Declaration of Independents

"You know we're in trouble when you find yourself pining for a little dose of Carter economics."

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In The Denver Post, Vincent Carroll writes about The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, by Matt Welch and me:

A colleague at The Denver Post gave me a bomber of home- brewed beer the other day, so I took it to my patio and toasted Jimmy Carter.

Yes, that Jimmy Carter — he of the "crisis of confidence" speech, stagflation, Desert One, windfall profits tax, and other missteps.

Yet while Carter by and large is remembered as a failed president, he also helped lay the groundwork for the prosperity of the 1980s and '90s by freeing entire sectors of the economy from the shackles of restrictive regulation.

His leadership in deregulating the airlines is fairly well known. But he also pushed deregulation of trucking (helping to stimulate shippers such as FedEx, among other positive developments) and railroads, and, most important of all, started to de-control oil prices.

Nor did Carter confine himself to prying open the commercial economy. He also liberated the home libation realm — hence my grateful toast — by signing a bill in 1978 giving the green light to domestic brewing, which had been banned since Prohibition….

"Though the work of improving Americans' beer palate sounds like the project of an elitist dissatisfied with the commoners' tastes," write Gillespie and Welch, "it's actually another twist on Southwest Airlines' form of democratization: The conservative, corporate, organization man status quo, in cahoots with a protectionist and illiberal government, colluded for far too long to produce crap."…

You know we're in trouble when you find yourself pining for a little dose of Carter economics.

More here.

Buy The Declaration of Independents from your favorite online retailer.

And watch the 8-minute Reason.tv documentary, Beer: An American Revolution, which plumbs the roots and variety of today's beerucopia.