Monday, November 3, 2014

It's Not Incompetence

The leftist press is still making excuses for Obama and the failure of his policies.  It's everybody else's fault.  It's not that Obama is in over his head, that he's a person who has never had a real job in his life, and isn't actually very bright at all.  The problem is getting good help, or the obstructionist Republicans it the House, or all the racist rednecks in Texas.  It can't be his fault.

After tomorrow, depending on how things go, we may start hearing -- if we are not already, I haven't been paying too much attention -- the left start laying the groundwork for Hillary or Fauxahontas or whoever the Democrat nominee for 2016 will be.  It could well be that Obama's competence will start to be the problem.  They will harken back fondly to the days of the supremely competent Bill Clinton.  We'd be so much better off if we had Bill's proxy presidency in Hillary.  Or they may be shilling for Tin Lizzie Warren with the same kind of disparaging of Obama's abilities. 

That's the way it works in politics.

The budget got balanced in the '90s on the "peace dividend".  Post Cold War, we significantly reduced military expenditures.  We ramped it up again after 9/11 -- and you could find grounds for a military-industrial conspiracy in those thoughts if you wanted to, I suppose.  Clinton also benefited from the DotCom bubble, just as Bush in 2004 benefited from the loose money housing bubble.  In any case, Clinton's vaunted competence was more a matter of luck and Newt Gingrich than actual know-how.  Bill and Hillary are two more people who have never had a real job.

It's a fact that very few successful politicians are good for anything else.  Most at the federal level have never had any kind of job where they could be evaluated on anything other than glibness.

As an aside, my wife was watching some country music show on television last night, and the resident comedian quoted her husband saying, "We ought to grow our own dope.  Plant a politician."

That's a joke, and I didn't come up with it.  It would make a nice bumpersticker, though.

In any case, competency or the lack thereof is not the cause for the failure of government policies to perform as expected.  The problem with government policies is government.  Big government solutions inevitably fail.  The left is always touting the "success" of Social Security.  Bernie Madoff is sitting in jail for exactly the same kind of success that Social Security offers.  The SS Ponzi will sink without growth in the number of people employed versus the number of people receiving payments.  It's a scam run by the government so you can't have them arrested and prosecuted.

That's success from the government's point of view. 

Obama had a Democrat Senate and House in control from 2009 to 2011.  They passed Obamacare which has succeeded in messing up health insurance for millions of Americans and will mess it up for millions more in 2017 after the HKB is out of office.   This will pave the way for a new big-government "solution" to fix what was broken by the prior big-government "solution". 

Government is just not good at 99% of the things it tries.  You could have the most competent, accomplished president in history.  He or she could have an IQ of 160 and be surrounded by genius executives like my old friend J. Keith Coulter, and it would not make a dime's worth of difference.  The programs are going to inefficient, wasteful, counter-productive and detrimental.  Obamacare, Medicare, the War on Drugs, the EPA, the ATF, the Justice Department, Social Security, the Treasury, the IRS, none of these things work in the best interests of the American people, of the individual private citizens.  They can't.  They work in the best interests of the politicians, the bureaucrats, the lobbyists, and the corporate entities that design the programs and write the legislation.  They consolidate and centralize power and reduce individual liberty and competition in the private sector. 

Government-sanctioned monopolies exist in healthcare and health insurance.  Those are the factors that drive up healthcare costs and insurance premiums.  It's not the lack of government control that has caused costs to skyrocket since the 1960s.  Costs have gone up because of Medicare and Medicaid and government intervention with stupid legislation like the EMTALA, despite its "good intentions". 

Shut down Medicare and Medicaid and all third party medical payments today, and the hospitals, doctors, nurses, technicians, medical equipment manufacturers, and pharmaceutical firms will be cutting cost dramatically tomorrow.  They'll be running sales that make Big Lots look like Neiman-Marcus.  Doctors are not going to become plumbers en masse.

No one pays any attention.  Maybe no one wants to know.  Wednesday morning the talking heads will be lamenting the fact that people didn't elect the right people, and the people will be thinking that electing the right people means that all these messes will be cleaned up with a new government program.   


  1. "The problem with government policies is government. Big government solutions inevitably fail."

    There are some lessons we appear unable to learn, and that's one of them. Of course, as long as we the people believe in Big Government, then we will continue to vote for it....

    Even those politicians who say they are against Big Government, are usually for it, perhaps not so much of it, or a more efficient version, but Big Government all the same.

    It's very tempting to think you can transform the human condition with just the right mix of wealth transfer and social policy.

  2. That's very true. The utopian delusion is a strong one.

    I understand. Those of us that are a little older know any number of people who have made and are making very poor decisions in their personal lives. It's a little scary to just turn people loose and get of out the way while thinking that somehow, in the aggregate, things will work out for the best.

    As hard as it is for the economists, planners, public administrators, and so on to believe, that's what happens. People in general will make reasonably good decisions for themselves and their families most of the time. They will make mistakes and correct them much more efficiently than a government program. But it's really hard to convince people of that.

    1. Indeed it is.

      The problem with Government agency is that it tends to break the relationship between cause and effect the lives of individuals. This does three things. First it prevents people from learning hard lessons from their mistakes, and thereby avoiding them in future. Second it inevitiably ends up rewarding stupid behaviour. Third Government intervention breaks down the bonds of family interdependence, welfare, discipline and support.

      But if the electorate is to be believed, more of the same should fix the problem.


  4. The problem with Government agency is that it tends to break the relationship between cause and effect the lives of individuals

    That is an excellent point indeed.

    Thank you for the link, Jamie.