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Interview with Richard Epstein

Reason editor Nick Gillespie interviews Professor Epstein. As usual, Epstein is concise , smart, and blunt. He thinks President Obama is completely unwilling to change his mind. That'd be fine, of course, if he were right to begin with. If not . . .

Epstein ends beautifully--almost all you need to know about political economy in 132 words:

reason: In shifting from a rule by fiat, where you come and plead your case and get your special single deal, to a government of rules, you shift from a kind of feudal mentality to a republican one. What do you do to spread that and make that more persuasive to people?

Epstein: You show people that all of the ingenuity of gimmicks fails. We have more debt, more unemployment, and less happiness in this country now because hope and change turn out to be discord and 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 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. Mies van der Rohe was essentially a political theorist when he said “less is more.”

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