Arnold Kling polishes his crystal ball and looks ahead at what we can expect if the Democrats win the White House and increase their majorities in both houses of Congress in the next election.
Promises of middle class tax relief and fiscal responsibility will pretty much guarantee constraints on spending.
That leaves regulation as the primary tool of choice. Expect a rash of new government mandates and regulations on health insurance, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, energy, automobiles, appliances, executive compensation, wages, and more. These will, in turn, stifle entrepreneurial innovation, drive up prices, and reduce the quality of everything we buy. The result will be a rise in unemployment, and even more regulation as the government seeks to drive inequities out of the private sector.
Somewhere down the road, as people see the indignity of the many intrusions and the adversity of the consequences, I hope that there will be a backlash. Otherwise, if the era of mandates emerges as I fear it will, then the engine of capitalism in America may run out of the fuel of competition.
In other words, America will become just another lethargic, moribund socialist state, like most of Europe is today.
All of this assumes, of course, that the Dems take full control of the government in the November elections. That’s why this election is such a crucial milestone in defining what kind of country Americans really want.