Vote libertarian?

Consider this passage:

Establishment politicians don’t have solutions that work in the real world because they aren’t asking the tough question: “Why are jobs becoming scarce? Why do we have so much downsizing and so many corporate mergers?”

The answer is too much regulation and too much government spending. In the 1980s, the number of federal regulators fell from about 122,000 to barely 100,000. The private sector added 3,500,000 jobs as a consequence. The loss of each federal regulator resulted in the creation of more than 150 new jobs, enough to hire the ex-regulator, most of the unemployed, and some of the able-bodied poor. The nation prospered!

From 1987 to 1992, the number of regulators swelled once more to pre-1980 levels. The 3.5 million newly-created jobs were destroyed as a result. The number of regulators has continued to increase, costing additional jobs as well. Was your job among them? Will you be unemployed when the next wave of government regulation hits?

Where does one start? Shall I note that corporate mergers are not per se undesirable, nor is downsizing a source of job loss? Or should I note that the growth of the 1980s was not driven by the (supposed) loss of 22,000 jobs of regulators (N.B.: I cannot verify the numbers)? Or shall we move to the next paragraph? Throughout most of the 1990s employment rose and the degree of regulation rose as well. More generally, the extent of government regulation is not a major variable driving employment fluctuations, although it does influence long-run real wages.

Matt is right to think that the world will read an LP vote as sympathy for smaller government, no matter how off-base or crazy an LP candidate might be. Nonetheless I must offer p = 0 when I ponder the chance that I vote for Badnarik. If I don’t like a picture, I’m not going to hang it on my wall. I gladly supported Ed Clark in 1980, let’s hope that the LP once again puts up a serious candidate.


Comments for this post are closed