Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Freedom and Economics.

I generally avoid thinking about politics too much. I find it to be entertainment more than anything else for people who need to feel important. Reading things like old issues of Time magazine cements this perspective.

I do talk about economics a lot, though, because it ties in directly to the only thing I think is of any importance in politics: freedom. That's all politics should be generally concerned with, and economic policy is where that most frequently comes to a head.

Understandably so, since economics is all about trying to balance my ability to fuck other people while not letting me fuck them too much. It's a recognition that the entire system is driven by some very nasty human emotions, and that it's likely best to keep those emotions at least somewhat in check.

I also know that raving conservatives are out and about talking about Herr Obama, and how we're charging wildly towards the next Soviet Union, which is obviously not true, but under Clinton, Bush, and now Obama, we have been moving away from economic freedom. And it's interesting how some of those moves away have proven, beyond contention, to be really bad ideas.

I think expressly of Sarbanes-Oxley, which is proving to be a nightmare. Supporters say the law reinforced people's confidence in the markets, which is silly. Most people don't even know it exists, and the people that do know, banks and whatnot, hate it. People have also proven in the past to regain confidence simply because bad shit doesn't happen for a period of time. Government actions do nothing more than convince angry people that the government is doing something to stop the bad guys, which is all Sarbox did.

But by the same token, I don't think Sarbox has had the enormously negative effects that its opponents think. Government action has proven throughout history to have very little effect on what the people are doing. We have countries with high taxes that do well, countries with low taxes that do well. Countries with lots of cops, and countries with next to no cops. Only movements in the extreme have a serious effect on people's lives.

But what worries me is that countries are clubs. We, like any club, want members. As so many countries are starting to adopt similar governmental policies, and as more people move up the socioeconomic ranks, the differences between the clubs get smaller, and those small effects that government action can have become, comparatively, very large. The government has to look at this as a contest. We are a club competing for the best members from other clubs.

We want low taxes, high services, high freedom, and systems in place to help all of this happen. Government can have an effect on that, and it should work towards it.

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