Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Next American Idol - Or - We need our own Euro-moment - Or - Careful what you pine for...

Of all the arguments for limiting government, the fact that, in the best of circumstances, some number of elected agents composing an effective majority on a given issue determines the standard for 100% of the people (speaking of our representative democracy) is probably the most compelling. Of course it goes without saying that 51% (or 66%) - attending, alas, to their respective agendas - dictating a standard is infinitely better than .0000003% (a single dictator). But, nonetheless, those things we decide collectively should be, at all costs, as few as possible.

So what are we to do with this contagion we call government? This virus that consumes the limbic system of the under-achieving individual. Through sensory-dulling support (which includes a debit card, a cell phone, heavily subsidized rent, etc.), it destroys his motivation - he dare not dare to exploit the American opportunity. As for institutions, it opens itself and baits the highest bidder. Deals are struck. Capital, via subsidies, tariffs, regulatory engineering and tax loopholes, is redistributed to the politically favored. The alleged efficacy of a given regulation or program is trumpeted by the institutions it was designed to serve - the CEO turns politician.

Back-stage-Washington is where politicians bargain on behalf of their respective agendas. Front-stage is where they say what we want to hear. They know their constituent. They know the voting majority is more interested in the next American Idol than it is the next American President. Thus, the candidate with the swagger - the stage-presence - takes home the spoils.

Some (not, I presume, the American-Idol-worshipers) believe this to be the most important election of our time. I disagree. Yes, policy is at the root of the uncertainty holding the American economy at bay, but policy is a mere reflection of the wants of the populace. Obama, the consummate politician, the community organizer, has read the tea leaves and made his calculations. November 6 is entirely his to lose.

My conservative friends fear that he'll do great damage with four more years and no reelection to concern him. They pray for a Republican dominated congress to stonewall his efforts. Consider me agnostic. Let's say the Democrats take Congress and Obama wins another term. If his aim is to bring us to some socialist state, as some seem to fear, I suspect the markets will [severely] punish his efforts, and his party will abandon him faster than the Republicans abandoned GW Bush when the Iraqi conflict went awry. Should Romney and company sweep, what are the odds they'll muster the political will to affect meaningful spending reform in the face of this tepid economic recovery? Zero to none, I imagine.

I'm afraid we need our own Euro-moment before we get our nation back on track. Some see it coming sooner than later, and, again, I see no evidence suggesting either side has the will to force the kind of reforms that would avert such an event. Thus, if these seers are right (our comeupins coming sooner than later), and you're pining away over your candidate - well - just be careful what you pine for...


  1. Your Comments

    I fear the markets are not enough to abandon Obama should he win.

    He might succeed in making America a socialistic country, as so many other leaders have done....but of course I would love to be wrong and that the majority of the American people will finally stand up to him..

  2. It's a joy to find somonee who can think like that