Will Wilkinson: G.O.P. Should Embrace the Welfare State

Republicans looking to repeal and replace Obamacare are in a dilemma of their own making this week. They have branded themselves as small government defenders, promising reductions in taxes and subsidies, despite knowledge that most of their constituents oppose cuts to their favored welfare programs. This may seem like an intractable problem to the typical conservative, but Will Wilkinson – Vice President for Policy at the Niskanen Center – offers a lifeline to a struggling G.O.P. in a recent NY Times article [For Trump and G.O.P., the Welfare State Shouldn’t Be the Enemy]. He notes a paradox the core of limited government philosophy – as an empirical matter, liberty seems to be maximized when the total size of government, measured in spending, is larger. The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom confirms that hybrid high-tax, low-regulation policies are working for some of the freest countries on earth. Behind this argument is a new wave of libertarian thought – the intellectual offspring of F.A. Hayek – that incorporates advances in institutional and experimental economics to overcome progressive objections to markets and private property. Wilkinson and the Niskanen Center are pushing a new frontier that could give Republicans space to actually govern. Why the NY Times is offering Republicans such sage advice is a question that will likely remain unanswered, but Wilkinson will take your calls and try to persuade you that his proposed “liberal”-tarian mutation is evolution in the right direction.

Bob Zadek on Life!Line on *Secret Sauce*

Yesterday, Bob went on Craig Roberts' Life!Line show to discuss his new free ebook, Secret Sauce: The Founders' Original Recipe for Limited American Democracy (now available as a free PDF or on Amazon for $1), and the perils of *too much democracy.*

What happens when we start to think of rights as something granted to us by government, rather than our creator? The Founders created a constitutional republic to protect those rights, and limit the number of rights we are required to give up to an absolute minimum.

Find out why Bob dreads the day we live in a democracy:

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A Libertarian Infrastructure Plan

It’s been called Friedman’s Law, and it holds almost as constant as any law of physics:

It costs any government at least twice as much to do something as it costs anyone else.

But what's to be done when some amount of government spending is inevitable? People often bring up roads and infrastructure as the counterpoint to the libertarian injunction to “privatize it!” Chris Edwards – editor of the Cato Institute’s DownsizingGovernment.org – says that infrastructure isn't quite the exception government’s cheerleaders make it out to be. In a recent policy bulletin, Who Owns U.S. Infrastructure?, Edwards shows how the Federal Government can decrease its involvement in roads, bridges, ports and dams. The majority of infrastructure is already owned and operated by the private sector, with the next largest chunk owned by state and local governments – as it should be. “Asset ownership conveys responsibility;” Edwards says, “federal intervention diffuses it.” He joins Bob to discuss the true state of U.S. infrastructure (rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated) and the hands-off policies that can accelerate the right kind of infrastructure at the right price.

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