In another of his probling Friday columns, Sheldon Richman takes a sharp look at the claim by Harold Meyerson that the increasing number of Americans who say they are “have-nots” is proof of ….. something. Meyerson takes a well-deserved pounding for his silly assertion that Republicans have been giving us “stateless laissez faire.”

Here’s my additional observation. Whenever people like Meyerson see anything indicating unhappiness, they instantly leap to the conclusion that more government intervention is called for. Increase the minimum wage! Stop the “outsourcing” of jobs! Protect us from the “invasion” of foreign goods. Pass new pro-union legislation! Enact socialist health care programs! Increase taxes on the greedy rich! Why do they never pause to consider eliminating any of the numerous barriers the government has put up that impede people who want to improve their circumstances from doing so? In the U.S., any individual who is dissatisfied with his level of prosperity can do quite a lot to improve it, but still there are lots of laws and regulations that get in the way. Many cities stifle entrepreneurship with regulations designed to protect existing businesses from facing new competition. Occupational licensing keeps many poor people from getting into service occupations. Regulations keep housing more costly than necessary.

Instead of thinking that we need more governmental coercion and meddling to help poorer people, why not get rid of that which makes it more difficult for poorer people to help themselves?