Mark Steyn Does F. A. Hayek

Mark Steyn on regime uncertainty and the rule of law:

Functioning societies depend on agreed rules. If you want to open a business, you do it in Singapore or Ireland, because the rules are known to all parties. You don’t go to Sudan or Zimbabwe, where the rules are whatever the state’s whims happen to be that morning.

That’s why Obama is such a job-killer. Why would a small business take on a new employee? The president’s proposing a soak-the-banks tax that could impact your access to credit. The House has passed a cap-and-trade bill that could impose potentially unlimited regulatory costs. The Senate is in favor of “health” “care” “reform” that will allow the IRS to seize your assets if you and your employees’ health arrangements do not meet the approval of the federal government. Some of these things will pass into law, some of them won’t. But all of them send a consistent, cumulative message: that there are no rules, that they’re being made up as they go along – and that some of them might even be retroactive, as happened this week with Oregon’s new corporate tax.

In such an environment, would you hire anyone? Or would you hunker down and sit things out? Obama can bury it in half a ton of leaden telepromptered sludge but the world has got the message: More Washington, more microregulation of every aspect of your life, more multi-trillion-dollar spending, and no agreed rules in a game ever more rigged against you.

It’s hard to beat good writing.

3 comments to Mark Steyn Does F. A. Hayek

  • Greg: Yep. But it would have been better if Mark Steyn had asked: “Why would a small business *invest*?” rather than “…take on a new employee?”

  • Tom West

    In many ways an electorate are a lot more fickle than most individual lawmakers who remain fairly static in their outlook over a lifetime.

    I think what Mark Steyn is implying is don’t invest in democracies, where the laws are likely to change (if the democracy is reflecting the will of the people) each election cycle. After all, if the laws changed to favor business in Ireland, they could just as easily change back.

    I think he’d suggest Singapore which has the advantage of being a functional dictatorship with a compliant population.

  • Jonathan Kay

    I wonder if “rule by the people” is not over-rated, (remember how the Weimar Republic ended).

    The point being made is that most economic activity occurs in the private sector, and jobs are created by businesses, (even Obama admits that). Business people like things to be predictable and rule-based rather than chaging at the whim of the masses, or the leaders who claim to represent them.

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