Friday, August 28, 2009

Spike Strips

Caution: what follows is a rambling but not necessarily incoherent thought stream.

Have you heard? All our assumptions about capitalism and free market economies - - basically the Milton Friedman "Chicago" school of economics has been discredited. For decades we had been duped into believing that Reagan style economics, owing much of its basic tenants to Friedman's philosophies was a panacea, the end all, the be all for the American economy. Main Stream News Flash!!! Reaganomics is dead, a complete failure of massive proportions.

Yet we had nearly thirty years of economic growth that not only saw the real wealth in the U.S. increase exponentially, but also heretofore unseen wealth burgeoning in Asia as well as a massive reduction in poverty worldwide.

Don't kid yourselves we still live very rich lives in America, at least for now. Even with millions of jobs transferred to China and millions more taken by illegal aliens the middle class in the U.S. still lives quite well. Seems impossible, even implausible since we are constantly told the American dream is dead and life here is inherently unfair.

Have no fear our rescuers are here now.

These are the people who threw the spike strips into the middle of the road and then pointed to capitalism's flat tires as evidence that free market paradigm is going nowhere fast. They are selling a government solution to everything - that solution has a name... Fairness.

Fairness runs on square wheels. Now that may not be efficient but four equal sides is the definition of fair!

These are the people who want to limit the salaries of corporate executives but wouldn't think of imposing these same limits on movies stars or athletes whose salaries are, let's face it, obscene. For one the multi-million dollar athlete is making 100's of times what the towel boy is making - is that fair? The pampered and spoiled movie actor makes 100's of times what the lowly best boy makes. Fair? I think not.

Athletes play games and actors are playing make believe. These folks without a doubt generate a lot of ancillary economic activity as do many, many corporate executives. So why is the corporate executive singled out? Is it because some industries and institutions get bailed out with public money? But athletes don't? C'mon every city bends over backward to build infrastructure and stadiums for sports stars.

Fairness is a lousy justifier. It's a lousy motivator too, but it sounds good and people buy into it. That is until the wheels come off. The point is until real free market principles are honored again and real oversight and (reasonable) regulation is imposed we are in for a very rough road. The road we are on now will never get us to this mythical town called Fairness. Besides there's nothing to do in Fairness, it's boring.

Reality is a better place... Let's go there!