Michael Munger sees economy through Libertarian eyes

Kids Prefer Cheese blogger offers advice on the American Republic

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - Economist Michael Munger made no secret of his Libertarian leanings when he told a Ball State crowd he ran for governor of North Carolina in 2008 as a third party candidate.

Being a bad politician, Munger said, was much like those bad bankers that nearly toppled Wall Street.

Munger, a Duke University professor, who has taken some trips around the world, started his talk Monday with a picture of Jack Nicholson peeking out of the door in The Shining with  the script, Regulatory Insanity, Public Choice 101.

That class brought to Ball State by the campus Econ Club was an hour long discussion about how not to use the government to regulate the economy, allowing free market and profits to rule.

Munger offered an example of a profitible bus system in Santiago, Chili that based its operation on the number of riders it carried. While that caused accidents and pollution with drivers competiting for passengers, it also created huge profits for bus operators.

When the government started to regulate transportation, the bus system based its service to being on time, which meant profits dwindled and bus rides actually took longer, which disconnected the public from the service and its governing.

 Translating that into politics, Munger pointed out how a democracy should do what the people want. But under the republic form of government in America, it is more about controlling the people by laws.

And that means that government controls voting registration besides how people can vote to restrict the people from democratic choice.

For example, Indiana has tried to restrict voting for college students which is a reason many college students don't vote. And Delaware County even has the local Republican Party chairman working in the voter registration office, who routinely restricts candidates and voting rights.

Munger said that type of control limits democracy and  limits voting. Last year, less than 16 percent of voters showed up for a referendum to fund school buses. That initiative lost. And this year, there are more noncontested than contested races in the primary, further limiting the choice at the poll.

Munger said it was important to participate and vote despite trends that college students don't vote. And he talked afterwards about the new economy of the Midwest after the decline in manufacturing, based more on service.

But he again said less regulation generally provides a better economy much like heard from Republican Gov. Mike Pence.