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Trump’s Big Libertarian Experiment

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“Government,” declared Ronald Reagan in his first Inaugural Address, “is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Republicans have echoed his rhetoric ever since. Somehow, though, they’ve never followed through on the radical downsizing of government their ideology calls for.

But now Donald Trump is, in effect, implementing at least part of the drastic reduction in government’s role his party has long claimed to favor. If the shutdown drags on for months — which seems quite possible — we’ll get a chance to see what America looks like without a number of public programs the right has long insisted we don’t need. Never mind the wall; think of what’s going on as a big, beautiful libertarian experiment.

Seriously, it’s striking how many of the payments the federal government is or soon will be failing to make are for things libertarians insist we shouldn’t have been spending taxpayer dollars on anyway.

For example, federal checks to farmers aren’t going out ­— but libertarian organizations like the Cato Institute have long denounced farm subsides as just another form of crony capitalism.

Businesspeople are furious that the Small Business Administration isn’t making loans — but libertarians want to see the whole agency........

© The New York Times