Margaret Thatcher From Afar

Margaret Thatcher preceded Ronald Reagan in heralding a rightward shifts in politics, becoming Prime Minister in 1979. To me as an American, three factors combined to make Margaret Thatcher look good from a distance: ignorance of the substance of criticisms of her, a reflexive respect for all things British, and the fact the she had broken a glass ceiling that remains unbroken in the US.

Margaret Thatcher’s presence across the Atlantic seemed to give more heft to what Ronald Reagan represented. That was true especially when I disagreed with Ronald Reagan, as I did because I was upset with the addition he made to the U.S. national debt. Margaret Thatcher avoided debt–in the process providing evidence to us today that the effects of austerity depend critically on whether monetary policy is hobbled by the zero lower bound or not.  (See what David Beckworth has to say about UK fiscal policy during the Thatcher administration in this tweet, and what I have to say about austerity now in my column “Why austerity budgets won’t save your economy.”)

In honor of Maggie, I am collecting here links about the subset of policies I have advocated that I think she would approve of:

  1. A Constitutional Amendment to Limit Government Spending to Less than Half of GDP
  2. Year-Round Schooling
  3. Free Trade
  4. Charter Cities
  5. The Free Market
  6. The Reintroduction of the Deutsche Mark
  7. A Dramatic Reduction in Occupational Licensing
  8. The End of Income Taxes and Capital Taxes, Replaced by Consumption Taxes (also here
  9. Reorienting Unions and Workplace Law toward Improving the Workplace Experience and away from Politics and from Artificially Pushing Up Wages and Benefits

(You can see other propoals Maggie might not have approved of in my posts “The Overton Window” and “Within the Overton Window.”)