Saturday, August 23, 2014

What 'libertarian moment' critics are missing

What 'libertarian moment' scoffers and critics get wrong - The Week - Shikha Dalmia:

August 18, 2014 - "In this time of political polarization, it's rare to find a moment of comity. But that's exactly what we've found in the wake of Robert Draper's recent New York Times Magazine feature suggesting that the 'libertarian moment' might have finally arrived in America.

"Not only did both liberals and conservatives dismiss the claim, they did so for similar reasons: Young Americans care more about their personal freedom than their elders but less about economic freedom.... Their main evidence — confirmed in a Reason-Rupe poll conducted by my colleague, Emily Ekins that Draper prominently cites — is that Millennials want government to offer, among other things, guaranteed health care (69 percent) and college education (54 percent), a higher federal minimum wage (71 percent), and higher taxes on the wealthy (66 percent).

"Worse, Ekins found that 54 percent of Millennials support a 'larger government providing more services,' far more than older Americans....

"But ... the strong support that Millennials express for 'large government and more services' drops 19 percentage points — back to the natural average of Americans as a whole — when the phrase 'with higher taxes' is added to the question....

"One reason why Millennials are less bothered by such economic interventionism than their elders is that they are less affected by it. The rise of the internet economy has offered them an escape from stultifying regulations and onerous taxes that govern traditional brick-and-mortar industries....

"But this happy arrangement where they stay out of government's way and the government stays out of theirs can't last forever. The crushing debt of the massive entitlement state will inevitably cause Uncle Sam and states to try to tax the internet, especially as the revenues from Main Street businesses decline. Likewise, city governments won't simply sit by and let internet services render their meticulously created regulatory structures obsolete....

"Millennial quiescence on economic interventionism is therefore deceptive. When they feel the government's heavy hand closing in, they'll slap it away, just as they are doing now with their pot plants and doobies. Pot legalization might just be a harbinger of things to come on the economic front."

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