Friday, February 27, 2015

Equality of Opportunity Is the Framework

by Burt Folsom on February 26, 2015

The subject of “equality” is the source of much political debate these days. Ever since the founding era, free-market thinkers have argued for equality of opportunity in the economic order. Equality, in other words, is a framework, not a result. In modern terms the goal is a level playing field. Government should be a referee that enforces property rights, laws, and contracts equally for all individuals.  What the free-market view means in policy terms is no (or few) tariffs for business, no subsidies for farmers, and no racism written into law. Also, successful businessmen will not be subject to special taxes or the seizure of property.

In America this view of equality is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence (“all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights”) and the Constitution (“imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States” and “equal protection of the laws”).  Much of America’s first century as a nation was devoted to ending slavery, extending voting rights, and securing property and inheritance rights for women–fulfilling the Founders’ goal of equal opportunity for all citizens…..To Read More……

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