Federalism Fixes This

The free market case for repealing the 17th amendment

The genius of the free market lies in harnessing the power of consumer sovereignty. free people make free choices and these choices provide the information, distilled into simple salients like “demand level” and “price,” that informs every producer in the world what to make and how to make it. this emergent data determines the trade offs faced in production and consumption and perhaps more importantly, it makes these trade offs visible and measurable so that those seeking to serve the market can see and understand what the market’s participants truly want and truly value.

This all stems from those who desire things signaling honestly about their preferences by engaging in trades and behavior. how do i know that you value a snickers bar at more than $1? because you just paid a dollar for it of your own free will. how do i know you valued a candy bar over other possible uses for that dollar? because that’s what you chose to do. economists call this pareto optimality. free people transacting freely only trade something for another thing that they value more and their choices around doing so reveal an honest and irrefutable preference function.

This is a staggering amount of information and it’s what, in a free market, makes the customer king and subjects those who would serve them to the most exacting of discipline. pretty soon, you basically cannot buy a bad dishwasher even if you tried because the rigors of competition and the demands of consumer sovereignty have rendered them extinct. you’re basically guaranteed to get at least 2 of three from the list of “good, fast, cheap” and increasingly, you can often get them all.

But monopoly breaks this. consider cable companies. they were avatars of DMV level awfulness until they started facing competition from other forms of communication and streaming. consider utilities. basically every durable monopoly you run into is underpinned in some way by government. this is because, government itself is a monopoly and as less and less of it becomes even visible, much less accountable to we the people, this only grows worse because government breaks price signals, demand signals, consumer sovereignty, pareto optimality, and most other useful parts of a market.

Consider something as simple as a public park. people like parks. but parks cost money. they also take a scarce resource (conveniently located land) and prevent it from being used for other purposes. because governments collect money by force and then spend it without much in the way of feedback, they would have no idea what the public really wanted even if they were 100% dedicated to trying to serve that desire. (itself, obviously, an implausible assumption) do people really value a park? how much? do they value it more than a bridge or a boat ramp or selling the land to a food truck park and using the cash to improve the school?

Who would you trust to know this, much less to apply it honestly?

The Origins of the Wor... Sidney Bradshaw Fay Best Price: $2.99 Buy New $29.95 (as of 09:00 UTC - Details) It’s instantly obvious once you start to think about this in even rudimentary detail that there is absolutely no way to impose, from the top down, choices serving anything remotely resembling the societal preference function. there is no way to know what it is. society itself cannot know what is is and electing a leader to pretend to do so when 500 or 5 million issues may be conflated all at once and none can be individually broken out makes any approximation through democracy ridiculous, especially given both the bureaucratic nature of spending, regulation, and taxation and the fact that 1% of the demos pays about half of all taxes and the bottom 70% pay basically nothing at all on a “net of transfers and benefits” basis and where there seems to be no penalty for running up egregious debt and making current largess a problem for future generations. when most of society experiences government spending as “free,” you’re never going to get rational or even reasonable choices: you’re going to get runaway rapaciousness.

So long as the system remains avolitional and coercive, there’s really no way out of this. there is no “consumer sovereignty” and no “market discipline for government.” unless you can say “no” then the things you’ll be made to say “yes” to will bear little resemblance to what you want. you essentially cannot escape. even deciding to just leave and give up US citizenship requires affirmative permission that is increasingly difficult to secure and that triggers a massive taxable event on every one of your assets which will be marked to market and treated as sold. until you pay that tax on unrealized gains, you cannot leave US tax jurisdiction. not exactly “land of the free” is it? more like tax serfdom for the prime producers. the US knows better than to let their prize milchcows jump the fence.

But it doesn’t have to be like this.

It was not, in fact, supposed to be like this.

Read the Whole Article