The Leviathan – “The Government Can!” – “clown show”

Why do you people love the state so much? It doesn’t love you.

Michael Munger

Like most of this company town, I’m addicted to Netflix’s Beltway “telenovela,” House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey as a conspiratorial House majority whip. But the show unwittingly flatters D.C., depicting a city of ruthless, steely competence. The real thing is a clown show consumed by trivialities.
. . .
[D]espite appearances, bipartisanship abounds: “The same Congress that barely averted the fiscal cliff swiftly passed extensions of warrantless wiretapping and indefinite detention” and favors “profligate drone use.” They mainly bicker when the bill for the welfare-warfare state comes due.

Washington, DC: Capital of The Absurd

The government failed to protect the public from CDOs plumped up with bad mortgages or from swindlers like Bernie Madoff but don’t worry when it comes to the markets that Arrow, Schelling, Smith, Hanson, Wolfers et al. said have “great potential for improving social welfare” the government has got it covered. Call me cynical but I suspect Intrade would have been better treated had it been a project of Goldman Sachs.

Intrade Traffic Plummets

Tim Hawkins – The Government Can

“The government is huge, stupid, greedy and makes nosy, officious and dangerous intrusions into the smallest corners of life…”

P.J. O’Rourke

That’s why it’s possible that Medicare is a great deal for hospitals–and that nonetheless, we cannot save money by puting everyone on Medicare. (At least, not without pushing a bunch of hospital groups into bankruptcy–or raising Medicare rates so that they aren’t so cheap any more.) Everyone wants to be the marginal cost consumer. In fact, most people think they deserve to be the marginal cost consumer. But this is mathematically impossible. Someone has to pay for the walls and the air conditioning.

So the disparity we see in growth rates between Medicare payments and those in the private sector may simply reflect cost transfers: the government declares by fiat that it will not pay, and so more and more costs are transferred to the private payers. Medicare costs grow more slowly; private sector costs grow faster. We have not ended cost inflation, just redistributed it.

Bureaucrats are not Captain Jean-Luc Picard. They cannot just “make it so”.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

The Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes – Project GutenbergWikipedia


Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. We also need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT) and to prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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