The EFM Feature

The government, ladies and gentlemen, is made out of people. Never forget that.
I’m reminded of this obvious fact by Nancy’s post noting Governor Romney’s comments about the arbitration provisions of the deceptively-named “Employee Free Choice Act.” I particularly liked this point: “Not only would the stakeholders — labor and management — lose their negotiating power, but government officials with no business expertise or understanding of particular industries could be granted unilateral power to dictate contracts.”
All too often I hear people talking about “government” intervention as if the government were like a machine (motto: “Input problems; output solutions!”), an entity, a thing. In reality, it is a collection of human beings — with all of the faults and limitations that we humans have.
Here’s what Mitt Romney gets that so many advocates of government intervention do not: You cannot evaluate the proposed intervention without evaluating the people involved. When it comes to economic matters, why — for example — do we think that government officials with (in general) less experience, less education, and less financial incentive to succeed in any given business would do better than the business itself in maximizing profits?
Our problem lies in expecting that businesses will not rise and fall, that there will not be booms and busts, that bulls should always be more virile than bears. When recessions occur, when businesses fail, we are often too quick to toss out the fundamental principles that created the prosperity in the first instance. Never forget, America in recession is still more prosperous than any truly socialist country ever has been (or ever will be).


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