I’d take it a step further and say a government knows best attitude combined with a willingness to limit individual liberty to achieve what’s “best”.
Libertarians are knocked for being pro-big business and anti-poor by virtue of them being generally opposed to regulation. Comment section after comment section on articles about Gov. Gary Johnson include this argument. Since progressives see regulations as limits on only the worst actors in our economy, usually the big business boogeyman, they see standing athwart regulation as being pro-big business.
But a simple thought experiment shows why Libertarians see regulations as limits on individual liberty and why they believe this actually favors big business:
- Imagine a poor woman, living in a poor neighborhood. She decides to open a hair salon because she’s always had a knack for it.
- In libertarian utopia this woman could put a sign on her door and start styling hair for paying customers. She could enter the market freely, her economic outcome bound only by her abilities and the market for them.
- In regulatory reality, this woman is required to attend schooling, pass a test and pay to acquire a license, pay fees to use her place of residence as a business (assuming zoning even allows it), file appropriate paperwork, pay and pass health inspections, etc.
How the first philosophy is considered anti-poor and pro-Supercuts is beyond me. But let’s go on…
- Say this woman begins doing well, well enough to need an employee. It just so happens that she has a poor, jobless friend who also has a knack for styling and is willing to work for $10 an hour.
- In libertarian land this is perfectly acceptable! A mutually agreed upon transaction takes place between two individuals. A job has been created. A business is growing.
- In reality land, progressives want to make it illegal for the poor friend to accept $10 in pay; illegal for the woman to pay her friend what she can afford. The “the hands off social security crowd” wants the still poor business owner to have to pay 6.2% towards her employee’s social security ; the poor employee also must chip in 6.2% of her first paycheck. That their contribution may go to paying Bob Dylan what he’s owed is of no matter. He’s owed it, after all. There’s also a Medicare contribution, because those bills too need to be paid, even if the two women are 30 years from being eligible for Medicare. Etc.
- And even if, in the face of all these barriers, the two women have a stellar year of business, the entrepreneurial woman may end up paying 15%-35% of her business‘s profits if she doesn’t have access to a smart attorney and tax adviser — and why would she? She’s poor, after all.
Again, how wanting this woman to keep her profits is pro-big business is beyond me.
Now, these are mere principles. Is the outcome of them as clean as the scenario above? Absolutely not. But the outcome of government knows best combined with a willingness to limit individual liberty is clearly friction between that poor woman and her desired path to a better life. And since we know friction applied to inputs in a process reduces the number of outputs, it seems likely that friction applied to this poor woman and others like her will result in less of them starting businesses or being gainfully employed.
Jill Stein and progressives like her are more than willing to put barriers between poor people and the market if they think the government knows better. It’s a viewpoint I, like you, don’t support.