Monday, 14 September 2009

It's worse than I thought

The last word anyone would use to describe Tyler Cowen is shrill. He's often the first to dampen libertarian worries about some new egregious piece of legislation, showing that it probably won't have large effects; he's also often the first to bring in political second best arguments about overall social stability as counterarguments against free-marketers' preferred policy moves.

And so when I read him saying this, I get nervous
FOR years now, many businesses and individuals in the United States have been relying on the power of government, rather than competition in the marketplace, to increase their wealth. This is politicization of the economy. It made the financial crisis much worse, and the trend is accelerating.
Even worse, these political deals threaten open discourse. The dealmaking may be inhibiting some people in health care from speaking out in opposition to the administration’s proposals. Robert Reich, who served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, deserves credit for complaining about this arrangement, but not enough people are asking where such dealmaking might stop.

The banking sector has been facing similar constraints; if bankers criticize the Treasury or the Fed, they risk losing their gilded cages and could get a bad deal when the next bailout comes. When major economic sectors can be influenced in this way, are we really very far from the nightmare depicted by Ayn Rand in “Atlas Shrugged”?
It's later than I'd thought....

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