The fourth problem inherent in the political allocation of economic resources is the biggest: The underlying assumption that it is a good thing because politicians and bureaucrats have more knowledge, wisdom and virtue than everyone else.
But they do not. First, there is simply no way a government of even leviathan proportions can know more about, say, Joe’s Auto Parts than Joe himself does. To think it can know more about the entire auto industry than the industry itself is absurd. Repeat this formula for all other industries.
Government and politicians also like to think they know what is best for America. Energy Secretary Steven Chu epitomized this attitude when he argued for new lightbulb standards by saying, “We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.” (The morons.) But since America is simply the sum of all the citizens who live in it, then to say the government knows what is best for the country is to say the government knows more about what is best for Abigail Anderson of 423 Morris Lane, Wilmington, Del., than Ms. Anderson does herself—and likewise for each of America’s other 311 million citizens. Absurd.