Affecting What We Can

In a November article for National Review (yes, I’m a bit behind), Keith Hennessey offers ten methods by which elected officials can begin “moving incrementally in the right direction” when it comes to the economy. Most of the items deal with particular issues and ought to be considered, but his #2 speaks to a general approach to governance and ought to be elevated above the rest:

Two. Set the right goal: creating the conditions for growth rather than trying to create growth. Policymakers need to get the policies right and let business leaders decide how to run their firms. Corporate leaders are sitting on unprecedented piles of cash, waiting to see what Washington will foul up next. Take Washington out of their decision-making by creating a stable, predictable, low-cost business environment. They will then decide how best to hire, invest, and expand. Your job as an elected official is not to create economic growth or jobs, it is to create the conditions under which the private sector creates growth and jobs. Stick to your lane and let business leaders stick to theirs.

It is accurate as both a slight and a neutral statement of fact to say that legislators and government executives are not qualified to direct industry and the economy. Actually, nobody is, on a macro scale, but politicians are especially unqualified, and moreover, it is dangerous simultaneously to insert powers of specific economic development into the same hands that hold powers of policing and taxation.
The line between setting conditions and dictating mandates can be gray, in spots, but it’s the principle that matters: Let the people investing their reputations and livelihoods on particular endeavors determine the best methods, and make it easier for them to move forward.

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mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

“Your job as an elected official is not to create economic growth or jobs, it is to create the conditions under which the private sector creates growth and jobs.”
Amen!
But what I’m seeing with stuff like the film credit and the 38 Studios deal is that politicians like to advertise the jobs they created directly with their programs. The average person has no idea how to determine how much tax spending is appropriate to create a certain number of jobs.
If I support the film credit, I can say ‘look at these jobs I created!’, while conveniently ignoring the effects on the economy of extracting the money used to create them. Who knows, maybe the film credit created 1,000 jobs, the taxes needed to do that may have kept 10,000 jobs from locating here because they make us comparatively uncompetitive.

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

“Stick to your lane and let business leaders stick to theirs.”
The more apt analogy is that government should build the road with lanes so that business could reach their markets. But the business interests need to adhere to certain regulations so that the road is not unsafe and open for others to use.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Sure, but it’s the nature of the regulations that the Leftists have in mind that is killing the jobs.
The fluffy, smiling totalitarianism that the Left wants to impose on us is merely a different costume to disguise the underlying fascism, and no cooing language will hide the knife you are waiting to plunge into our backs. Until Leftism is exterminated, people will not have confidence that government will be a fair and impartial guardian of our rights, and this will remain an obstacle to economic growth and full employment.

Sammy
Sammy
10 years ago

“Until Leftism is exterminated”
Posted by BobN
LOL… now thats funny, exterminate the libs.
I can see BobN runing a GOP gas chamber

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Of course Sammy would misrepresent what I said. Leftism, like Marxism and National Socialism, is anathema to the principles on which the United States was founded and is a poison to our society. It has caused more deaths and misery than any other scourge in history, and eventually will be widely recognized as the crime against human rights that it is. In the same way as neo-Nazis are shunned by nearly everyone in our civil society, so should Leftists be(since Leftism and Nazism are siblings in intellectual and political history).
Sammy wants you to believe that my desire to exterminate the doctrine of Leftism translates into extermination of Leftists. By twisting my words into his own perverted misrepresentation, Sammy engages in a typical form of lying favored by the Left. I think the readers here can see through his transparent tactic.

OldTimeLefty
10 years ago

BobN engages in the Hitler tactic of “The Big Lie” with his twisted sister act of turning Nazis from right wing fascists into leftists. It is so absurd that it needs clarification.
Hitler had little interest in the “socialist” aspect of “national socialism” beyond moving the administration of Social Welfare programs from the Church to the State. Hitler disliked the mass working class of the big cities, and had no sympathy with the notions of attacking private property or the business class.
During 1921 and 1922, the Nazi Party grew significantly, partly through Hitler’s oratorical skills, partly because there was a backlash against socialist and liberal politics in Bavaria as Germany’s economic problems deepened.
Nazis are as Nazis do and the big lie is one of the things that Nazis do quite well. BobN, the shoe fits you well here. STOP YOUR LIES, Bobby boy, stop your lies.
OldTimeLefty

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Obviously Lefty has only read the Soviet-propaganda version of German history, and in his ignorance accuses me of “lying”. It might seem that way to someone who has not done his homework.
And once again, he is “projecting” i.e., accusing his adversary of what he himself is doing.
The idea of putting the Nazis on the “right” together with conservatism was created by Stalinist propagandists immediately following WWII, as a Cold War strategy to undermine the West. This has been documented in books by several high Russian officials who defected in the 1970s and 1980s, and by documents revealed in Russia since 1990.
Study a little further back into the origins of Communism and National Socialism and you’ll see that the eventual conflict between the two was merely a power struggle among siblings.
In America, the “right wing” believes that the purpose of government is to protect the individual rights of the citizens; i.e., it believes in maximum individual freedom consistent with a peaceful, civil society. It is the “right wing” that understands and reveres our founding documents and the principles on which they are based.
It is the “left wing” that embraces totalitarian government control over society by making people dependent on “government services” for their livelihoods, and demonizing other people for achieving success in life independent of government “help”.
So which side is more like the Commies and the Nazis? I think the answer is obvious.

