Since I’m an out-of-the-closet libertarian, it goes without saying that I’m not favorably disposed to government intervention. As far as I’m concerned, Washington’s an inherently corrupt town filled with people seeking unearned wealth.
But even if I didn’t have any underlying philosophical or moral principles, I think I would still favor small government.
Why? Because just about everything government does turns into a bloody cluster-you-know-what, so there’s also a utilitarian case for libertarianism.
I discuss the reverse Midas touch of government with John Stossel.
The theme of Stossel’s show, by the way, was looking at how good intentions lead to bad results. I actually think that’s too optimistic.
Most government intervention is driven by sordid insider scheming, not good intentions. The politicians merely pretend they have noble-sounding goals when peddling their manure to the public.
But regardless of the goals, the result is still the same.
Other points from the interview:
- Green energy programs led to Solyndra-style scandals.
- Pro-housing policies led to a destructive bubble.
- Special tax preferences led to a monstrous tax code.
- Welfare programs trap people in poverty.
I suppose a more interesting program would be to identify things that the government does intelligently and effectively.
P.S. According to Greek mythology, anything Midas touched turned into gold. But since the fable also says that this blessing turned into a curse, perhaps this post should have been titled the “The Midas Touch of Government” rather than “The Reverse Midas Touch of Government.” But since I’m already trying to restore the good name of Robin Hood, I’m going to leave it to others to decide how to characterize Midas.