They say that all questions regarding government boil down to freedom versus security. If so, then somehow, Morton Downey Morgan, Jr. has stumbled into the existential question on government. No wonder Morgan recoiled like Dracula seeing a cross when Ben Shapiro proffered him a copy of the Constitution:
As Dale Franks of the Qando blog responded to the Time-Warner-CNN-HBO spokesman on Twitter, “Crime. Potholes. Fires.” And bedbugs, and snow removal. Which is yet another reminder of why Nanny Bloomberg was the eponymous inspiration for Victor Davis Hanson’s “The Bloomberg Syndrome” in 2011:
It is a human trait to focus on cheap and lofty rhetoric rather than costly, earthy reality. It is a bureaucratic characteristic to rail against the trifling misdemeanor rather than address the often-dangerous felony. And it is political habit to mask one’s own failures by lecturing others on their supposed shortcomings. Ambitious elected officials often manage to do all three.
The result in these hard times is that our elected sheriffs, mayors, and governors are loudly weighing in on national and global challenges that are quite often out of their own jurisdiction, while ignoring or failing to solve the very problems that they were elected to address.
Quite simply, the next time your elected local or state official holds a press conference about global warming, the Middle East, or the national political climate, expect to experience poor county law enforcement, bad municipal services, or regional insolvency.
Obviously, that has applicability far beyond the local level, and can work as a primer on “How to Weaken an Economy,” as VDH writes in his latest essay at PJM:
But don’t despair: there are plenty of ways to slow down even an inherently strong economy. History offers plenty of examples. But as more contemporary models, take your pick of successfully ruined economies — the Venezuelan, the Cuban, the North Korean, the Greek, the Italian, the Portuguese, or pretty much any from Mediterranean Africa to the Cape of Good Hope. There are certain commonalities about why and how they fail. Let’s review some of them.
The state can never be too big. Ensure that it is unaccountable and intrusive, in constant need of more money and more targets to regulate. The more government, the more people are shielded from the capital-creating, free-market system. Think the DMV or TSA, not Apple. The point is for an employee to spend each labor hour with less oversight, while regulating or hampering profit-making, rather than competing with like kind to create material wealth. Regulatory bodies are a two-fer: the more federal, union employees, the more regulations to hamper the private sector. The more federal mandates, like new health-care requirements and financial reporting, the less employers profit and the fewer employees they can hire. Washington should be a growth city, absolutely immune from the downturn elsewhere, a sort of huge and growing octopus head with decaying tentacles. State jobs should be redefined as something partisan — whose expansion is noble and helps the helpless, and whose contraction is evil and the design of a bitter and aging white private-sector class.
On the other end of the equation, ensuring 50 million on food stamps, putting over 80,000 a month on Social Security disability insurance, and extending unemployment insurance to tens of millions all remind the jobless that life is not too bad (thanks to the government), and certainly a lot better than working at a “low-paid” job that equates to giving up federal support. To paraphrase Paul Krugman, the more and the longer the jobless receive, the less likely they are to take chances looking for a job. That too might be again a good thing if you wish to slow down the economy. In general, even Arnold Toynbee, a man of the Left, acknowledged that the greedy drive of the scrambling private sector was not as pernicious to civilizations as the collective ennui produced by vast cadres of lethargic and unaccountable public “servants” doing supposedly noble work.
Contrast all of the above with this:
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I doubt if he would have personally applied his aphorism to government (or maybe he would, considering he fled from the ultimate nanny state), but Mies van der Rohe was right: Less really is more.
By the way, how will Morgan and other old media journalists respond if the next president decides to advise citizens on the benefits of, say, being pro-life, or marriage before sex, or abstinence? Does the notion that, to paraphrase Morgan above, “If a government official can’t make the populace healthier, what’s the point of his job?” apply to both parties, and/or to those officials who don’t preach the “Progressive” gospel?
Related: “Obamacare’s ‘Extremely Thorny’ Calorie-Count Rules.” Oh, and but of course: “Soledad O’Brien Supports Bloomberg Soda Ban.”