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Weekly Update: Hungary’s Economic Miracle


Hungary has economic virtues along with its much-discussed vices


There’s a lot to be concerned about in Hungary, currently on the outs with other members of the EU because of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s praise for “illiberal democracy,” prompting allegations that his government has strong-armed the news media and stacked the courts. These are all legitimate reasons for concern, but unfortunately the political controversy is obscuring what may be Europe’s most remarkable economic success story of the last decade, which could benefit the rest of the continent (and the world) as it struggles to adjust to the wide-ranging impacts of globalization.


The Economic Standard recently sat down with László György, Hungary’s Secretary of State, Ministry for Innovation and Technology, to hear about Hungary’s economic renaissance since the 2008 financial crisis, documented in his new book, “Creating Balance”. György outlined an unorthodox model based on low taxes, deregulation, and support for small and medium-sized business as well foreign investment. At the center are economic policies that put more money in the pockets of ordinary people to stimulate consumption. An idea whose time has come? Decide for yourself.


Featured Opinions


George Landrith, President, Frontiers of Freedom: America’s multiemployer pension system is failing and must be reformed

America’s multiemployer pension system is in crisis. About 125 multiemployer plans will be financially insolvent in as few as two or three years. And over the next two decades, even more plans are on the brink. These failures will impact millions of American workers and their families. Even worse, they will provide big-government statists an opportunity to make another destructive power grab in the form of pork-laden bailouts. Luckily, there’s a small-government solution. More


Philip Todd, George Mason University: Let’s get real about CSR

In 21st century America, it’s practically a national sport: whatever their actual business may be, companies are idolized or demonized for the positions they take on the various social issues. While the we may deem corporations responsible or irresponsible based on how well they fit our own social agenda, let’s not forget the true motivator behind corporate social activism, which is still, as for every other activity a firm engages in: profit. More


Steven Gislam, Editor, Industry Europe: Like it or not, Greta and Extinction Rebellion are here to stay

In September, the movement’s unofficial figurehead, Greta Thunberg, made a fiery speech to the UN to either palpably uncomfortable claps of grudging agreement or seething, outright hostility and personal insults with almost nothing in between. But there surely must be a more nuanced position on all this. More


Jason Peirce, George Mason University: Yes, the government needs to do something about obesity

Dietary preferences that evolved to prevent starvation are now promoting obesity and its related diseases. The market magic that efficiently supplies what we demand fails when our preferences are systematically unwise. Since markets are unlikely to self-correct when it comes to obesity, dietary reform may require government involvement. More


Daniel Griswold, Mercatus Center: Epic Fail: Trump’s trade policy in a nutshell

Americans are about to enter the third full year of President Donald Trump’s aggressive tariff regime, which aims to promote US manufacturing, protect key industries, and prompt other nations to reduce their trade barriers. So, it’s a good time to stop and ask whether tariffs are producing the results desired by the president and other supporters of his trade policies. Spoiler alert: it’s not working. Double spoiler alert: it’s causing lots of economic damage. More


Ann Miller, George Mason University: Don’t Beat Up on the NCAA: Players Are Compensated in Different Ways

Critics argue that athletes should receive fair compensation for millions of dollars they provide to their universities and athletic programs. However, these arguments miss the point. Student athletes are already compensated for their image and likeness, but not in the form of cold hard cash for advertising spots. More



Policy At Work…


By Andy Blom, TES Correspondent


Thanksgiving is over and Washington is back to work. Yay! Does that mean Congress will at long last pass the USMCA (U.S./Mexico/Canada Trade Agreement)? No. Does that mean Congress will balance the budget? Reduce the debt? Pass meaningful legislation? No. Does that mean Congress will continue to waste tons of taxpayer funded time and big gobs of taxpayer money on fruitless impeachment grandstanding? You bet! But never fear… conservative and center-right organizations and individuals continue to work hard on issues and ideas that affect America…and the world.  Read on for this week’s news…


Take That Karl Marx — Introducing “The Capitalist Manifesto”

