Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ObamaCare = Cap & Trade = Letting Your 8-Year-Old Take the Family Car

Update -
Life immitating this blog: Sheriff's Office releases video of Congress managing health care.


Original Post -

Don't be naive!!!

  • Letting "the government" regulate something does not convene the best and the brightest to govern in Socratic fashion.
  • Letting "the government" regulate something is turning some unknown 30-year-old lawyer loose to concatenate sonorous phrases, subject only to
  • demands from legislators and lobbyists
  • demands from the White House
  • empire building by career bureaucrats
  • screw the consequences; the 30-year-old lawyer will be elsewhere by the time there are consequences (judicial reviews, prison sentences, citizen protests).
  • See my May 26, 2009, post, below, entitled "Two Fuses linked all the nastiest bits of the 2008 Economic Collapse" for a good example.
In 1972, I was in the corporate headquarters of Norton Simon, Inc., then owner of Hunt Foods, Wesson Oil, Canada Dry, McCall Pattern/Publishing (and soon: Max Factor, Halston, Avis). Nixon - see how his then-speechwriter thinks about all this - imposed wage and price controls. Some 30-year-old lawyer was writing what became thousands of pages of regulations that sounded great and every single case I handled went between the cracks of the regulations. There were criminal penalties for violating regulations that had never been previously applied or litigated; no one knew what they meant, but I could go to jail for doing it wrong.

Later, in Singapore, I got to know a guy who had handled the same work for another major corporation. He confided his company's point of view toward the same wage and price controls: utter contempt. "We shipped off the paperwork and forgot it. The dumb bastards were buried in exceptions and never dug their way out." I had to give high points for bravado, given the penalties provided in the law.

I wasn't born when Roosevelt set up the Interstate Commerce Commission, with the assurance that every trucker would receive documented rights to carry whatever commodities he was currently carrying; no one would lose anything. No one lost their past, but the future became an expensive mess. When my employer had to ship bridge-beams to somewhere in the Mid-West and the trucker didn't have interstate rights to carry bridge-beams - which were separate rights from structural steel or a hundred other varieties of steel - the bridge construction waited while we called around for an available trucker with the right trailer and the right rights. We had to pay the published rate (the government set rates for every commodity) and "fees."

Welcome to Cap & Trade {Waxman-Markey} carbon rights. Initially, it will be a mad grab for as much as everyone (everyone on the inside) can grab. And, then, everything that could be grabbed will be auctioned to the highest bidder - creating money out of a new commodity (the right to pollute) and punishing the chumps who aren't in on the game. Twenty years ago, the Federal Communications Commission declared that cable-television rights were a local monopoly owned by each city, township, whatever . . .and those cable monopolies were auctioned off faster than the speed of light while those transactions never quite saw the light of day - who paid what to whom and whose brother-in-law owned what - and why everybody's local politicians wore grins? Remember how cable-television was expensive and sucked until competition was permitted?

Welcome to ObamaCare, where you can't have more of this or less of that unless five criteria have been met retroactive to the year preceding the onset of the condition or the five-doctor governing board has agreed to an exception. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will issue guidelines to determining the sex of a patient. There's no end; the 1,000 page bill is just the beginning.

Don't forget that these 30-year-olds and their typists make mistakes. EconomicsofContempt.blogspot.com has a nifty item about new banking regulations that include compulsory bankruptcy for the largest financial institutions in the US - compulsory - and theorizes that this is a mistake. Ooops.

There is no way things get better or easier or cheaper when you impose government adminstration - because there is no incentive to improve and no alternative to compliance. The powers of government are wisely used only sparingly because every use is an opportunity for corruption and stagnation.

This is no way to maintain the integrity of your body or your life or your family. This is no way to maintain the growth and opportunity that has made the United States the leader of the world in freedom and innovation and quality of life.