Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Stuff that everybody welcomes--like new programs"

"some time in the near future, Cayuga County apple pickers will be making it possible for Manhatten elevator operators to ride to work for fifteen cents, even though it costs the Transit Authority twenty cents to carry them.  In due course, the political representatives of Cayuga apple pickers will appeal, cogently, for increased off-season benefits for apple pickers; whereupon it will become necessary to increase the taxes of subway riders.  Keep this up, you will readily see, and the skies are dark with crisscrossing dollars.  A dispassionate accountant, viewing the purposeless pell mell, would surely wonder what on earth is this all about?  It is liberalism on the wing.

What, concretely, is wrong with the economy of the crisscrossing dollar?  Well for one thing there is the well known fact that any time a Cayugan sends a dollar down to New York it is going to stop at Albany for an expensive night on the town.  But aside from the leakage...?

The principal objection is that we have here an economics of illusion, made possible by the systematic mystifications of politicians.  The second is that it permits economic profiteering by politically mobilized economic groups at the expense of those not mobilized.  The third is that it diminishes the influence of the individual in the economic marketplace, transferring what the individual loses to politicians and ideologues."

William F. Buckley, Up From Liberalism (1959)

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