Bernie Sanders is running for president again, it appears. He’s in the news with his plan by which the government guarantees a job to every single American, and at a minimum wage of no less than $15 an hour. The plan is excellent, if his aims are to waste wealth, drive up inflation, reduce the values of businesses, reduce productive investment, tax those who work, tax those who consume, and tax those who produce, while subsidizing and rewarding those who don’t, won’t and can’t work. Unemployment will rise under Bernie’s plan.
Instead of planning how to produce income in the future, mainly by investing in themselves, people will have the incentive to avoid building up their human capital because a job is guaranteed them. They can afford to be more lazy, more shiftless and less ambitious. They will be induced to higher levels of indolence. Banks will find a new corps of people who can afford loans, because the government is paying them for working. The government in turn, faced with an army of unskilled workers, will enact stipulations to receive the benefit, extending its control over labor markets. Government control over labor markets will expand, a sure way to destroy business operations in free markets.
Sanders wants to soak the rich. He wants high and effective progressive tax rates. If effective and not avoided, people will have lower incentives to produce and make higher incomes. Lower production of wealth is a consequence of Bernie’s plan.
Bernie wants economic justice and fairness. He wants to get it by manipulating and controlling the distribution of income, to make it flatter, by using the force of government. To do so, he proposes to intervene by force in how people produce, consume and save to invest. He proposes to reduce the freedom of economic action of 325 million Americans because he doesn’t like the outcomes that are occurring. He proposes to continue, extend and expand the system of government interference that we now have whose effects are negative.
Neither do libertarians like these outcomes when they are the result of government’s massive legislating, judging, executing, taxing, spending, and regulating that produce privileges for favored people. Our remedy is the opposite of Bernie’s. We propose repealing any law and eliminating any regulation that creates privilege, subsidy and interference in freely-made and naturally lawful decisions by individuals. This encompasses huge swaths of what government does. All such interventions by government are unjust and unfair, creating by force of law the very inequalities that Bernie hopes to remedy. We propose to reduce government intervention in our individual economic decisions drastically. We believe that freedom is just and freedom works. Bernie doesn’t. He believes in subsidy, interference and force. He thinks that with enough wrongdoing by government to rearrange free decisions by millions of us that we will end up with justice for all.
Many wrongs do not make a right. We can get to greater justice by pruning and cutting that which is wrong, which is government interventions in what should be the free exercise of private property rights by us Americans as individual persons. Bernie does not believe that we as individuals should control our own capital or means of production. We are not to control our own destinies in his plans. Instead, he wants government control, which is a form of involuntary servitude of Americans. Unfortunately, we already have way too much of this. Are we to be slaves to a monolithic society via the State, or is society or societies to be the networks of relationships that emerge from our decentralized and free decisions?
Bernie as an avowed democratic socialist thinks that freedom and free markets fail and that socialism is the remedy: “…democratic socialists believe that reforms aimed at addressing social inequalities and state interventions aimed at suppressing the economic contradictions of capitalism will only see them emerge elsewhere in a different guise. As socialists, democratic socialists believe that the systemic issues of capitalism can only be solved by replacing the capitalist system with a socialist system—i.e. by replacing private ownership with social ownership of the means of production.”
Democratic socialists confuse what they call “capitalism” with free market decision-making. It is only when governments interfere with free markets that “systemic issues” emerge. The faults that democratic socialists diagnose as stemming from freedom actually stem from government suppression of freedom. What they call “capitalism” is actually government policy and power being used to disrupt free markets and create privileges. A government program like a job guaranteed by the government interferes with labor markets in a massive and fundamental way, just as government unemployment insurance does, the central bank (FED) does and the incessant war-making of the Empire does. All should be ended, not retained and expanded.
Bernie’s jobs plan is going nowhere at present, but it is not of a different genus than much of what the government already does that goes directly against the freedom of Americans to contract as they see fit and to handle their property as they see fit. The Sanders plan means a massive violation of private property rights, and this is what we already have when we have governments taking half our income.
9:18 am on April 25, 2018
Email Michael S. Rozeff