“Public Choice 101”

Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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13 Responses

  1. E.D. Kain says:

    You’re right about that.Report

  2. greginak says:

    But one team is completely happy with a process where nothing can be accomplished. That team will also use the broken process as a reason to elect them and proof they are correct. So how do we correct our crappy policy process when on side actively likes it? In fact I am sure some of the libertarian commenters are already forming their posts about how gov doesn’t work so lets just tear it down.

    I don’t think you can truly separate our broken process from the people that benefit from it. Trying to bring about some sort of election finance reform didn’t go all that well. Any more radical approach like public financing is dead in the water as socialism or some other crap. It will surely never get a hearing among the serious people in the MSM.

    I do believe there is a craving for effective, efficient government, of what ever size, from people of good will on all sides. However those people don’t particularly have a voice or way to move forward, since any attempt to fix our gov will be seen as trying to either gain a partisan advantage and go against the “established truth” that government is bad.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

      “So how do we correct our crappy policy process when on side actively likes it?”

      The other side of the coin is “we have a sufficent policy process and the other side is actively trying to destroy it.”Report

    • Mark Thompson in reply to greginak says:

      The idea that Republicans – and only Republicans – are happy with this set of circumstances is simply off-base. Keep in mind that all four of the actions discussed in Kling’s post are entirely “owned” by the Dems.

      Beyond that, the issue of the system’s political setup is important for anyone seeking significant policy change of any sort, whether it be in a stronger or weaker government direction on a given issue. Without solving that question, the direction on any given issue is going to be neither towards stronger or more limited government, but instead towards meaningless legislation that just benefits narrow interests.

      In other words – even if libertarians wanted to completely destroy the government, and had popular opinion on our side, we wouldn’t be able to without first solving the public choice problem. Frankly, I think you’ll be surprised where I ultimately come down (although maybe not in my first post on the subject).Report

  3. E.D. Kain says:

    I also wonder, to some degree, why Obama doesn’t just stick to one or maybe two issues. Say – stimulus and health care. Why this push for cap and trade? Why expend political capital in so many directions. Why not really stick to one plan and really push it hard – is that simply too much risk?Report

    • Well, two of those four things he really didn’t have much choice on – regulatory reform and stimulus. And I can’t imagine him putting health care reform off without (somewhat justifiably) enfuriating the entire Dem base. I don’t really understand the quick push for Waxman-Markey, though.Report

      • Dan Miller in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        1. It’s actually important that it happen now–before the Copenhagen talks, he’d like to have something in hand to show Europe, China, India et al.

        2. Keep in mind the Bush presidency, Reagan, etc presidencies–second terms are a lousy time to get anything done. Bush crashed and burned almost immediately; Reagan got tax reform, but only by making it a truly bipartisan process. What do you think are the odds that the GOP would participate in a 1986-tax-reform style process on climate change?Report

        • Kyle in reply to Dan Miller says:

          You mean the Copenhagen talks that are in six months…that is if they aren’t pushed back to 2010. I know opinion is split on this but it seems like a fair/likely concern that US negotiators will have less clout rather than more if WM squeaks by the Senate.Report

    • ChrisWWW in reply to E.D. Kain says:

      It also keeps the public opposition to any one issue to a minimum because the media doesn’t have time to focus.

      It’s also better to do all of this stuff while Obama is popular. No guarantee his poll numbers will last.Report

  4. greginak says:

    I tend to think he is pushing for many things because: 1) as he said he can walk and chew gum at the same time and 2) next year will be house election season and one of the symptoms of our crappy process is that it becomes more difficult to pass difficult legislation when elections are coming. In any case there are many items he is working on. If he picked one or two per year he would never get to all of them. And what can we really afford to wait on.Report

    • Kyle in reply to greginak says:

      Well put greginak.

      Luckily, the President can afford to wait on civil/equal rights issues. Why if he were attempting to end discrimination instead of peddling cap and trade, I’d have to question his commitment to Sparkle Motion.

      And by sparkle motion, I mean our children, their futures, and a green environment that supports family values.

      too much sarcasm for the weekend?Report

  5. mike farmer says:

    It’s the New Foundation — Duh!Report