View 728 Monday, June 11, 2012
The private sector is doing fine says the President. That remark is now being explained as a gaffe, but it wasn’t, really. He meant it. To the President the only problem with the economy is that it relies too much on the private sector, and thus there’s not enough to spend on the public sector. The economy sucks because the government doesn’t have enough money to spend, but all that can be fixed with the proper revenue enhancements. The worst of it is that he really believes that.
I have trouble believing that, but I have heard enough commentators to convince me: it really is the view of not just the President but many of those in his ideological group. The only problem with the world is that it the government doesn’t have enough control. Rational planning will do the job. We just need to rationally allocate all those resources, spend them wisely, eliminate duplication – why do we need twenty five different brands of laundry soap? — and all will be well. Why, pretty soon, we’ll have computers good enough to give us a real Five Year Plan! It only takes the courage to do it, and we’ll end all this horrible income discrepancy, take care of the poor and sick and unfortunate and give them a dignified way of life with credit cards not welfare, and a few of the luxuries that make life pleasant, and it only takes wanting to do it, and overcoming the resistance of those selfish people who have so much more than they need, more than they can spend, more than anyone needs. And we can build a Great Society.
I can dimly remember believing something like that for a couple of years when I was younger.
Historically we do know of one way to have rapid economic growth, how to go from real hardship to prosperity in a generation, and that with far less productivity than we’re capable of now. It was called the German Economic Miracle. An odd variant of it happened with Japan, which also went from rubble to wealth. And in Hong Kong, where there was literally nothing. Nor should we forget the United States.
We know how to create great wealth. Of course it won’t be evenly distributed, and the resulting economy will be hard on those of little or no ability, and even on some who are able but unlucky, or not motivated. A booming economy can make for hard cheese on some at the bottom. Of course it also creates fortunes that can often be spent in odd ways, like building libraries and universities, or founding welfare missions or funding the Salvation Army (or the Salvation Navy as Aimee Semple McPherson liked to call her mission). But you can’t count on all that. You can’t count on individuals to have wealth and be interested in generosity. Better to have regulations, and provide for the unfortunate through bureaucracies, and well, so you have to live with the Iron Law.
And socialism works for a while. Until it runs out of money. We’re at that stage now. The United States can recover in an amazingly short time: we just need someone to go on the radio and announce an end to federal regulations.
That isn’t going to happen, but I can give you one law that will greatly increase the output of the United States and build an enormous growth in the economy, with much new hiring. Simply double down on the small business exemptions. All the exemptions that apply to businesses with 10 or fewer employees now apply to all those with 20 or fewer. Exemptions for those employing fewer than 50 now apply to all those with 100 or fewer. Etc. The whole legislation wouldn’t require more than a couple of pages even translated into legalese, it could be adopted in a week, and applied in a month.
Of course we won’t try it.
The President bemoans the loss of critical government jobs. They’re laying off teachers and fire fighters. This is horrible.
Since they haven’t laid off the Bunny Inspectors, I doubt that they’re serious about any of this. Any of us can, within an hour, come up with a list of government workers doing things that we can’t really afford, and certainly ought not be borrowing money to have done. There might even be a few in the Fire Department, which very likely has some cubicle workers doing things that we don’t really need to have done. We all know that if government, or education, were serious about saving money much of what has to be done can be done for about half what we’re spending. But that would mean laying off cubicle workers and Bunny Inspectors and Department of Education people who can’t explain what they are doing, and the California state employee who went into the furniture store and confiscated a chair to be taken out and burned to test its fireproofing,, and – well, you get the idea.
They’re not serious out there. And until someone gets serious things will keep getting worse.
I don’t know many Mormons, and I know little of what they believe; but of the Mormons I have met I do not know one I haven’t some admiration for. The ones I know are industrious and serious, and I suspect there are no Mormon bunny inspectors. I could be wrong on that one, but the Mormon I know do tend to be serious and have purposes. I don’t think I know of any Mormons in Acorn or who work in Saul Alinsky community organizer jobs. Romney was not my first choice for Republican candidate, but he does seem to be serious; and he is the least establishment of the Establishment Republicans I know. And having listened to him discuss the Massachusetts health care plan, I understand why he tried it – I would not have – but I also understand that his view of states’ rights is much closer to mine than that of anyone to have held the office of President for a long time. I grew up with the Democrats were the states’ rights party (yes, I know, and it was a long time ago). If compulsory insurance is going to be tried, the states are the place to try it; and we can all learn from what happened in Massachusetts, and rejoice that it isn’t federal, and after all, isn’t that the way things are supposed to work?
If the Tea Party can get out the vote, and show that it can win in a ground game, it will have a great deal of influence in both House and Senate – and will have in the White House someone who shares some of their views on transparency and subsidiarity. It’s unlikely that self government advocates can wrest back control of the Democratic Party so long as it can continue to win offices with its present tactics, but control of the Republican Party is up for grabs. This election will be crucial in that. Now go take back your government.
I had no intention of watching the pilot of Bunheads, and having done it I will watch the rest of the episodes. I was not familiar with Sutton Foster, but she is perfect in this role. Amazingly so. She is a classically trained dancer working in a Las Vegas chorus, and getting older without having anywhere to go. She finds a way out, and it’s believable. Then there’s Kelly Bishop, Shiela in the stage production of Chorus Line, who is damned near perfect in a very difficult role. It’s not a deep show, there’s plenty of comedy and even some pratfalls, but it has a depth that most of the new comedies don’t have. I liked what I saw, and I’m waiting for more.