Sunday, September 21, 2008

Changing the Slogans

I was watching a TV show on the horrors of climate change. During the commercial break there was an ad with a well known politicians demanding change. We have one party that simultaneously is demanding change and recoiling at the prospects of change.

Of course, a week earlier I heard a politician of the other party talking about how the free market will grow us out of the current economic malaise.

The sloganeering makes my brain scream. As you see, the free market is not about growth. The free market is about freedom. Free people optimize their resources to live the life they want to realize. Yes, moving from a controlled state to a free state generally creates a period of growth. Freedom, not growth, is the aim of the free society.

Here is another icky slogan:

John Whitesides, Political Correspondent, has a piece on Reuters saying: "Democrat Barack Obama accused Republican presidential rival John McCain on Saturday of wanting to gamble with the retirement savings and health care of Americans by subjecting them to the uncertainty of open markets."

The slogan is compelling. However the slogan was made while America is reeling from the failure of a big government program designed to save us all from the risk of the market. The slogan is based on the assumption that the people in this country are nitwits.

The American people are forced to pay a tremendous price tag for all of these programs designed to protect us from risk.

Which is a bigger gamble? Accepting that the markets are fluid and that the best path to long term security is for individuals to have diversified portfolios, or is it a bigger gamble to lump everyone's fate in a single package that, no matter which party rules, will be controlled by political cronies? Even without the cronism, such a globally bundled security mechanism is bound to lead to even greater instability than the instability the package was designed to contain.

The libertarians are as bad as the political parties. I was infuriated by a blog post by Brian Doherty of Reason Magazine inwhich Doherty tried to claim that investors should be free to engage in coercive takings (ie, shorting).

The pundits (left, right and libertarian) are all engaged in mindless sloganeering and are failing to see the issues behind our political and economic malaise.

1 comment:

Scott Hinrichs said...

Indeed, this massive bailout will actually make matters worse and cause people to clamor for government to take an even greater role in U.S. financial markets.

Hence, we see the crisis-thrashing model you have previously discussed. Government grows the most whenever there is a 'crisis.'