While some politicians and mindless Millennials foolishly mess with socialism, Ralph Benko and William Collier have authored The Capitalist Manifesto… not merely an answer to Marx and Engels and a defense of capitalism, but a celebration of the system that has done the most good worldwide raising people out of poverty, creating freedom and prosperity defeating hunger… the benefits go on and on. Read about the 10 Commandments of True Capitalism and get the book here:


And Speaking of Overdue — It’s Time to Pass USMCA 

Americans for Tax Reform — and Canada and Mexico, and American businesses and consumers, and pro-trade Democrats — are tired of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding up approval of the U.S./Mexico/Canada Trade Agreement. The NAFTA revamp has languished in Congress for nearly a year, almost solely because Pelosi wants to deny President Trump “a win”. So we all pay. And pay. ATR lays out everything, including the major economic benefits for American wages, GDP, corporations, consumers and jobs, here.


Congress Plans to Help Doctors. Doctors Think it’s Bad Medicine

One of the health care programs actually working in this country is Direct Primary Care. DPC allows doctors, and patients, to step outside the healthcare insurance system, resulting in better care and lower costs. DPC is the very model of a good idea working well. Naturally, Congress wants to fix it, and doctors don’t like the fix. The poison pill is the Primary Care Enhancement Act of 2019 (HR 3708), and over 1500 physicians have signed a petition to stop it. Find out why, and how to help Doctors who care help patients in need here and here.


Fed Chairman to Congress: Strong Economy, Good Labor Market but Important Risks

Rachel Greszler of the Heritage Foundation reports that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s November 13 report to Congress came with plenty of good news and a strong warning. Powell highlighted the low unemployment, income gains, labor force participation and rising household consumption in saying the economy’s “baseline outlook remains favorable”…but warned of an unsustainable high and rising national debt. Is it possible to contain? Heritage has a plan. Read Powell’s comments here.


Tax News We Can Live…and Die With

President Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Job Act included an increase in the amount of money exempted from federal estate and gift taxes. This was especially important to family businesses planning on succession…but! But as usual, Tax rules are confusing and difficult at best. That’s why it’s good news that the Treasury Department has further clarified the rules and compliance of TCJA cuts that doubled the estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer exemption levels.  James Edwards gives a simple explanation here.


Medicaid Eligibility — The Devil is in the Details, and He’s in there Messing Around

Sometimes even the best programs grow problems. Rules get broken, bended or ignored. States take sloppy advantage of federal dollars. And we all pay (some more). The Mercatus Center has taken a look at eligibility rules for Medicaid enrollment under the ACA and identified some problems. Basically, they found the Medicaid financial structure is broken and states are not properly screening for eligibility. See their research summary, and recommendations for fixing the problems here.


Foxconn Subsidies — A Cautionary Tale of Political Favoritism Gone South

It seemed like  a great idea — $3.6 billion in state subsidies for Foxconn to build an LCD manufacturing facility in southeastern Wisconsin. There were President Trump, Governor Scott Walker and Foxconn’s CEO with golden shovels at the groundbreaking. Well, financially speaking, it was a gold plated mistake…one that will cost the state’s taxpayers for years to come. Read through the details and learn why it might be a good idea for state development agencies to take a harder look at the real benefits…and costs…of some of their more adventurous business incentive subsidies here.


Upcoming Events: Everyone’s busy recovering from Thanksgiving and going back to work. But there are still some great events coming up! Don’t forget to RSVP.


  • THE PROBLEM OF NATIONALISM. Panel discussion. Monday, December 9, 2 – 3 PM, The Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium, 214 Massachusetts Ave, NE. RSVP here.


  • The Inaugural Charter Cities Conference. March 17th and 18th, 2020 in Johannesburg. Ever wanted to build your own city? Well, here’s your chance. Participants will learn how to build the foundation for strong, economically vibrant charter cities from experts who are traveling from around the world to discuss projects both planned and in progress. This is your opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an exciting movement to build the future of governance for the cities of tomorrow. More