Gridlock, Graft and Governance
There seems to be a libertarian tendency to celebrate gridlock. Given that this is running off the top of my head, the latest example by Prof Hanley
can’t afford either “low key” government or any gridlock…government that brooks no dissent
is all I currently have. While I may be over-interpreting him, I do remember lots of libertarians in the old days of the now defunct “Positive Liberty.com” arguing for democratic presidents and republican legislatures as good for small government because it stalled the creation of new laws etc. (How’s that working out by the way?) This is something that I never really understood.
The only possible case for grid-lock is if any further legislation is highly likely to lad to further injustice (i.e. the embiggening of government). This seems really pessimistic, but I’m not sure if it is therefore false. The mere fact that something seems counter intuitive is not reason to suppose that it is false. I will below provide some reasons to suppose that even in such a case we have reason to be sceptical of legislative gridlock.
1. Most of the interference in the market comes from regulatory bodies which are part of the executive and not subject to gridlock
2. Gridlock creates an industry for special interests and lobbyists to buy legislators and therefore promotes corruption
3. Politicians in american style deomcracies throw in ear-marks or gut the effectiveness of laws to get individual law-makers to vote for particularly contested bills. This results in an increase in spending on ineffective policies. If americans want a rough explanation as to why their domestic policy is a mess, this is why! Gridlock leads to bad governance. Ineffective policies fail to solve problems and therefore cannot staisfy demand for certain kinds of ameliorative policies. At least without gridlock, the deed would be done and the money spent on something
To be sure many of these problems may simply be due to gridlock in a presidential system, but either way, that shows that there is something deeply wrong about the american political system.
I’m not proposing any particular solutions here, but what do the libertarians here think? And if you are not a libertarian, what do you think anyway?