Monday, September 19, 2011


Government in Stasis

Unblocking the Economy

There is no reason why, in a society which has reached the general level of wealth ours has, the first kind of security (that is: the certainty of a given minimum of sustenance for all...) should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom; that is, some minimum of food, shelter and clothing, sufficient to preserve health. Nor is there any reason why the state should not help to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance in providing for those common hazards of life against which few can make adequate provision." The Road to Surfdom": F. A. Hayek

Thus we have Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare, and other welfare and job loss provisions for all. What is being debated is how to continue to pay for it all in the face of overwhelming national debt and its interest payments over the next 20 years, give or take, and while maintaining our military capability at "sufficient" levels, and, oh by the way, spurring the economy to life and making a lot more jobs. All in the right Hayekian direction, theoretically, but needing really serious tuning and pruning for affordability, safeguarding of free market principles and prevention of fraud and abuse. Politically, however...

The Democrats seem to want to minimize cuts in their programs and our entitlements, and to gain more revenue to pay the Piper and to add to their social programs. The Republicans seem adamantly to want to cut spending and avoid higher taxes in the first instance. There is a stymied position because of a complete lack of trust in the Obama administration by Republicans, who seem to be gun shy of mere verbal promises to cut spending while having to accept tax increases up front, as has happened in the past by, let us say, "slight of hand in Congress;" cuts which would diminish the power of the Democrats, plus many serious concerns about the low morality of this administration. The Democrats likewise suspect the Republicans of wanting to decimate their already legislated social structures, especially ObamaCare, do want to hold or increase their monetary and political power, accuse the Republicans of bad faith, etc. and hence do not trust the Republicans. The verbal offer of Obama of a 5 for 1 split was rejected, I suppose, for all of the above distrust reasons, plus nothing in writing. One key to the impasse is the fact of Republican control of the House, where all money bills must begin.

Yet, most of us citizens go along with Hayek, I believe, not full bore, perhaps, but to an acceptable degree of expenditures, and we want action on all the key elements to begin sharply.

This is a titanic struggle for power and control of the nation, and I am pessimistic that we can get on the right track without ceding power to one or the other parties for control of the Senate and the Presidency via the next election, and with a providential, lucky selection of key players in the government.

We need some genius to write a bill that is acceptable to both parties and the public.  My only thought is that the parties should come to a written agreement as to the principles of the way ahead, get public acceptance of it, and then write legislation that faithfully adheres to the agreement, pass it in both houses, and have the President sign it.

I hope that is what the supercommittee does!

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