If Lenore Skenazy’s Free-Range Kids (2009) was the book that told parents it was okay to liberate their children from the overprotective parenting expectations of their generation, Abby Schachter’s new book may be the one that tells them to liberate themselves from overprotection by government.
I very much appreciate Scott Yenor’s thoughtful and even-handed review of my book, Hayek’s Modern Family: Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions. The highest compliment I can give him is that if someone asked me what the best criticism of my book is, it would very much be the main line of argument Yenor pursues.
Much of the recent rhetoric surrounding the supposed need to “create jobs” as a core goal of public policy has focused on the way in which government can, by promoting job creation in particular industries through subsidies and the like, also promote “sustainability” in both the economy and the environment. One need only consider how much political energy has been spent arguing for “green jobs” as part of the stimulus program as well as the longer term policy and budget goals of the Obama Administration.
Unfortunately, as the recent example of Solyndra demonstrates, these sorts of subsidy programs, and related public-private partnerships, have shown themselves to be failures at both job creation and economic growth. As I shall discuss below, the failure of Solyndra, after being given a $527 million government loan and being touted by the President as the exemplar of the “new economy,” “green jobs,” and the future of public-private partnerships, is a point-by-point example of what’s wrong with this approach.