My Mercatus Center colleague Liya Palagashvili explains that ‘New Right’ pundits – and especially those at Oren Cass’s American Compass – are putting the blame for what they allege are unsatisfactory jobs on small businesses. A slice:
It turns out that most of these “insecure jobs” are likely jobs at small businesses that pay their employees lower wages and salaries, offer less access to medical care insurance, and provide fewer workplace benefits such as paid time-off or family leave. Highlighting this fact is not meant to indict small businesses in the slightest, given their essential role in the American economy. Rather it is important to clarify that, should the conversation turn to which businesses fall short in providing “secure jobs,” the data inevitably steers us towards small businesses by American Compass’ own criterion. This forces the American Compass into an odd position–blaming American small businesses for the ills they highlight in our labor markets.
New Righters are getting mugged by two harsh political realities (ironic, yes, given their criticism of the “Old Right” as out of touch ideologues).
First is the fact that, no matter how popular a political party may be today, they’ll eventually be out of power. As Duke’s Mike Munger has long tried to explain, aspiring technocrats on the left and the right seem to forget this when proposing their favored versions of industrial policy. Instead, Munger notes the planners like to portray their preferred policies as being implemented by a “magical state unicorn” (or, at the very least, wise and unbiased technocrats just like them—if not actually them). Yet these policies are always conceived and implemented via the political process, and by the politicians and bureaucrats it churns out (aka “men and women who are doing their best, but who face electoral pressures and very short time spans to make decisions”). Sometimes, they’re even implemented by a person like Donald Trump.
Finally, interventionist policies have a way of reverberating throughout an economy that free market policies typically don’t. When the government taxes one group to help another, it signals to the former that it might be able to win similar treatment. For example, when Trump’s steel tariffs raised U.S. steel nail producers’ costs—making them globally uncompetitive—they won their own “national security” tariffs, as well as new antidumping duties, to block imports.
The Biden Democrats passed many bad laws in the last Congress, but the IRA may be the worst. Its price controls on drugs will end up shortening the lives of people who might have been saved with new treatments.