Clueless in D.C.
by Jim Davies, 8/31/2010
One of the least unintelligent news commentators is the pair shown on PBS' News Hour, Shields & Brooks. Mark Shields is incisive and funny and an unreformed Leftist, while David Brooks is the NY Times' token Conservative, a label for which he barely qualfies, but who is also always thoughtful. To learn what the Establishment is thinking, this weekly interview isn't a bad place to go. Last Friday, the two gave opinions about where the economy is headed.
The interview appears here in full, but to me the high point was this:
Brooks went on to explain that the Boehner had said the Rs wouldn't do what the Ds are doing, but had failed to say what they would do. Since it was touted as a "major" speech, we may conclude - along with Brooks - that they don't know, or that if they do know they aren't saying. In other words, they don't have a clue.
Politicians and establishment economists read the tea leaves, a rat-bag of statistics that emerge regularly from their fact factories, and plan accordingly. Currently, indications are that things are not improving as promised. See my Recovery? ZGBlog of 8/12 - you read it here first. And what will our wise leaders do about that? - they have no idea.
This is an admission government people make only very rarely. Normally, they confidently pretend they are in charge of events, in control. They are however always lying. An economy - the daily choices of three hundred million people about the buying and selling of hundreds of thousands of goods and services - is far beyond anyone to control. In a famous article by Leonard E Reed in 1958, he gave as an example of this a simple wooden pencil; there is nobody alive who knows how to make one, from soup to nuts. Yet billions of them get made, thanks to the free market.
So all government ever really does is to get in the way, to make economies less efficient and productive than they would otherwise be. The old advice "Lead, follow or get out of the way" applies; and in this Zero Government Blog I say to get out of the way, you clueless set of arrogant idiots.