Thursday, February 21, 2008

Government Regulation Gone Amuck: An Overview

Economics professor and author Arnold Kling is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and he writes also for Tech Central Station and for his and a partner's website, EconLog.

He has recently written an article published by the Wall Street Journal on the future of government regulation in America.

He states that public understanding of the limitations of government is poor, as evidenced in the popularity of big-government ideas like nationalized health care and government control of energy production and use.

I like his piece for its clarity and good examples, and also because it sums up the conclusion I was headed toward, i.e. that excessive government regulation will always tend to run amuck, by definition. It destroys competition, pulverizes the pricing mechanism, and pushes a society towards anti-free-market socialism at its own expense, which expense big-government enthusiasts ("progressive" voters and legislators) underestimate (naively or purposely).

He finishes with this:

"Many Americans will welcome the regulatory state. Many others will accommodate it. Only a minority of us will oppose it. Somewhere down the road, as people see the indignity of the many intrusions and the adversity of the consequences, I hope that there will be a backlash. Otherwise, if the era of mandates emerges as I fear it will, then the engine of capitalism in America may run out of the fuel of competition."

I second that. Hear, hear.

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