I know pro-market people who plan on voting to re-elect Trump because they like his record on taxes or regulation. I also know pro-market people who plan on voting against Trump because they don’t like his record on spending or trade.
I understand their motives. What baffles me, however, are people who have decided – because of their views on Trump – to change their views on policy issues. Which is one of the clever aspects of this amusing video from Ryan Long.
By the way, this is not a new phenomenon.
During the 2001-2008 period, I constantly interacted with people who were against proposals for bigger government when Bill Clinton was in the White House, but then decided to rationalize George Bush’s profligacy and interventionism.
There’s a word for this: Hypocrisy.
This accusation certainly applies to politicians, who face pressure to “be a team player” when a member of their party is in the White House and issuing foolish proposals.
But it also applies to ordinary people. And this Ninth Theorem of Government is dedicated to both groups.
I’ll close by revisiting what I wrote about understanding the motives of pro-market people who are either voting for Trump or against Trump.
That being said, I don’t want the pro-Trump voters to suddenly decide that it’s a good idea to squander money or impose trade taxes. I want them to vote for Trump in spite of those bad policies.
And I don’t want the anti-Trump voters to decide that it’s a a good idea to oppose pro-growth tax cuts and deregulation. I want them to vote against Trump in spite of those good policies.
This analysis also applies to folks who are motivated by other issues (immigration, foreign policy, guns, judges, decorum, etc). Simply stated, put principles first.
P.S. Here are the eight previous Theorems of Government.
- The “First Theorem” explains how Washington really operates.
- The “Second Theorem” explains why it is so important to block the creation of new programs.
- The “Third Theorem” explains why centralized programs inevitably waste money.
- The “Fourth Theorem” explains that good policy can be good politics.
- The “Fifth Theorem” explains how good ideas on paper become bad ideas in reality.
- The “Sixth Theorem” explains an under-appreciated benefit of a flat tax.
- The “Seventh Theorem” explains how bigger governments are less competent.
- The “Eighth Theorem” explains the motives of those who focus on inequality.