The Policy Bias Against Economic Freedom


This is a quote from Walter Russell Mead from The American Interest online. These policies are the result of political choices that favor certain bureaucratic and narrow private interests. They can, and should, be changed to favor individual freedom…

Currently, the American legal and regulatory system is set up to bind as many people to employers as possible. The government wants you to be a wage slave and sets up a regulatory framework that keeps as many of us as possible yoked to bosses and management.

The IRS doesn’t like the self-employed, fearing they may conceal income. Banks and credit card companies view such people with suspicion, and it is notoriously difficult for start ups and part time enterprises to have access to formal finance. Many services are hard for the self-employed to get on terms like those made available to employees of large corporations: from health insurance to retirement planning, many things are harder and more expensive for the self-employed. The payroll tax system is brutal: the self-employed pay both the employer and employee halves of Social Security and Medicare taxes, almost 20 percent of income and likely to go higher. Many cities will tack on unincorporated business taxes, mass transit taxes, and other interesting feudal exactions and dues.

There are other, subtler ways in which the current system favors old style large employers over small firms. The cost of hiring people can be prohibitively high for small businesses: the paperwork involved in hiring so much as a cleaning person or babysitter can be cumbersome. Hiring full time workers involves negotiating the requirements for worker compensation, unemployment insurance and much else. The cost of these barriers cannot be calculated: jobs foregone, businesses stifled in their cradles, ideas untested, innovations untried.

In order to create the kind of job and service explosion that can provide better incomes for more Americans going forward, the government needs to shift policy. It must favor the small firm and entrepreneur: the owner-proprietor group needs to become the apple of the government’s eye. Their taxes should be cut; their paperwork burdens drastically reduced; regulations should be rewritten and simplified to meet their needs.

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One thought on “The Policy Bias Against Economic Freedom

  1. Pingback: "Get a Job!" by Justin Douglas - Rethinking the Job Culture

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