Ignorant or Insidious?

The following is a column that I should hopefully have printed in Friday’s edition of CM Life, Central Michigan University’s school rag.

Although I’ve written on the subject of actions the current administration is taking in a proclaimed effort to heal the economy in the not so distant past, I figure it’s appropriate to touch on the subject again. Only this time, the issue at hand is “why?”

“Why what?” you say.

Well… Why is the current administration ignoring the outcomes of past policies? Why does the current administration propose new policies and controls which will inevitably hurt the market?
It logically stands that long term empirical evidence, such as the effects of New Deal policies over the course of the Great Depression, will give good indications as to what will happen if such actions are taken again in the future.

One person that has shown this is Larry Reed, former president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Not only has he done extensive research and writing on the subject (http://tinyurl.com/42dstp), but he also gave an excellent speech Monday night in Park library which was fortunately recorded (http://tinyurl.com/cqqb2o). If you weren’t there for it, I highly recommend you view the video.

So I ask again, why is it that the current administration is ignoring the outcomes of these past policies?
What about things that haven’t been tried before? Can we question the administration for that? Of course we can. There are many outcomes that can be deduced via inductive logic.

A recent Wall Street Journal column (http://tinyurl.com/cacmyg) talked about how treasury secretary Tim Geithner wants to regulate venture capital firms. For those who don’t know, these firms are the ones that have allowed for companies like Google or Facebook to come into existence. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that if Geithner gets his way, entrepreneurial investment into this country will grind almost to a halt.

When that happens, we are in for a real bad time.

That’s right, I’m going to ask it – why is the administration proposing policies and controls that will inevitably hurt the market?

You know, I wish I could provide an answer to both of these questions, but I can’t.

Some might argue that it’s just plain ignorance or incompetence. The administration could be acting like my dog – coming to me, expecting me to give him the food on my plate, despite the fact that it hasn’t worked the 50 times he’s tried in the last 10 minutes.

On the other hand, some might argue there are more sinister purposes. They may argue that the administration is purposefully damaging the economy so they may later proclaim that “we need more power” to make things work. As conspiracy theorist as it sounds, the general premise is explored in “The Road to Serfdom” – a book written by one of the world’s most well known Austrian school economists, F.A. Hayek.

The trick is that this column is a bit of a paradox, as the answer to “why” doesn’t matter. It’s just like asking why a husband would beat his wife – it doesn’t fix anything. What matters is the fact that he doesn’t do it in the first place, or is stopped if he started.

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