On Sat, 11 Sep 1999, Elizabeth Childs wrote:
> I usually come at it from a utilitarian approach, and explain how government
> is raising the price of health care, making it harder to buy a house,
> screwing up education, keeping the poor from getting jobs, etc.
Elizabeth, could you elaborate on the rationale for the underlined items a bit when you have the opportunity?
There's no doubt that the US federal and local governments do in fact
> make the lot of its poorest citizens far worse with things like
> taxi licenses, cosmetology licensing, violence from the drug war, etc.
I believe most licensing is handled locally, so in theory you should have the opportunity to correct it locally. Presumably most of this is done in the name of public safety. For example today's news discussing ~600 people getting sick on E. coli from food contamination at a New York State Fair. Last night the Seattle news discussed the opening of the Washington State fair that had implemented a large number of "corrective actions", like hand washing stations, regulations regarding where & what you can pet, food preparation, etc. because we had a similar disease outbreak here last year.
I know that libertarians believe that these things should be handled by independent contractors and not by government but if they are then someone has to pay for the training/oversight/testing, etc. That someone is going to be the fair participants, so presumably you end up harming to some degree the people who you were trying to protect from the tyranny of government (because the tickets are now more expensive).
It would appear that a flaw in the libertarian approach is that in some cases, the government simply "passing a law" *is* the cheapest way to implement something. People acting in their own self-interest, will find the most efficient way to satisfy the law and increase public safety. On the other hand if you have the government manage the thing, it is bound to wind up inefficient. This only ends up getting mucked up when the incentives to cheat are really high like they are in the meat packing industry.