Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy Labor-tarian Day

Have solidarity with the working class and get the government off their backs. Many of the poorest pay over 100% marginal tax rates as benefits phase out in strange and unpredictable ways. It sets up strong counter-incentives to work. Employer payroll taxes reduce demand for labor across the board.
From Cafe Hayek:
taxes on corporations are taxes on people:

I remember that in addressing the issue in the 1980s, the late Herb Stein said that it’s as if people think that if the government imposed a tax on cows, the tax would be paid by the cows.

Labor and environmental regulations are actually preventing the government from producing Obama's sought-after clean tech jobs (HT: Newman).
Catalan at Mises discusses the moral and pragmatic consequences of Libertarianism for the poor:
As a “quasi”-consequentialist I tend to judge libertarianism by the outcomes of certain policies (or, better said, lack of policies). I honestly believe that the free market could better provide for the “less fortunate” than an interventionist economy, and that an interventionist economy will lead to the further impoverishment of the “less fortunate” over the long run. [My father] disagreed and I gave the example of the food industry. In more capitalistic countries, where regulation on food production and distribution is relatively minor, food is plentiful — there is a surplus that can be exported. There are some who are “malnourished”, but malnourishment in the United States is not the same as malnourishment in Sudan, for the most part. Yet, in countries where food is rationed there is widespread malnourishment and famine.
While I tend to favor his overall sentiment when applied to the US, the malnourishment of Sudan is scarcely caused by too much government today. You can make the case that the problem is too much of really bad government in the past, but if even 15 years of no central government have not turned things around in a significant way, maybe there needs to be something more. A good part of the reason our markets function well includes significant amounts of public goods provided by our government. Could they also be supplied by the market? Perhaps. Experience around the world shows that where government does not provide them, markets have provided in insufficient quantities to get their market system where it could be.

On the bright side, at least one sector is hiring: the downward-pointing arrows manufacturers.

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