The PJ Tatler

Has the Ax Already Fallen on Government Programs?

Our buddies over at ThinkProgress, alarmed at the looming sequester, say the federal government has already whacked funding for key safety-net programs that affect women, babies, grannies, airline passengers, and people who eat food.

However, when you read the piece, recall the words of our friend Fred Bastiat — one of your fave 19th-century French economists. Fred said there are things which are seen and things which are not seen. In the unseen realm (or at least the unforeseen realm), dwelleth the consequences of government policies which manipulate the economy.

We also can’t see Robert Frost’s ‘Road Not Taken‘. In other words, we don’t know what might have happened had the government not intervened.

Constrained as we are in this Polaroid of time — unable to see the future, or for that matter the possible futures — we simply gawk at that which IS and declare it ‘good’. Any threat to the status quo, by definition, is bad.

Of course, in the article I linked, another not-seen thing is context, as the author cherry-picks his facts, and implies that the absent facts would support his thesis.

It’s ironic that advocates of free markets and of individual liberty are called ‘conservative’, since for decades now, those desperately trying to conserve the status quo have been the advocates of state-controlled markets and of the subordination of the individual to the collective.

YOUR MISSION: Read the ThinkProgress piece, identify the ‘things which are not seen’, and post your findings in the comments here.