Ron Bailey writing at reason.com, Feb. 1:
For decades, an increasingly large percentage of our economic output has been moved from the positive-sum game of markets and private property to the zero-sum game of government and politics. According to the Office of Management and Budget, total government spending in the U.S. rose from 17 percent of GDP in 1948 to 35 percent in 2010. As public choice theory predicts, the more resources government bureaucracies control, the more lobbyists, crony capitalists, and entitlement clients will appear seeking to divert handouts into their pockets. Such would-be beneficiaries need experts to construct the facts that they use to justify to political patrons and agency bureaucrats why they deserve a share of the government’s largesse. To the extent that we live in a “post-truth era,” it is in good measure because it pays so well to dissemble, exaggerate, and spin for government grants and favors.
Our political class is no longer focused on win-win solutions, but on win-lose redistributions. This is hardly ideal for a democracy. Here’s another revealing quote by the economist Frederic Bastiat from 1848:
Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
It shouldn’t be so.