Here’s what the Republicans won last night, most probably: The opportunity to be left holding the bag if the whole creaking kleptocracy crashes.
Here’s what they mostly can’t do, at least not right away: Cut spending or taxes. A huge and growing portion of the budgets at all levels of government are entitlement payments — a subsistence dole under various labels. We have taken a once-free people and turned it half-predator, half-prey — often with both halves living under one scalp, amazingly enough.
So what can Republicans actually do, right now, to deliver on their promises?
They can eliminate every form of business regulation, at all levels of government.
Civil court has always been more than adequate to deal with actual injury. Not coincidentally, statutory regulation is always anti-economic nonsense: Banning competitors (as with the real estate licensing laws), government make-work, monkey-see-monkey-do, superstition, ossified tradition, power lust, etc. If no one is getting hurt, what is being regulated out of existence is this: Human intelligence.
That’s significant for two reasons: We need for business people to get to work and to take a bunch of us along with them. If we decriminalize human intelligence, at least partially, it’s reasonable to expect to see more of it — to everyone’s benefit. But even without the innovations we currently forbid in many businesses and industries, business people need to be able to plan for the future. If they are constantly subject to a vast, unknowable array of ever-changing regulations, they will not take risks. This is news to no one.
So: I’m not talking about some kind of “temporary moratorium” on regulation. This is an old, old leftist dodge: If the cows start to look scrawny, let them fatten up a little before you take up the slaughter again. Alas, because Republicans often have no firmly-held philosophical principles, they fall for these stunts again and again — as with the Bush tax “cuts.”
No, what is needed is the complete eradication of regulation: Repeal the enabling legislation, pay off and dismiss the staff, liquidate the chattel- and real-property. (All of this will throw off enduring budgetary benefits as a happy secondary consequence.)
Not a moratorium. Not an abatement or a credit or a trade-off or a subsidy. No government in the marketplace, period.
If no one is injured, it’s none of our damn business. But by trying to mind everyone else’s business, we have totally wrecked the world’s economy — with far worse devastations on the horizon.
That’s bad, but this is good: If we stop trying to outlaw intelligence by dictating what the mind is and is not permitted to do, the human mind will produce incredible wonders overnight. Our economy is amazing, even now, despite being buried under towering snowdrifts of codified insanity.
When buyers and sellers are free to do as they choose, the economic frenzy that ensues is invariably called a “miracle” by thoughtless people and the politicians who feed on them. But the human mind is autonomous by its very nature. It should come as no surprise that acting upon people as they actually are works rather well, while trying to legislate away their identity results in progressively greater and greater catastrophes.
But, but, but… Someone could get hurt without tens of thousands of pages of regulations! That’s a topic for another essay, but this is sufficient to address the objection: Are you under the impression no one is getting hurt now? Have you looked at your retirement accounts lately?
And: If you insist that you can’t live without officially-sanctioned and therefore massive theft on Wall Street, we can deal with that later. But Bob’s Deli and Acme Cabs and Stan the Dentist can all manage to get the job done without being tied down like Gulliver.
Real growth — not just increased production but progressive improvements in productivity. Not just more jobs but greater real wealth — real things, not paper dollars — for everyone. If the market can substantially outproduce the welfare state’s wages of sloth, the vast entitlement class can gradually be weaned away from Big Mother.
This won’t happen, of course. ObamaCare can break a sweat when Republicans manage even to trim the “public” TV budget. Republicans will compromise and temporize, and we will have Socialism Lite for now — and a jackboot on your neck later.
Graft and power, sustenance and indolence, predictable profits resulting from outlawing your competition. And the predator does not care that he kills the prey — even though he is both predator and prey living under one scalp…
We have no chance to escape the tax collector, for now. But if we stop trying to enslave each other in our work, we just might someday find a way to put the taxman himself out of work.
This is something Republicans can do right now, at all levels of government, and it will deliver salutary benefits in vast abundance. They can’t cut spending and they can’t cut taxes, but they can cut regulation — as much as possible, as quickly as possible, a dramatically resounding abolition of all forms of slavery in the marketplace.