Political "Solutions": Socialism on Installment Plan?
From economist Thomas Sowell's op-ed Political "Solutions":
It is remarkable how many political "solutions" today are dealing with problems created by previous political "solutions." Three examples that come to mind immediately are the housing market crisis, the wildfires in southern California, and the water shortages in the west.
Sowell outlines a dangerous pattern:
1. Based on some perceived market failure, a political solution (regulation, subsidies, legislation, tariffs, price controls, property rights restrictions, below-market insurance programs, zoning laws, real estate regulations, etc.) is implemented to solve the "problem."
2. The political solution is inherently distortionary, introduces inefficiencies, and makes the original situation even worse.
3. Additional politcal solutions are then proposed to addresss the growing problems created by the previous political solutions.
Steps 1-3 continue to repeat, leading to the possibility of "socialism on the installment plan," or Hayek's concept of "The Road to Serfdom," because of the "fatal conceit" of policymakers.