Freedom’s Foes

Don Boudreaux is getting upset with Congress. This time the issue is the intended constraints on credit card companies.

People with poor credit can actually get credit, but the terms are onerous. For some, this is the beginning of a descent into misery. For others, it means a chance to rise above difficult circumstances and a chance for success in life. You can’t have one group without the other. Congress (and President O) want to tighten the restrictions on issuing credit. This will mean reduced credit availability. Fewer people will find borrowing to be the beginning of a nightmare and fewer people will find it a life saver. No one knows how many people are in each circumstance and, even if we did, what are the ethics of keeping x people from disaster while allowing y people to flounder?

The fundamental issue is freedom. You can’t have the freedom to succeed without also having the freedom to fail. The “credit reformers” seem to believe that you have too much freedom. They would like to restrict it. Government restricts freedom all the time. You can’t, for example, store tons of gunpowder in your house. These kind of restrictions exist in order to preserve your neighbor’s right to freedom from harm due to your stupid actions.

But who is being protected with “credit reform”? The foolish are being protected from themselves while the prudent are having their options curtailed. This is the antithesis of freedom.


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