In June of 2008, Stephanie Simon wrote a great article entitled “The Greenest Show On Earth: Democrats Gear Up for Denver”. She described the trials and tribulations of the planners trying to implement Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s charge of making “the greenest convention in the history of the planet”. Here’s a short excerpt:
Consider the fanny packs.
The host committee for the Democratic National Convention wanted 15,000 fanny packs for volunteers. But they had to be made of organic cotton. By unionized labor. In the USA.
Official merchandiser Bob DeMasse scoured the country. His weary conclusion: “That just doesn’t exist.”
Seventeen months and one victorious Presidential election later, as the Democrats run all three rings of our government’s circus, it is clear that the folly and/or paralysis described in Simon’s article was merely a foreshadowing of things to come.
The fundamental problem facing the Democrats right now is that their understanding of how an economy works is flat-out wrong. It’s not like their policies will not work. They simply can not work, any more than Newton could will the apple to fall from the top of his head back onto the branch. Consider the following plans of action:
Economic “Stimulus”: Proclaim to know how to direct the resources of the economy in synergistic fashion, like some kind of nuclear fusion reactor creating more output than the inputs used. Continue to pursue a strategy that is based on class-warfare, envy and redistribution. Refuse to acknowledge that taking resources from one part of the economy via a political process, and handing them over to some other part of the economy, will not and can not produce a net positive. Recoil from the possibility that their very attempts to manage the economy are in fact the cause of the economic woes they now try to combat.
Cap & Trade: Propose a $200 billion dollar/year boondoggle to extract additional resources from the economy to be re-allocated to some supposedly wiser-purpose, all for a negligible change in the supposed villain, average global temperature. Maintain the overarching vision the that humans can control the climate of a planet. Support the silencing of dissenting points of view, and blame any dissenters that slip past the gates on Rush Limbaugh.
Card Check: Hammer home the belief that the economy can be made better off by eliminating workers’ rights to a private ballot as to whether or not they should form a union. (Whatever one thinks of unions, this simple fact about this proposal should make it DOA, but it remains a top legislative goal).
Health Care: Take an already over-regulated one sixth of our economy, call it a “market”, proclaim that markets don’t work, and seek to take it over instead. Hold up the structurally bankrupt programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as models to emulate. Vilify the insurance industry and proclaim the desire for competition, but do not allow the insurance companies to compete with each other across state lines. Make no mention of medical-malpractice and tort reform. Lastly and most importantly, do everything possible to hide the successes of Health Saving Accounts and similar freedom-based, patient-empowering programs.
Taxation: Stay on track to allow the Bush “tax cuts for the rich” to expire. Maintain the class-warfare required to support such policies. Ignore the fact that “the share of the tax burden borne by the top 1 percent now exceeds the share paid by the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined.“ Continue the path towards having 50% of wage earners pay no income taxes at all (standing at roughly 43% right now). Make no connection between high corporate tax rates and companies sending jobs overseas.
If you were an entrepreneur, or a business owner or manager with the ability to start large new initiatives, perhaps ones requiring large numbers of new employees, in the face of the above legislative uncertainty, would you dare proceed?
Hopefully as the Democrats keep themselves tied up in logical knots, they will succeed in passing nothing in the way of major additional economic legislation. Eventually, perhaps requiring several election cycles, the pursuit of such hamstringing policies will be dropped (or those enacted, repealed) and the true engines of growth will be unleashed. In the meantime, as the party of Biggest Government (yes, the Republicans have their sad recent history of being the party of Bigger Government), the Democrats can not do the right thing because doing so would require them to repudiate their very worldview. Solutions to our economic problems based on a worldview that an ever-expanding government can create a utopia-on-Earth are every bit like Bob DeMasse’s sought-after fanny packs. They just don’t exist.