Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Defense of Fiscal Conservatism

Today's post is a response to what I think is a common misconception. I think people sometimes make the assumption that wanting to limit government involvement in the economy is equivalent to selfishly placing the interests of oneself (or business or unions or whatever) over the interests of others. While I am certain that this assumption is true in some cases, I know that it is not true all of the time and suspect that it is true very rarely.

There are certain goods that many people think should be available to everyone. A few commonly cited examples are a clean environment and healthcare. I agree that these are two things that society should provide for its members. However, that is not equivalent to saying that government should provide a clean environment and healthcare. Government is once mechanism for providing goods to society. Another is the free market. The fiscally conservatives view is not that these things should not be provided, but that they should be provided by market forces and not by government.

Arguing in favor of that point is one of the points of this blog, so I won't try to justify that position in one post (instead, I'll attempt to do it in many). I just want to make sure I'm being clear about what I believe, namely that in most circumstances the free market is a far more effective mechanism for increasing social welfare than government.