Laissez Faire Links: Social Obligation in Obamacare, ObamaRetire?, Progressives vs. Madisonians, Minimum Wage Revisited

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LAISSEZ FAIRE LINKS

  • Is there a social obligation for me to provide my neighbors’ opportunity to receive healthcare?  What about if his provision negates mine?  Rituparna Basu at the Ayn Rand Institute throws down the argument from social obligation used by proponents of Obamacare.  One’s only “right” to healthcare rests on one’s moral requirement to earn the best healthcare he or she can, not one’s right to receive it at the expense of someone else.  She also gives a comprehensive overview of how Obamacare will greatly limit younger Americans and what we can do to move forward.
  • Ari Armstrong at The Objectivist Standard Blog asks “Is ObamaRetire Next?”  Now that Progressives have our healthcare, they want our retirement accounts as well.
  • Judge Napolitano writes an informative piece contrasting the progressive status quo with the more liberty-loving Madisonians.  The latter founded America on the principle of individual liberty and limited government.  The Progressives, a title encompassing most of Washington, seeks to turn this idea on its head, placing the State as the first and final arbiter of personal liberty.

“Note that Obama doesn’t say that “America deserves a raise” because low-wage workers have suddenly become more productive and, therefore, more valuable to their employers. No, he says that they deserve it because “nobody who works full time should have to live in poverty.” What about the consequences of the minimum wage? Consequences be damned! What about the businessman who must make ends meet and can only pay a wage for unskilled labor that is lower than the minimum wage? Businessmen be damned! What about the workers who are willing to work for lower than minimum wage, but will be laid off or replaced by automated teller machines and other automatic processes? Workers be damned! The minimum wage is right! It makes us feel moral! Reality be damned!”

Laissez Faire Links: Minimum Wage, Rational Patriotism, Equality, and Obamacare

Government rights-violating policies take on many forms these days.  Below are a few issues circulating throughout Washington, the press, and the blogosphere.

The first piece is a wonderfully impassioned lashing against the Left and their refusal to acknowledge the economic reality that a minimum wage imposes on unskilled workers.  Yaron Brook, Director of the Ayn Rand Institute attacks the false logic behind a minimum wage raise, and it has nothing to do with economics.  Rather, it is coated with a thick malaise of altruistic do-goodedness.  He hits the nail on the head:

“The economic case against the minimum wage is easy to grasp. When the government artificially raises the price of something, the demand for it goes down. Raising the minimum wage decreases the demand for unskilled labor (usually the young).

Raising the minimum wage feels good because it appeals to the prevailing altruism in the culture.

Many people understand that the minimum wage defies economic reality. What we need are more people to understand that the morality of altruism defies reality. Human life and happiness require freedom, including the freedom to compete on the labor market with lower wages — yet this is the very reality the altruists want us to ignore in the name of the “poor.” That’s why it’s impractical — and any policy based on it will be destructive.

To move toward freedom — to defeat the senseless and immoral absurdity that the minimum wage represents — it is altruism that must be defeated.”

Full Article here: The Minimum Wage vs. Reality

 

Michael A. Laferrara, writing for The Objective Standard Blog uses government taxation of American corporations overseas to define patriotism in terms of what is rational for a better America, not a more intrusive American government.  “Rational patriotism does not mean throttling productive citizens for the sake of politicians and bureaucrats. Rational patriotism in America means loyalty to what America stands for: the inalienable rights of individuals to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Citizens for Tax Justice versus Rational Patriotism

 

Next is a rebuttal of Thomas Picketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century.  Picketty argues that income inequality has increased because investments grow faster than wages.  His solution?  Legislate an 80 percent wealth tax on the rich.  John Stossel at Reason counters that despite the Left’s concern over income inequality, income mobility in America is still very much alive.  More importantly, economic mobility is a result of the free market, and thus, logically, cannot be legislated.  It continues in spite of a natural inequality in living standards. The issue is then one of liberty rather than equality.

Debunking Popular Nonsense About Income Mobility in America

For a strictly Objectivist take on Picketty’s argument in Capital, see Yaron Brook’s response here.

 

Just as the government would like to legislate economic equality, the urge to legislate a nation’s collective living standard is akin to Obama legislating better healthcare.  Don Boudreaux, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, brings this flaw of logic to light.  Legislating universal access to a scarce item certainly does not guarantee any degree of quality.  In fact, basic economics tells you that mandating a minimal quantity of any commodity will lower the quality of that item due to the basic law of scarcity.

Dear Mr. Krugman

 

Let us summarize these four issues and the government’s position on them.  Let us mandate that employers pay wages higher than they would normally pay for a given skill set, forcefully redistributing wealth to less productive avenues.  Let us tax successful corporations for being successful, forcefully taking and redistributing capital to less productive avenues such as the welfare state.  Let us ignore income mobility, the manifestation of which is hope, focussing only on income inequality and turning what is a natural occurrence of diversity and freedom into a scapegoat for more taxation, spending programs, and laws.  So we have forced redistribution of wealth, forced redistribution of capital, and a blatant denial of natural facts for smoke-and-mirror rationalization.  Oh and let us not forget the Obama administration’s false equation of quantity of healthcare received to quality of healthcare produced.

Does this sound like a rights-respecting or rights-violating government?