OldTimeLefty
10 years ago

BobN – Read the following and then explain to us how you confuse two diametrically opposed political and social philosophies.
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Volume Two: The National Socialist Movement, Chapter XII: The Trade Union Question

“The trade union in the National Socialist sense does not have the function of grouping certain people within a national body and thus gradually transforming them into a class, to take up the fight against other similarly organized formations. We can absolutely not impute this function to the trade union as such; it became so only in the moment when the trade union became the instrument of Marxist struggle. ….. Marxism has made it an instrument for the Marxist class struggle. Marxism created the economic weapon which the international world Jew uses for shattering the economic base of the free, independent national states, for the destruction of their national industry and their national commerce and, accordingly, the enslavement of free peoples in the service of supra-state world finance Jewry.”

(My emphasis)

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Simple. The passage you quote is part of that sibling power struggle I referenced. Go do some more homework on the origins of the Progressive/Totalitarian movements.
Your failure to do your homework is not my problem.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

The political philosophies of Nazism/Fascism and Communism are quite different.
The former is usually very nationalistically oriented while the latter is international in nature.
Fascism,therefore,is somewhat self-limiting(although when the Nazis invaded the rest of Europe that self-limiting aspect wasn’t evident)while Communism is a movement that posits worldwide change.
Okay,now there is one very important similarity between the two.
The consequences to the people foced to live under either system are remarkably similar.I mean.what does it matter WHO kills,imprisons,or oppresses you?
The extreme left and extreme right both rely on totally intrusive government.
The left here in RI and elsewhere spins the big lie that routine immigration enforcement,a normal function of any government,is somehow akin to totalitarianism.
For this reason alone I oppose the leftists at every turn.there are planty of other reasons also,but I will stick to something I know about.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Joe, at some point, perhaps over a beer, we need to talk about your misconception that there is a totalitarian “extreme Right” in America that resembles the Leftist cult in any way.
For now, I’ll just say that the “Left-Right” continuum is a figure of Communist propaganda and not a legitimate way to frame the issue. If you want a continuum, put totalitarian tyranny on the left and anarchy at the right end. American constitutionalists are about halfway between the midpoint and the right end. Maximum freedom consistent with a peaceful, civil society based on mutual respect for individual rights.
That is the correct paradigm for considering the issue of which side believes in which principles and has which vision for our society.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Bob N-I don’t think there is a danger posed by a totalitarian right in the USA today.I actually didn’t refer to the US in my post.I was more in mind of regimes like Franco’s Spain,Salazar’s Portugal,Antonescu’s Romania,Greece under the junta,etc. I am a student of 20th century history and was referring to the nature of the extreme right in general. The US has never really been that susceptible to such a movement because of the routine exercise of our basic freedoms. The extreme left,however,now is evident in the one world movement,which is extremely dangerous.The current President seems to have a real preference for that philosophy,particularly as evidenced by his appointments. The left in our country is the real danger,poisoning minds(particularly young ones)with political correctness scarily reminiscent of “1984”. This whole business with Huckleberry Finn is an example.The book,like any good literature is reflective of the milieu it examines,not a promotion of racial,quite the opposite.Sometimes offensive words are what is needed to make a serious point. When I was 13,I read my first serious adult book,Studs Lonigan,a trilogy by James T.Farrell, covering the period of around 1914-1930 in the Irish South Side of Chicago. The references to Jews as “hebes”,”shonickers”,”kikes”,and “sheenies” abound in the text. Was I offended?no.Farrell was a very left wing guy and detested racism and prejudice.To have used more delicate language would have been dishonest.Dishonest “literature” doesn’t deserve the name. My favorite author,Cormac McCarthy,whose works I read through completely,has used the “N” word here and there in context. His longest novel,Suttree,is set in Knoxville,TN in the Fifties.Now do you suppose people were saying “African-American”in that time and place? What one must do is evaluate how various people are depicted in the book.That wil tell you what the author was thinking,not the raw dialogue. It so happens that in… Read more »

OldTimeLefty
10 years ago

I realize that appeals to reason fall on deaf ears when addressed to BobN. For those others who might read this, here is the Encyclopedia Britannica’s take on the subject. FAILURE OF THE GERMAN REPUBLIC The origins of the Nazi Third Reich must be sought not only in the appeal of Hitler and his party but also in the weakness of the Weimar Republic. Under the republic, Germany boasted the most democratic constitution in the world, yet the fragmentation of German politics made government by majority a difficult proposition. Many Germans identified the republic with the despised Treaty of Versailles and, like the Japanese, concluded that the 1920s policy of peaceful cooperation with the West had failed. What was more, the republic seemed incapable of curing the Depression or dampening the appeal of the Communists. In the end, it self-destructed. The first Depression-era elections, in September 1930, reflected the electorate’s flight from the moderate centrist parties: Communists won 77 seats in the Reichstag, while the Nazi delegation rose from 12 to 107. Chancellor Heinrich Brüning, unable to command a majority, governed by emergency decree of the aged president, Paul von Hindenburg. The National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazis) exploited the resentment and fear stemming from Versailles and the Depression. Its platform was a clever, if contradictory, mixture of socialism, corporatism, and virulent assertion in foreign policy. The Nazis outdid the Communists in forming paramilitary street gangs to intimidate opponents and create an image of irresistible strength, but unlike the Communists, who implied that war veterans had been dupes of capitalist imperialism, the Nazis honoured the Great War as a time when the German Volk had been united as never before. The army had been “stabbed in the back” by defeatists, they claimed, and those who signed the Armistice and Versailles… Read more »

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

I get what you are saying but you keep giving examples that demonstrate my point, not yours. Until you study the origins of both movements, your opinion on the topic is not credible in the least.
You seem to be either too lazy or too cowardly to learn the facts.
Sibling rivalry is as old as Cain and Abel.

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