The quote from President Reagan is worth remembering the next time a politician promises to get a law passed because it is for our own good, writes Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to do anything without first receiving some form of permission from one government authority or another. According to both the Brookings Institution and the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, roughly 30 percent of the workforce is covered by some form of occupational licensing, from florists to funeral attendants, from tree trimmers to make-up artists.
Food seems to be a particular obsession for lawmakers. The constant tinkering with school lunches can perhaps be justified, since public schools are government run. But what are we to make of the fact that 19 states ban the sale of raw milk? California actually deploys official “food confiscation teams” to raid the homes of people found to have purchased illicit milk. Even the federal government gets in on that one, making it illegal to sell raw milk across state lines. Want more? Arkansas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee have joined Berkeley, Calif., in levying special taxes on sodas. North Carolina bans the sale of rare hamburgers.
With increasing regularity, government, whether federal, state, or local, is inserting itself into every aspect of our lives. In fact, can you think of any area of your life not regulated by lawmakers “according to their morals, judgment, preferences or whims?” Read more from Mr. Tanner here.