UCLA Law Professor Stephen Bainbridge:
Both [Bruce] Bartlett and [James] Joyner seem to have forgotten a point Hayek made in the preface to the 1976 edition of The Road to Serfdom:
Sweden … is today very much socialistically organized than Great Britain or Austria, though Sweden is common regarded as much more socialistic. This is due to the fact that socialism has come to mean chiefly the extensive redistribution of incomes through taxation and the institutions of the welfare state. In the latter kind of socialism the effects I discuss in this book are brought about more slowly, indirectly, and imperfectly. I believe that the ultimate outcome tends to be very much the same ….
This is precisely the point that seems to have escaped Bartlett. Yes, we are wealthier today on the whole than 100 years ago. Yes, we can afford higher taxes without suffering deprivation more easily than out ancestors. But it still puts us on the slow, indirect, and imperfect road to serfdom. And that’s a road I would prefer to avoid.
Bartlett and Joyner respond in the comments.