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September 28, 2011

Ex-Obama Budget Chief Writes On "Why we need less democracy"

Peter Orszag, President Obama's first Director of the Office of Management and Budget, has a piece in The New Republic that dips its rhetorical toe in the same authoritarian waters as Bev Perdue's "joke".

To solve the serious problems facing our country, we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying more on automatic policies and depoliticized commissions for certain policy decisions. In other words, radical as it sounds, we need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic.

Radical as it sounds? You bet. Here, let me translate that for you: "This would be an awesome country if you rubes would just lie back and think of England while your betters fix the mess you made."

This isn't really shocking in its scope, though. Both Orszag and Perdue are giving us an insight into the way liberals think, but its not anything that isn't readily apparent from their actions.

They are firm believers in central planning and do not trust Adam Smith's "invisible hand". Hayek's "knowledge problem"? - never heard of it. They simply do not trust individuals to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.

This control fetish comes through in almost everything they support. Take, for example, mass transit, which involves moving herds of people from point A to point B on a fixed schedule. Meanwhile, with a car I'm free to go where I want when I want. Mass transit = control; automobiles = freedom.

The left has gone so far as to subvert the scientific method to try to scare you into believing your car is destroying the planet to get you to commit untold billions of dollars to mass transit schemes (among other stupidity). It's not about the planet; it's about control.

If they can do this to hard sciences, the soft sciences like economics are a piece of cake. So when Mr. Orszag's Keynesian dreams fail to materialize, it's never because he's wrong. It's because those damned humans screwed up his perfect plans.

Let me be more specific in the context of fiscal policy, which was at the heart of the debt-limit debate. Virtually all responsible economists agree that we should be aiming to reduce the deficit in the long-term but not in the short-term. We need an even larger deficit in 2011 and 2012, to support a weak economy—but a much smaller deficit in 2020 and 2050, to put the nation back on a sustainable fiscal course. Yet our polarized political system has proved incapable of reaching a consensus on this common-sense approach.

What we need, then, are ways around our politicians. ...

The arrogance on display here is maddening. Has it ever occurred to Orszag that he (and his appeal to authority cohort of "virtually all responsible economists") was simply wrong? Has he once stopped to consider that the government's constant, omnipresent meddling in every minute aspect of our economy (Delta Smelt, anyone?) is largely the cause of our current problems? No, of course not.

A couple hundred years ago, this sort of thinking prompted some colonists to write:

... Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. ... (emphasis added)

Both Orszag and Perdue seem to have some problems with that "consent of the governed" thing. To the extent that this mindset represents the liberal worldview (it does) what comes next should be clear.

No ... not muskets and tri-corner hats. We have the ability to abolish this government at the ballot box. We took a great first step in November 2010, and now we need to complete the clean sweep of these statist SOB's in 2012 and salt the fields so this muddleheaded ideology never grows back.

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posted by Andy at 05:23 PM

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