Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cato On "The New Paternalism"

Glen Whitman of Cato has a longish, but very well-argued point here on what he calls "The New Paternalism", or the increasing tendency of government to intervene "moderately" in areas where it previously did not wield influence. Whitman's best argument is sampled below:

"This would be no great concern, were it not for the tendency of the middle ground to shift over time. A newly adopted middle-ground quickly becomes the status quo. Then a more intrusive option takes center stage, and what used to be the middle-ground becomes one of the bookends. To take just one example, legally mandated enrollment in savings plans (with exit option) seems like the middle ground right now. But once it becomes standard, it will occupy the laissez-faire position. Then a “Save More Tomorrow” policy (with exit option) becomes the new middle-ground. And once that has been adopted, it too becomes the low-end, while automatic enrollment with freedom to choose your investments but without the option to exit entirely becomes the middle. By this route, a series of minor steps can eventually make even mandatory enrollment with specified minimums, highly restricted investments, and no opt-out seem like the “reasonable middle.”


Anonymous said...

Right. A "reasonable middle" for me would be my foot in the middle of your ass. Jesus, talk about a slippery slope. This guy is so brain dead I'm surprised he can read and write.
I could have sworn we had a Constitution around here some place.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Read the article, Anon. He's actually arguing against "the reasonable middle".

Anonymous said...

Actually I was addressing the idea. A CATO guy could not possibly advocate such nonsense.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

I must have misread your comment.

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