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Interventionism Kills Every Day

August 22, 2011

The city of Salem, Oregon invoked a law that prohibits residents from having more than three yard sales per year to shut down a woman with terminal bone cancer who was trying to raise money to pay her medical bills.

The Reddit community is aghast at such heartlessness. Yet they do not realize that most of them support policies that result in similar tragedies on a daily basis.

This particular outrage is just the “seen”. Think of all the unseen. All the taxes and regulations on “greedy” business that preclude greater capital investment, and thereby, put a lid on real wages going up across the board. All the life-saving operations and treatment foregone because the marginal productivity of labor didn’t rise as much as it could have. Furthermore, think of all the sub-marginal peoples who might not have starved had the global marginal productivity of labor gone up.

Government intervention into the economy kills every day. The causal connections just aren’t generally as visible as they were in this case in Salem.

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