Still, why has government surveillance of Americans’ emails generated enough outrage to power the political careers of politicians such as Rand Paul and Justin Amash (Republicans from the tough-on-security party no less), yet, say, government’s widespread abuse of its eminent domain powers to confiscate private property for “development purposes” has generated nothing comparable? Or why even as Californians defy the federal ban on marijuana by legalizing pot for medical purposes, they are quietly accepting state efforts to impose an expensive ban on carbon emissions?
One reason why millennials are less bothered by such economic interventionism than their elders is that they are less affected by it. The rise of the internet economy has offered them an escape from stultifying regulations and onerous taxes that govern traditional brick-and-mortars industries. Kids who can earn their living sitting in their home offices writing code or developing apps have to worry less about the soaring prices of cars due to tougher CAFÉ standards. They don’t need to take on OSHA’s maddening workplace regulations because they can telecommute.
But this happy arrangement where they stay out of government’s way and the government stays out of their’s can’t last forever. The crushing debt of the massive entitlement state will inevitably cause Uncle Sam and states to try and tax the internet, especially as the revenues from Main Street businesses decline. Likewise, city governments won’t simply sit by and let internet services render their meticulously created regulatory structures obsolete.