Always, more regulations

Envy is a constant of human nature. So is a desire to steward other people’s money, whether they like it or not.

We’ve been hearing a lot lately that almost half of all citizens pay no income taxes. This, it is said, leads to a populace that is more open to tax hikes.

Indeed, tax hikes are sometimes palatable when people are told that only the rich will pay. Why should people be living the high life when I’m struggling to get by?

Those who vote to increase the burdens of “the rich” need to realize something: the joke’s on you. Supply side economists are right about one thing: wealth does trickle down. A prosperous society with a large middle class has more wealth to go around. In the material sense, which is all that matters to the world, the poor benefit from nicer schools, deluxe shopping centers, green space, more security, incredible inventions such as computers, and inexpensive food. Meanwhile, the trees have been kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw in Cuba. What have they given the world lately? How are the poor doing there?

Still, tax hikes are politically unreliable. They can be dangerous to a politician seeking re-election.

Regulations aren’t dangerous. With every new scandal, the solution is always “more regulation.” The voters agree: “Someone needs to keep an eye on xyz.”

The obvious truth is that regulations lead to the same end as a tax hike: the diversion of wealth from productive to unproductive use (namely, enriching the government and its trough-feeders) and the hampering of the creation of new wealth. The business owner who has to comply with minimum wage laws, health care mandates, handicapped parking spots that sit unused 98% of the time, and a hundred other things must pass his costs along to his customers. He can’t eat all of the costs. Moreover, every small businessman regularly calculates the real worth of keeping his business open. If he can make as much money as a grunt for someone else, then maybe he’ll decide that the freedom of owning a business isn’t worth the hassle and the risk. This hassle increases with every increase in regulations.

The Federal Register is now over 75,000 pages long. Can you think of one item in your home that isn’t regulated by the government in some way? I can’t. Consider all the time and money your workplace spends in various forms of regulatory compliance.

One last thing: Leftists always like to tell us how much they hate corporations, but their confiscatory politics ensure a world of big corporations. The large companies have the economies of scale to comply with the high taxes and the mounting pile of regulations. In fact, large companies often like regulations. They have cozy financial relationships with the government. They like the idea of hamstringing their smaller competitors.

I’d rather the Federal Register be two pages long… double-spaced.

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