A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Excerpt from a Charles Murray essay, “Why Capitalism Has an Image Problem”:

The U.S. was created to foster human flourishing. The means to that end was the exercise of liberty in the pursuit of happiness. Capitalism is the economic expression of liberty. The pursuit of happiness, with happiness defined in the classic sense of justified and lasting satisfaction with life as a whole, depends on economic liberty every bit as much as it depends on other kinds of freedom.

. . . What government can do to help is establish the rule of law so that informed and voluntary trades can take place. More formally, government can vigorously enforce laws against the use of force, fraud and criminal collusion, and use tort law to hold people liable for harm they cause others.

Everything else the government does inherently restricts economic freedom to act in pursuit of earned success. . . Every intervention that erects barriers to starting a business, makes it expensive to hire or fire employees, restricts entry into vocations, prescribes work conditions and facilities, or confiscates profits interferes with economic liberty and usually makes it more difficult for both employers and employees to earn success.

. . . .(P)eople with a wide range of political views can acknowledge that what has happened incrementally over the past half-century has led to a labyrinthine regulatory system, irrational liability law and a corrupt tax code.

Michigan legislators have done their share. According to MichiganVotes.org:

513 bills introduced by Michigan legislators since 2001 to impose, expand or revise occupational licensure mandates that prohibit earning a living in a trade without permission from the government.

649 bills introduced by Michigan legislators since 2001 to impose, expand or revise "consumer protection" regulations on private enterprises.

213 bills introduced by Michigan legislators since 2001 to expand or revise environmental regulations, in which the word "impose" is contained in the MichiganVotes.org description of the bill. (A total of 1,191 bills have been introduced in the site's "environment" category.)

717 bills introduced by Michigan legislators since 2001 to impose, expand or revise business regulations, where the MichiganVotes.org description contains the word "require."

950 bills introduced by Michigan legislators since 2001 in the "economic development" category, almost all of which expand crony capitalism by doling out discriminatory tax breaks, subsidies and corporate welfare to particular business owners, developers or politically favored industries.

27,935 new laws proposed by Michigan legislators since 2001.

5,119 new laws actually enacted by Michigan legislators since 2001.

Not every one of these bills has added to "a labyrinthine regulatory system, irrational liability law and a corrupt tax code." A tiny minority actually tried to lessen these things. But by far the vast majority would have or did make them worse, regardless of the good intentions behind almost every one of them.

The Michigan Education Association says members may leave only in the month of August. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has set up www.AugustOptOut.org to help inform MEA members of their rights.


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