Quote Of The Day

Reason’s Matt Welch ponders how libertarians should feel about GOP’s allegedly re-discovered belief in fiscal restraint and small government:

I have a vested interest in national politicians embracing limited-government principles, and so tend to be more happy than not on the rare occasions when I hear these ideas cited, but I hold out zero hope that either of the major parties would ever take them seriously once in power. In my blinkered view, libertarianism as an outlook is all at once oppositional, constructive, and optimistic. Oppositional to whatever 19th century political party is in power, because chances are near 100 percent that their overriding M.O. will be anathema to limited-government principles. Constructive because, hey, libertarians actually have some pretty helpful ideas about how to make tax dollars more effectively accomplish such tasks as building roads, educating poor people, and (to cite an Obama favorite) creating jobs. When the politicians run out of money (and they always do), we’ll have some plausible suggestions. Optimistic because a large subset of l-worders don’t take their mood cues from government, but rather the very tangible and even thrilling progress that humanity and liberalism are making across any number of fronts, even if domestic inter-bank lending is down 11 percent this quarter.

The focus on political teams blurs one central, overriding truth: When it comes to bailout/stimulus/econ, there is no significant break in policy between George W. Bush and Barack Obama, no matter how much it benefits enthusiasts and detractors from pretending there’s a sharp break between the two.

The problem with libertarians trusting the GOP because “this time they really mean it” is that, inevitably there will be disappointment when they actually get back in power.