John Stossel

Brooks, like a good Hamiltonian, favors coercive government micromanagement. He says, "Bigger child tax credits and increasing the earned income tax credit [welfare] can reduce the economic strain on young families. ... [G]overnment should increase funding for basic research, especially in math, engineering and physics.

"The list could go on."

That's what I'm afraid of.

Government will choose which "basic research" to fund? Does he recall the 1970s synthetic-fuels program or the 1990s Superconducting Super Collider boondoggle?

Child tax credits? Just cut taxes for everyone!

Brooks even advocates national service, "forcing city kids to work with rural kids, and vice versa."

Why are pundits and politicians so eager to use force against others?

America became an economic power despite, not because of, Hamiltonian intervention. Hong Kong and much of East Asia went from abject poverty to affluence in a few decades not because their governments gave people "tools they need to compete" -- they didn't -- but because they exercised limited powers.

I wish Brooks and other Hamiltonian conservatives understood that freedom and prosperity have nothing to do with bureaucrats managing society through schooling and tax manipulation. Prosperity comes from leaving people free in a legal system that respects their persons and property so they can pursue their dreams while taking responsibility for their actions. Free people find their own tools if the state leaves them alone.

In the era of big government, the last thing we need are champions of the statist Hamilton. What we need now are champions of the libertarian Jefferson, who said in a very un-Hamiltonian way: "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate