Will 2016 be the year that classical liberalism died?

When not “protecting” jobs, both Trump and Clinton want government to create jobs directly, hence their proposals for massive infrastructure programs. Again, they ignore the longstanding consensus of classical liberal economics that government ultimately can’t create jobs. Any money that the government spends on infrastructure — or anything else — must ultimately be extracted from the economy through debt or taxes. That means there is less money available for the private sector to create jobs. Neither Trump nor Clinton would create new jobs. They would simply have the government choose which jobs get created.

Both also see government as a means for propping up wages. Whether it’s Clinton’s (and sometimes Trump’s) plan to hike the minimum wage, or Trump’s call to restrict the labor supply through immigration controls, both want government to pay workers more than what a free market would provide.

Trump and Clinton don’t stop at jobs and wages either. From health care to child care to retirement, both see it as government’s job to provide Americans with whatever we need. If there is a problem faced by someone somewhere in America, they believe that government can and should intervene. This obviously flies in the face of government failures in everything from the War on Poverty to the War on Drugs, but it is a recipe for essentially unlimited government. Government becomes not just a village, but our mommy, daddy, and brother’s keeper. Civil society withers and dies, replaced by the beneficent state.

Nor does Trump and Clinton’s love affair with government power stop with economics. In almost any given situation, from freedom of speech to freedom of religion to police power, their default is in favor of government control. The idea of individual autonomy seems completely foreign to them. Clinton clearly thinks in terms of the collective, rather than the individual. And Trump compounds his anti-liberalism with appeals to nationalism and racial resentment.