Q. How should an advocate for individual liberty and market freedom approach the presidency of Donald Trump?

A. The same way as always: evaluate policy proposals on how they would likely affect people’s God-given rights, their freedoms, and their abilities to choose and order their lives as they see fit with the protection of and no unnecessary interference from government.

E.g. Pres. Barack Obama’s policies of overregulation and nationalizing health care are wrong and exceedingly harmful. Obama is right about curtailing occupational licensing, and he was right about transparency and open government (which he abandoned, alas).

Moral. The principled liberal should praise pro-freedom initiatives and condemn illiberal policies. (That seems tautological, but as you’ll recall it has been a topsy-turvy year.)

Application. In 2012, Timothy P. Carney wrote for Washington Examiner about “Obama’s model: Cronyism and corporate welfare.” Here’s a snippet:

Obama’s increasing reliance on the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which is backed by American taxpayers, highlights how his industrial policy is inextricable from corporate welfare and crony capitalism, with subsidies seemingly designed to appeal to swing-state voters.

Obama played blue-collar populist last Wednesday when he hosted a thinly veiled campaign rally under the guise of promoting “insourcing.” Of manufacturing jobs, Obama said, “I want them taking root in places like Michigan and Ohio and Virginia and North Carolina,” conveniently naming four swing states.

To help these jobs “take root,” though, Obama is not proposing to clear the land and till the field — by cutting tax rates, reducing regulation, tethering the out-of-control National Labor Relations Board, or allowing businesses to deduct up front the full cost of their capital investment. No, Obama wants Washington to be the landscape architect, relying on subsidies and targeted tax breaks for favored businesses — while also doling out some punishment for those companies that dare move jobs overseas.

President-elect Donald Trump’s Carrier deal seems to be well in keeping with the model set by Obama. Instead of happening under the banner of “Hope and Change,” it’s “Making America Great Again.”

Regardless of how it’s sold, it’s the same basic idea as Obama’s cronyism.

Except that Trump is also proposing reducing regulation and cutting taxes: ideas I strongly support because they promote economic growth, freedom, and independence from government handouts (and politicians pretending as if they are the directors of industry). I rue his cronyism but welcome his regulatory reform.

Here is a reminder of what cronyism is:

Cronyism is an umbrella term covering a host of government activities by which an industry or even a single firm or speculator is given favors and support that they could not attain in market competition. Such activities include, for example:

  • regulations that help favored businesses, harm their competitors, or both
  • laws that restrict new competitors from entering a market or that raise the cost of remaining in the market
  • government-sponsored cartels and monopolies
  • wasteful and unnecessary spending programs
  • direct subsidies and loan guarantees to favored businesses
  • mandates requiring consumers to buy favored products
  • high nominal corporate income tax rates with tax breaks, reimbursements, or other incentives targeted to specifi?c businesses.