country.” That may well be true, but Mr. Laar saved its bacon. And all it took was common sense.
Okay, everybody — out of the boat, start walking.