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Discussion: (4 comments)

  1. (Please see my long comment appended to the earlier article today on this paper: “Is the age of fast U.S. economic growth coming to an end?” (

  2. LadyLiberty

    You lost me with this phrase “of stuff government could do”

    1. Allow me to interject and offer some ideas:

      Stuff government could do:

      1. Get out of my way

      2. Get out of your way

      3. Get of THE way

  3. The “Governments Can Pursue…” chart is screwed up.

    It contains, in its lowest category for government, three items that have no place in government:

    1. “Establish and track key productivity metrics by sector”

    2. “Set retirement incentives to reward staying in the workforce”

    3. “Set evolving energy efficiency standards”

    None of these three is any of the government’s business. (No pun intended.)

    Regarding tracking “metrics” (I hate that word – used by pretentious types too often, as is the word “methodology”), I don’t see why. First of all, government (and some academic) figures are to be taken with a grain of salt. Or a handful. Maybe a bucket. For example, had you noticed that we haven’t had any significant inflation over the past ten or so years? No, I mean, here, on Earth. Because there seems to be a “discrepancy” between the rate at which money is coming out of my checking account and figures quoted in the CPI. Maybe they’re tracking inflation on Mars. At least that would establish some comprehensible purpose to the enormous cost of yet-another-Mars-rover.

    Second, (still on the tracking “metrics” thing), didn’t the first post-war governor/administrator/whatever-they-called-it of Hong Kong, John Cowperthwaite, forbid the collection of economic statistics by the government? Wasn’t it because he didn’t want a bunch of government and academic busy-bodies trying to micromanage economic activity there? How’s their GDP rate of growth going, say….in comparison with…I dunno…ummm….OURS? The “policymakers” and their staffs who would create new government programs, agencies, laws, taxes, and regulations on the basis of such statistics are not solutions to economic problems but rather the source of both exacerbation of existing problems and the creation of entirely new ones. Put down as against the tracking “metrics” thing.

    Regarding the setting of retirement incentives, I’m more in favor of government getting out of the retirement business. I think people ought to handle that themselves. There should be no setting of retirement incentives by government because there should be no government in the funding of retirement.

    With regard to “energy efficiency standards” there should not be any. At all. Whatsoever. None. If people and businesses want energy efficient stuff, they’ll favor such products and services in the market. If they don’t favor it in their purchasing decisions, then obviously they don’t care about it. I’m an example. I don’t care about it. At all. Whatsoever. All of you who joined the AGW cult or decided to move to the intellectual doldrums of Peak Oil Jonestown are, in my opinion, idiots. Hopefully temporary idiots who will come back to reality at some point (Betty Ford clinic?), but for now, idiots nonetheless.

    With regard to the blog post author’s list, I would scratch “investment” (it’s called SPENDING, not investment) in basic research (at least at the federal level – if the states want to, I don’t care), and I wouldn’t try to control what kinds of degrees college students want to pursue. (However, I’d stop guaranteeing their student loans. You want a degree in Ethnomusicology, that’s fine, but pay for it yourself.)

    There is no magic government solution to the economy other than government just getting out of the way.

    Government has some legitimate roles: national defense, protection of individual rights, enforcement of contracts, and peaceful resolution of disputes. Management of the economy – not so much. (Recent discussion of monetary policy largely irrelevant to discussion of command economics, cronyism, and socialism.)

    The government, however, reflects the (badly disturbed) childlike nature of society. Jealousy, fear, and a bizarre willingness to submit and enter dependency are the agents of rot underlying the current and inevitable future problems here. I don’t have the foggiest idea how you get rid of them.

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