Menckens Ghost

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Finally, solutions to the nation’s problems

Okay, I got the feedback.  You want to hear about solutions to the nation’s problems instead of just hearing about the problems.  Well, here goes.

 

I’ll begin with a few anecdotes about problems and follow with solutions. 

 

Anecdote 1: 

 

My in-box was deluged this morning with emails from staunch conservatives and tea partiers, wailing about Medicare premiums increasing under ObamaCare and imploring people to vote Obama out of office.  The emails said nothing about the fact that, on average, Medicare beneficiaries receive twice as much in benefits than they have paid in Medicare taxes over their lifetime.  The difference between what they receive and pay will be picked up by future generations, if the nation doesn’t go broke first.

 

So what is the solution?  How do we stop this intergenerational theft?  The answer is that someone from the next generation has to form a group of likeminded young people to outnumber, out-vote, and out-lobby the millions of AARP members and tens of millions of Medicare recipients.

 

How likely is that?  Not very likely.  But you wanted solutions, so I gave you one.  Are you happy now?  Will you now stop complaining that I don’t offer solutions? 

 

Anecdote 2

 

This will seem trivial at first blush, but as you will see, it’s actually very important.

 

My home state of Arizona recently passed new statutes governing Homeowners Associations.  One of the statutes dictates that HOAs cannot restrict for-sale and for-rent signs in front yards, even if a HOA has always had such a restriction and the residents want to keep it that way.

 

Like other statutes, this statute necessitated attorney fees, HOA board meetings and administrative expenses--for something that is none of the business of the state or outsiders.  So how did the statute come about?  Because an association of realtors lobbied the state legislature to pass the statute out of their own pecuniary interest.  The signs are an inexpensive way for them to advertise their names and phone numbers. 

 

Of course, the members of the realtor association are both Democrats and Republicans, including self-professed conservatives and tea partiers.  And, naturally, the local newspaper isn’t going to attack the realtors, given that realtors are major advertisers.

 

This is just one of probably hundreds of thousands of examples that occur annually across the nation of special interests inflicting costs and red tape on others to feather their own nests.  Over a long enough time, such regulatory costs and red tape eventually grow and accumulate to the point where they strangle the economic vitality of the nation and take away the freedom of people to live like they want.

 

So what is the solution?  In the case at hand, the solution is for a resident of a homeowners association to become angry enough to spend tens of thousands of dollars and untold hours in organizing a group of likeminded people to fight the deep-pocketed and well-organized association of realtors.  Hundreds of thousands of other organizers will have to become angry enough to fight the hundreds of thousands of other special interests. 

 

How likely is that?  Not very likely.  But you wanted solutions, so I gave you one.  Are you happy now?  Will you now stop complaining that I don’t offer solutions? 

 

Anecdote 3:

 

There is a provision in President Obama’s jobs bill that the unemployed will become a new protected class under Equal Opportunity law, thus adding to the myriad ways that employers can be sued for supposed discrimination.

 

Both Democratic and Republican labor lawyers have no doubt held meetings, promulgated policies, and otherwise scurried around offices across the land, bemoaning the provision and looking worried and important.  In the privacy of the rest room, though, they pumped their fists and exclaimed, “Yea!”  They know that the more employment laws, the more power, pay and job security they will have--at least until the national economy is suffocated under the unsustainable growth of the regulatory state.

 

At the same time, one of the most worthless, wasteful and harmful federal bureaus, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas used to head, becomes larger and more powerful. 

 

So what is the solution?  How can the EEOC be put out of business?  Well, once again, someone has to organize enough people to vote for enough legislators to repeal the laws that established the EEOC.  Of course they will be demonized as racists who want to return the nation to Jim Crow and the hanging of blacks.

 

How likely is it that enough voters and legislators will take action?  Not very likely.  But you wanted solutions, so I gave you one.  Are you happy now?  Will you now stop complaining that I don’t offer solutions? 

 

Anecdote 4:

 

It was recently discovered that a Phoenix policeman, the son of the mayor, was having sex while in uniform and on the job, including oral sex with a woman in her apartment.  As punishment, he was suspended for four days.  If someone in the private sector had done the same thing, the odds are great that he would have been fired summarily.

 

This is just one of thousands examples of how public-sector workers, including our “hero” police officers and firefighters, have a better deal than working stiffs in the private sector.

 

So what is the solution to this double standard?  At the risk of being repetitious, the solution is similar to the solutions already cited.  Of course those who organize against the heroes will be demonized as being against heroes and public safety.

 

How likely is it that enough people will be brave enough to tolerate being demonized?  Not very likely.  But you wanted solutions, so I gave you one.  Are you happy now?  Will you now stop complaining that I don’t offer solutions?      

 

Anecdotes 5 to 10,385:

 

There are too many anecdotes to detail here, but they are of the same kind.  I’m referring to what economists and political scientists call the concentration of benefits and the socialization of costs.  This happens when a special-interest group gets a multi-million-dollar subsidy or handout at the expense of everyone else.  The benefit is huge, and so is the total cost.  But the cost per taxpayer is small, so small that it’s not worth it for an individual to spend huge amounts of his own money in organizing an effort to stop the subsidy or handout.

 

So what is the solution?  The solution is for individuals to spend huge amounts of their own money in organizing efforts to stop the thousands of subsidies and handouts.

 

How likely is that?  Not very likely.  But you wanted solutions, so I gave you one.  Are you happy now?  Will you now stop complaining that I don’t offer solutions? 

 

You might say that my solutions aren’t really solutions because they won’t happen.  You’re right.  I would add that voting for Republicans isn’t a solution, either, judging by history.  Republicans might slow spending and the regulatory state, but not enough to put the nation’s finances on a sustainable path, especially if Republicans refuse to address the role of the Federal Reserve in deficit spending and their own role in crony capitalism, mercantilism, and corporatism.

 

So what is the solution?  The solution is to let things run their course instead of trying to bring about needed change through political action.  As has been seen in European nation-states and some American states, the status quo only begins to be upended when government goes broke.  Yes, temporary social unrest is the result, but that’s going to happen under any solution.

 

Now please stop asking me for solutions.  Thank you.  

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Powell Gammill
Entered on:

The solution is to end government and govern yourselves. 

How likely is that to happen?  Not.

So, Galt's Gulch.


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