On Independence Day — How Free Are You, Really?

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As reported in Reason by Ronald Bailey, a recent study finds that “Federal Regulations Have Made You 75 percent Poorer.”

The claim is that GDP is only $16 trillion instead of over $50 trillion, while household incomes are $53,000 instead of the $330,000 they otherwise would be.

Such numbers are gargantuan, even allowing for overstatement. And we’re not even talking taxes here.

Many costs of intervention don’t get tallied at all, yet are genuine in the eyes of the affected. Let’s look at some.

Loss of Liberty Costs

Bureaus aren’t particularly adept at capturing the value of lost liberty and choice.

Whether e-cigarettes that emit water vapor instead of noxious chemicals, or the size of beverages, it’s not enough that others are not harmed by one’s activity; liberty must yield and the authorities must decide.

We don’t measure costs as if paternalism were frowned upon.

With the rise of the nanny state comes a loss of the right to disagree and go one’s own way.

Read the full article here.

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