The art of faking - the above drawing is actually two-dimensional. Image credit.
Remember Obama campaigning based on the promise of a decisive turn towards transparency? He was right to champion transparency - but did he and his entourage mean it?
Writes Jim Harper of the CATO Institute:
The benefits of transparency are hard to explain. Bit by bit, we’re improving public oversight of government, I’ve been heard to say, implying more libertarian-friendly outcomes—never quite sure that I’m getting my message through.
Now comes a comment on transparency that articulates its importance better than I ever could. It’s Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber describing how lacking transparency allowed the president’s signature health care regulation to pass.
"This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO [Congressional Budget Office] scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass....Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not."
By the way, Jonathon Gruber was the one in 2012 who said over and over that the limitation of subsidies to state-run exchanges was not a drafting error, but was an intentional feature meant to give incentives to states to create exchanges. Now that it is clear that incentive did not do its job, and a case is in front of the Supreme Court attempting to enforce the plain language of the law, Gruber is now saying that he mispoke (over and over again) in 2012 and it was a typo. Given the fact that he has now admitted he would gladly lie (and has) to the public to defend Obamacare, how much should we believe his current claims?
Same to you, Laura - thanks ever so much for the hard work that put you on the way to victory.
Thanks also to the people whose support has been vital to your deserved success - from donors to those who helped you to get the campaign practically accomplished.
Thanks also to your wonderful family, of whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know in person your most charming daughter Jennifer (hi, Jennifer!) during her visit to Schwäbisch Hall, where she participated in an absolutely outstanding performance of the Doane choir.
The simple fact of the matter is: whenever I get in touch with the Ebke family, I experience what is great about America.
Senator, I hope you will be able to take a bit of a rest after the grueling schedule of the past months.
And then, on taking up your new office, tough as a Senator's life frequently is, I am convinced you will nevertheless experience that you are in your element, rooted as you are in the parts of Nebraska that you represent, being a thoughtful political scientist, a multitasking genius, and someone with excellent skills in handling people respectfully, with empathy, and fairness, not only in the easy moments of life.
Expressed musically, the above message might sound like this - I like to think of the piece as a hymn to liberty:
I am increasingly interested in the trans-ideological dimension of freedom.
Following up on my post On Feeling Lovely, I think it is worth your while listening to what Jonathan Haidt has to say about the righteous minds of liberals (US meaning) and conservatives -- see the below video.
Arnold Kling classifies the fundamental paradigmatic reflexes of the preponderant political forces in contemporary America along the following lines:
My hypothesis is that progressives, conservatives, and libertarians view politics along three different axes. For progressives, the main axis has oppressors at one end and the oppressed at the other. For conservatives, the main axis has civilization at one end and barbarism at the other. For libertarians, the main axis has coercion at one end and free choice at the other.
Adding a little flesh to the bare scaffolding, Arnold Kling illustrates:
A conservative will exaggerate the extent to which a practice leads to barbarism. Again, I use the example of illegal immigration. A conservative emphasizes that it is illegal, therefore the immigrants are lawbreakers by definition, hence the threat to civilization is intrinsic. In general, I think that conservatives view social trends as much more dire than I do and see society in decline more readily than I do.
A progressive will exaggerate the extent to which people fall into classes of oppressors and oppressed. If you look at the biography of UN Ambassador Susan Rice, she apparently both inherited and married into wealth, received an elite education, worked for McKinsey, and now has a net worth of over $20 million. Yet people on the left describe her as oppressed, because she is African-American and female. I want to say, “Really?”
A libertarian will exaggerate the extent to which a practice represents coercion. They are fond of saying, “If you don’t comply with xyz policy, men with guns will come and take you to prison.” I understand this argument and I generally take it as valid. However, I can also understand how someone with a different point of view might argue that when they pay taxes what they get in return is a fair deal.
I also believe that the three axes are different. A practice can be barbaric without being coercive or oppressive. Body piercing, for example. A practice can be coercive without being oppressive or barbaric. Social Security, for example. A practice can be oppressive without being coercive or barbaric. Owners of restaurants refusing to serve non-white customers, for example.
The US economy has a competitive intensity problem, and [a] decline in startups is at its core. Startups are the straw that stirs the drink. They generate new innovation (and new jobs) and force incumbents to improve or die. They change everything, creating a healthier, more vibrant economy in the process.
In the US economic ecosystem, startups are wolves. And we need more of them, and the creative destruction they bring, to transform our stagnating economy.