Monday, August 26, 2013

Who Is The President Working For?

Foreign policy analyst Richard Fernandez asks a significant question today.  Who does the president think he is working for?  The answer Fernandez gives is:
[Y]ou work for guys like the mid-Western plumber. The folks who drive Fords, shop at Safeway’s and who may even own a gun or two. The people who elected you.
And that's just the problem.  President Obama does not see himself working to create a decent life for Joe the Plumber, Ford drivers, Safeway shoppers and gun owners.  He has a far higher calling: fundamental transformation.

More than George W. Bush, more even than Bill Clinton, Obama is a creature of the ruling class, the people with Big Ideas for America: Single-payer health care, green energy, financial regulation, outreach to traditionally marginalized communities, and all the other ideas that feature a starring role for the administrative ruling class.

The president has pushed towards single-payer health care because that's what the elite thinks we need.  Ordinary people can't really understand how to structure the health care industry, and certainly can't deal with a big personal health care crisis; it's up to the educated ruling class to do the job.

The president is a green energy advocate because that's what people like him know is needed.  Carbon pollution will waste the planet and we have to do something to stop it.

The president backs administrative regulation of the financial markets, as per Dodd-Frank, because that's what Everyone agrees is needed to stop the con artists and banksters from creating another financial crisis.

The president backs the racist Reverends because he believes that only community organizers and politics can help marginalized communities get justice.  Otherwise inequality and injustice will get worse.

The plumber, the Ford owner, the Safeway shopper: they don't have a direct opinion on these esoteric questions.  They just know that the economy is bad and they are struggling.  They don't know what has gone wrong.

But what should the president do for the folks he is working for, if he should not take the advice of the ruling class?

The conservative answer starts with an act of faith.  Almost certainly, we believe, any political policy that requires detailed administrative supervision of the economic sector is a bad idea and will not work.  So that takes care of single payer, green energy, and financial regulation right away.

You know where that argument comes from.  It is the argument of F.A. Hayek that government simply cannot develop the knowledge to administer the economy, but millions of producers and consumers can and do.

So confine the government to making general rules to make the price system work.

We also believe that any politics that starts with the exploitation narrative -- that "our group" is being discriminated against and the government needs to act -- will do more harm than good, except in cases of egregious discrimination such as that in the Jim Crow South and today in the quotas and diversity culture.

You know where that comes from.  It's a simple application of the workings of the price system.  Imagine a discriminatory world in which black workers are paid less than white workers.  What a profit opportunity for the entrepreneur willing to take a risk on black workers!  After a while, the world will begin to notice that the black workers working for our daring entrepreneur create more profit than higher-paid white workers.  They hire black workers themselves.  Pretty soon the demand for black workers goes up and employers have to bid up their wages.  And so on.  The only thing needful is to prevent the government or posses of angry racists from interfering with the entrepreneurial lust for profit.

So conservatives believe that the government should only act in cases of grievous discrimination.

The only good thing about the Obama presidency is that it will teach the American people to believe that something went wrong in the Obama years.  They won't know exactly what it was, but they will have a feeling that the president wasn't really working for them and their needs.

They will feel, in 2016, that it is time for a change. And they will get it.

Let's give the Fool has the last word:
Why, 'some are born great, some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness thrown upon them.'...
and thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.
The Fool was speaking to Malvolio, not President Obama, of course.

1 comment:

  1. "You know where that argument comes from. It is the argument of F.A. Hayek that government simply cannot develop the knowledge to administer the economy, but millions of producers and consumers can and do."

    Millions of producers and consumers created the broken health care system we have today. We have something like the 38th best healthcare system in the world, and pay more per capita for it than anyone else. A system that leaves out 15-20% potential beneficiaries is broken. We are way down the list of life expectancy and infant mortality rates. The system is broken. If you are sincere in your sentiment that government should act only in cases of grievous discrimination, then why aren't you supporting the Affordable Care Act. Me thinks you been duped by the talking heads at Fox News....hahahahah!