Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Class President

Instapundit has this gem from The Atlantic:

The Obama Administration appears to me to be pursuing many goals, poorly. Here are four:

1) The stimulus failed to meet Larry Summers' famous criteria of timely, targeted, or temporary.

2) The cap and trade legislation maximizes rent-seeking (favoritism toward particular businesses) and minimizes carbon reduction.

3) The proposed financial reforms are mostly cosmetic and fail to address the key issues of housing policy and regulatory capital arbitrage.

4) In championing health care reform, the President stresses the unsustainability of our current system, while insisting that nothing will change (you can keep your insurance, keep your doctor, etc.).

The pattern that I see is one of following the path of least political resistance, even if it means failing to make any significant contribution to solving the actual public policy problem. I cannot say that I am completely shocked by this. It is sort of Public Choice 101. But there are a lot of bright, highly-educated people in the Obama Administration who, if they were to step back and evaluate what is happening, would see the pattern for what it is. They believe that they inherited such bad policies that they could not possibly do worse. That belief is starting to look shaky.

President Obama reminds me of the kid in high school who ran for class president and won by promising to do all kinds of really cool stuff like making every day Pizza Day in the school cafeteria and eliminating calculus from the curriculum. Turns out the doofus had no idea what he was talking about and at best, the only thing he did was make things worse. Makes you wonder, where are the grownups?

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