Quote of the Day – Discord & Confusion Edition

Richard Epstein per Reason Magazine: “Epstein splits faculty appointments at the University of Chicago and New York University; he’s also a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and a contributor to Reason. In books such as Forbidden Grounds: The Case Against Employment Discrimination Laws (1992) to Simple Rules for a Complex World (1995), and Skepticism and Freedom: A Modern Case for Classical Liberalism (2003), Epstein pushes his ideas and preconceptions to their limits and takes his readers along for the ride. A die-hard libertarian who believes the state should be limited and individual freedom expanded, he is nonetheless the consummate intellectual who first and foremost demands he offer up ironclad proofs for his characteristically counterintuitive insights into law and social theory.”  As an example, they say, “His 1985 volume, Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain is a case in point. Epstein made the hugely controversial argument that regulations and other government actions such as environmental regulations that substantially limit the use of or decrease the value of property should be thought of as a form of eminent domain and thus strictly limited by the Constitution. The immediate result was a firestorm of outrage followed by an acknowledgment that the guy was onto something.
“As Epstein told Reason in a 1995 interview, ‘I took some pride in the fact that [Sen.] Joe Biden (D-Del.) held a copy of Takings up to a hapless Clarence Thomas back in 1991 and said that anyone who believes what’s in this book is certifiably unqualified to sit in on the Supreme Court. That’s a compliment of sorts…. But I took even more pride in the fact that, during the Breyer hearings [in 199X], there were no such theatrics, even as the nominee was constantly questioned on whether he agreed with the Epstein position on deregulation as if that position could not be held by responsible people.'”

Now that we have Prof. Epstein’s bona fides established, here is today’s QotD from this Reason TV interview:

All the ingenuity of gimmicks fails…We have more debt, more unemployment, and less happiness in this country now because Hope & Change turns out to be Discord & Confusion.  And there’s no way that you can stop that.  You cannot stop the blunders of one government program by putting another one on top of it.  That’s what I learned in the Yale Law School.  You don’t like what the minimum wage does, you create a welfare program.  You don’t like what a welfare program does, you have a back-to-work program.  If you just got rid of the minimum wage, you’d get rid of three programs and you’d free up lots of economies, and what people have to understand is that Mies van der Rohe was essentially a political theorist when he said “Less is More.”  You get more production out of fewer regulations, and one of the great tragedies of the modern stuff is that you spend all this time on monetary and fiscal policy, where regulatory policy taken in the round and taken in particular cases is every bit as important.

Yup.  That’s got to make the Denizens of D.C. recoil in abject horror, screaming “Heresy!  Heresy!”

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