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July 28, 2011

Sowell: This Isn't A Great Deal, But It's Not Bad

I guess I'm sold.

Sort of.

Is the Boehner legislation the best legislation possible? Of course not! You don't get your heart's desire when you control only one house of Congress and face a presidential veto.

The most basic fact of life is that we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available. It is not idealism to ignore the limits of one's power. Nor is it selling out one's principles to recognize those limits at a given time and place, and get the best deal possible under those conditions.

That still leaves the option of working toward getting a better deal later, when the odds are more in your favor.

There would not be a United States of America today if George Washington's army had not retreated and retreated and retreated, in the face of an overwhelmingly more powerful British military force bent on annihilating Washington's troops.

Later, when the conditions were right for attack, General Washington attacked. But he would have had nothing to attack with if he had wasted his troops in battles that would have wiped them out.

Similar principles apply in politics. As Edmund Burke said more than two centuries ago: "Preserving my principles unshaken, I reserve my activity for rational endeavors."

One thing, this idea that we're going to get more later: We're not, and we shouldn't talk about false hopes.

That sort of thing can only really happen if we're willing to shut the government down, and we're plainly not.

I'm not speaking now in terms of "should." Like I'm not saying we should not be willing to shut it down.

I'm speaking in simple terms of factual observation -- we will not shut it down, so we cannot actually force that better deal on anyone.


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posted by Ace at 02:56 PM

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