From the Editor

By Barry, Tony | Review - Institute of Public Affairs, January 2011 | Go to article overview

From the Editor


Barry, Tony, Review - Institute of Public Affairs


What a difference a year makes.

A year ago, it looked like the era of market economics and limited government was drawing to a close in the English-speaking world.

In the preceding year, President George W Bush pushed through the $350 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) as a final gesture before giving way to Barack Obama's unapologetic statism and massive stimulus packages. In Great Britain the government was nationalising its financial system which had the effect of turning phrases like ?quantitative easing' into user-friendly colloquialisms. Meanwhile, in Australia, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was in full flight with his interventions in various industries including telecommunications, banking and automotive. And that's not to mention the multi-billion dollar so-called stimulus packages for home insulation and school halls.

The school halls program, also known as the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program, was administered by the then Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Within months of taking over the leadership from the hapless Kevin Rudd, Gillard demonstrated nothing had really changed by announcing a ?cash for clunkers' scheme and reviving a carbon tax as an issue.

Even the most optimistic of free market enthusiasts would not have expected how quickly these policies would be discredited.

By the end of 2010, President Barack Obama had received a historic electoral rebuke in the mid-terms on the back of a ?small government' rebellion in the United States. And although the coalition of groupings under the Tea Party movement is somewhat fragmented, their predominantly smaller government agenda is the key organising principle that unites them as an electoral force to be reckoned with. President Obama's job satisfaction numbers continue to free-fall and political commentators are now seriously discussing the possibility of him being a one-term president.

Across the Atlantic, the new British Coalition government has demonstrated a surprising degree of strength in tackling the budget and cutting government spending. …

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