Tag Archive for 'Public Choice'

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The Democrats and Republicans

Further thoughts on the lines highlighted in the post below linking to The Grumpy Economist, specifically:

He who writes the regulations will make a lot of money. He who does not will lose.

Everyone I know that is a strong supporter of either party has an economic interest in “their” party winning an election. Not an economic interest in the sense that one of the party’s positions will allow for greater overall growth in the economy, but rather in the sense that their actual living is tied directly to the success of one of the parties or a specific piece of legislation.

I know of many people whose living is tied to our current over regulated health care system. When these people describe to me their customers and how they service them, you can see their whole business crumbling rapidly if there were free market in the provision of health care services. Many of the high paying jobs in health care exist solely because of the crazy legal and regulatory environment in that industry. I know many people that work on large government construction projects, either in designing them or the actual construction. I know real estate types that begin discussion of new projects by talking about whether or not the project will meet the criteria for government financing or tax relief. I know people that don’t make hardly anything, but their wife or husband work for the government in some capacity. That wife or husband will have a nice fat government pension at the end of their career. Many lawyers and CPA’s would simply be working in other fields if not for enabling legislation and regulation.

Admittedly, many of us are on the receiving end of government largess. My daughter, the Ace, after attending Catholic schools for which we paid, is now a student at State U. We are paying less for tuition, room and board than we paid for Catholic high school tuition. Since State U is an SEC school, she’s become a sports fan. What do SEC sports have to do with quality education? Big State U sports programs are welfare for the middle class. Subsidized tuition at State U is welfare for the middle class. There is the mortgage tax dodge, etc. The list of government programs refunding a portion of our tax dollars is long. All of which is nothing but hay and a barn for horses.

My family’s income is not tied to a particular party. We are not involved in contracting with the government. We will not have a defined benefit pension from the state. We have none of these things. We especially don’t have any influence. I will not have the opportunity to write regulations and make a lot of money off of that experience. I look at the U.S. government’s debt, and the unfunded liabilities of state and local government pensions. (Earlier this week I learned that $1 trillion translates into approximately $9,000 per U.S. household.) With the stated debt of the U.S. government at $16 trillion (with no accounting of the off balance sheet liabilities of medicare, medicaid and social security) and unfunded local government pension liabilities over $4 trillion, the Ace and the Deuce will be starting their adult lives off with a $180,00 tax burden for money that has already been spent or promised to others. These figures leave me very pessimistic about the future for my children. I don’t see a pleasant and/or peaceful solution to this problem; especially if the government continues to tighten it’s regulatory control over government activity. The only way out is through growth, and the prospects of that are not wonderful these days.

Neither the Democrats or Republicans are offering a serious solution to these problems. Their supporters appear to be only interested in their short term gain. There doesn’t seem to be much hope that any of this will change for the better in the near term.

My coworker told me I should be happy about the election outcome, as we will now have a national health care system. But this is the same guy that has never read a word of Hayek. His faith in the federal government is unshakable.

Yes, it is somewhat easier to be optimistic when looking backward, but right now looking to the future really depresses me.

I need to go back to looking for weird stories out of Florida to improve my mood.