The Corner

Brink Lindsey Writes In

Nice post on “liberaltarians,” but I want to clear up one misunderstanding.  You said that I have “given up on shrinking the federal government” — not so!  In my TNR article, I called for ending universal, pay-as-you-go entitlements for retirees and substituting an approach based primarily on private saving — and for scrapping farm subsidies and other corporate welfare. The long-term effect of such changes would be a significant reduction in the size and scope of government.  And, of course, there are many, many other ways I’d like to limit the government’s reach into our economic as well as our personal lives.


What I did say in the article is that, with the baby boomers’ imminent retirement, the political necessity of providing for current and soon-to-be retirees dictates that any substantial shrinking of overall federal spending is many years in the future.  It’s a concession, to be sure, but only to the obvious.


I have no interest in giving up on the libertarian campaign for smaller government and freer markets.  I just want to open up another front in that campaign. 

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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