More on liberaltarianism

Ok, apparently a lot people think this is a good article, so I’m going to rebut each point:

1. In the US, they believed the prices of goods and services should be set by the government. Ditto for wages. This took the form of the NIRA in the 1930s. It took the form of multiple industry regulatory agencies like the ICC and CAB. By the late 1960s and early 1970s they favored “incomes policies” which were essentially across the board wage and price controls. Today they generally favor letting the market set wages and prices. Very liberal Massachusetts recently abolished all rent controls.

The US government, for all intents and purposes, now runs the financial industry. Virtually every financial company that isn’t already quasi-nationalized may be quasi-nationalized at any moment. Honestly, is this really better than fixing gas prices from a libertarian standpoint?

Basically everyone now works for the government. If the government employees such a huge percentage of the population, it no longer needs to fix wages explicitly – it does so implicitly.

Finally, rent control has been abolished because it failed, not because of some liberal coming-to-Jesus moment.

2. In the US, they believed the government should control entry to new industries. They have abandoned that belief in many industries, and based on recent posts by people like Matt Yglesias, are becoming increasingly disillusioned with remaining occupational restrictions.

I’m willing to bet that the number of jobs requiring qualifications has increases substantially since the 1930s or the 1960s. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m not persuaded unless I see some aggregate numbers.

The government has also outlawed entire industries during this time – it’s not clear how this should effect any aggregate assessment.

3. They favored 90% tax rates on the rich. Today they favor rates closer to 50% on the rich.

Now we’re talking. This is the meat of liberaltarianism. If liberaltarianism succeeds, this will be a typical "success." The liberaltarians don’t want to take 90% of your marginal income, only 50%! Someone put that on some yard signs. Electoral success is sure to follow along with broader libertarian paradise. Murray Rothbard would be proud.

4. In most countries liberals thought government should own large corporations. Today most liberals around the world think large enterprises should be privatized. Over the next few decades there will be trillions of dollars in new privatizations, and very few nationalizations.

Except banks, companies that manufacture stuff, companies facing emergencies, pay-day lenders, rating agencies, healthcare providers . . .

Of course we no longer call these actions "nationalizations." Instead, we call them "emergency capital injections," which are totally different than nationalize because . . . er . . . for the reason that . . . well, never mind.


2 Responses to More on liberaltarianism

  1. Finally, rent control has been abolished because it failed, not because of some liberal coming-to-Jesus moment.

    And zoning laws have gotten much, much worse in the last 40-50 years. Our ability to build things (rebuild ground zero, put in a new train line, etc) has come to a complete standstill.

    3. They favored 90% tax rates on the rich. Today they favor rates closer to 50% on the rich.

    It’s debatable whether a 90% top rate income tax is actually worse than a 50%. When you’re making that much money its usually due to exploiting some government intervention (corporate lawyers, i-bankers making money off of the messed up financial system, actors and athletes who make money because courts invalidated old school style labor contracts, ceo’s who appoint their own board members due to bad SEC rules around corporate governance, etc, etc).

    The people who earn millions through innovation and risk taking usually reap their rewards through capital gains, which was always < 50%.

  2. […] Foseti – “Don’t Shave Like a Girl“, “Class Warfare: Who Makes Up the Governing Class?“, “More on Liberaltarianism” […]

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