Links to Consider, 11/25
David Epstein and Annie Duke; David Harsanyi dunks on the New Right; Matt Goodwin on Britain's plight; Erik Torenberg on elite overproduction;
Interviewed byAnnie Duke says,
When we think in advance about the signals we might see in the future that would tell us we ought to walk away — and then commit in advance to actually walking away when we see those — we are better off. If you say in advance that when I’m climbing this mountain, if a fog rolls in, I’m going to walk away, it does make a difference when that fog rolls in, and by a lot.
The white-collar worker in Virginia or North Carolina, living in a multi-use neighborhood, probably isn’t as preoccupied with drag queen story hour or the intrigues of Big Tech or the Justice Department or Chinese tariffs — as important as those issues might be — as Josh Hawley seems to believe. The suburban voter might be more socially liberal these days, but they are still dispositional conservative. And one strongly suspects they would rather see public school reform, bigger retirement accounts, and lower property tax bills than a commissar regulating the internet or some protectionist policy killing economic dynamism.
Enter Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt. Britain’s self-styled compassionate conservatives have today administered some tough medicine and made it clear Britain will have to keep taking it until the end of the 2020s. At the heart of their approach is £30 billion of tax rises, which will send Britain’s overall level of taxation to the highest point since World War Two, and £30 billion of spending cuts which, shrewdly, they have largely deferred until after the next general election.
In just 55 days, then, Britain has gone from being promised £30 billion in tax cuts to being given £30 billion of tax rises —and by the very same party. It is a remarkable turn of events.
Britain faces high debt, high inflation, and a recession. If an election were held today, the left would win resoundingly. Have a nice day, Blighty.writes,
we've created a huge surplus class of administrators in our imperial machine. And there's simply not enough things for them to do since all the manufacturing is done somewhere else. So one way to view some of these activist-oriented jobs is to see them as a make-work program for elites. There is a whole web of managerial technocrats, government regulators, activists, people who run media orgs, NGOs, etc that helps serve this goal. To be sure, there’s lots of great people doing important work at philanthropic organizations, but there are also plenty of people at both private and public sector organizations who are claiming to be doing important work but are not actually having an impact—and there’s often insufficient accountability mechanisms to do something about it.
Torenberg is completely correct- we are increasingly producing nothing but bureaucrats at every level of our society. There will be a reckoning at some point.
"And one strongly suspects they would rather see public school reform, bigger retirement accounts, and lower property tax bills"
Sure, but are any of those possible? Seriously.
What do parents mean by "public school reform"? I think they mean that somehow the schools will teach something, something called education, and by so doing will cause their children to be prosperous after they leave school. But the schools can't. But the schools can't. At the most basic, nobody knows what makes someone prosperous, and a fortiori, how to teach that. Redoing how you teach Algebra Two or American History isn't going to do squat for making students prosperous. Both parties honestly believe they can "fix" the schools to do something like that. They are delusional, as the history of the past sixty years pretty strongly suggests.
In the long run, "bigger retirement accounts" come from economic growth. But in the short run, it's "animal spirits" and asset inflation, the latter often from policies that have long-term harm. Policies that promote long-term growth don't show results until the, um, long-term. Which doesn't help at the next election.
"Lower property tax bills" either mean the local government does less, or the state or federal government pays for more local expenses. Which eventually means higher sales and income taxes. Or the inflation of consistent deficits. As far as I can tell, there is very little constituency for "cut local spending", which means there is probably not much serious constituency for "lower property tax bills". When the local government says, "If we lower property taxes, we'll have to cut X, Y, and Z services", the people who called for lower property taxes will fold.