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Peter Schiff : What role should government play in an economy? / Clear, concise arguments and answers from leading thinkers / Eristical.com
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Peter Schiff

The government's role in an economy should be restricted to enforcing certain ground rules which facilitate commerce, including, but not limited to, enforcing contracts and protecting private property rights.

The founders of the United States held a skeptical view of government understanding that greater government involvement always comes at the expense of freedom which in turn restrains progress and lowers standards of living. With this in mind, they designed a system in which the government's role was limited to defending the freedom and liberty of its people. A little government can do a lot of good but a lot of government can do a lot of harm which is the reason that Thomas Paine said that "government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one".

Despite its best intentions, the consequences of government intervention in an economy are almost always detrimental. For example, although it seems counter-intuitive, higher education in the United States is so expensive precisely because government subsidizes it. At its current cost, many people wouldn't be able to afford to attend universities, but because the government guarantees their student loans, universities can charge virtually any price they desire.

On the other hand, if there were no government subsidies, these institutions would have to reduce the price and increase the quality of tuition in order to make attendance more affordable and attractive. Many jobs don't even require a higher education and the result is that we have indebted college graduates waiting tables, cleaning toilets and driving buses.

Economist, investment advisor, author and commentator, Peter Schiff