Why the Welfare State Seems like a Good Idea; Trump; Roosevelt; Gingrich

December 8, 2011

Robert Tracinski explains a structural problem with (and leading to) Obamacare, and the welfare state generally:

. . . when the government bestows its largess, we tend [to] see only the benefits coming down from above: there are press releases and newspaper articles and a lady writes an op-ed in the LA Times. What we don’t see is where that money came from and who it came from, and what else we might have done with that money.  

Learning to notice “what is not seen” is a basic principle of good economics. Bastiat argued that it is the basic distinction between a good economist and a bad one.

(Read the whole thing.)  As Thomas Sowell once put it,

When the government creates some new program, nothing is easier than to show whatever benefits that program produces. . . . But it is virtually impossible to trace the taxes that paid for the program back to their sources and to show the alternative uses of that same money that could have been far more beneficial.

In short, the built-in bias of the media is to show what happens right under our noses, with little or no regard to what that has cost elsewhere.

In other news, some conservatives are still taking Donald Trump seriously.  The editors of National Review explain very succinctly why we shouldn’t:

We had hoped that . . . there would be no further occasion to rehearse the many ways in which his sometime association with the Republican party hurts the conservative cause. So we’ll keep it brief: Trump is a tax-hike-supporting, missile-defense-opposing, universal-health-care-advocating, eminent-domain abusing, Schumer-Weiner-Rangel-Reid-donating, long-time-pro-choice economic protectionist who in 2008 called George W. Bush “evil” and lauded president-elect Barack Obama as a potentially “great president” who would “lead by consensus.”

(hyperlinks in original)

The editors also offer their review of President Obama’s recent Teddy Roosevelt speech.

Also on National Review Online, Steven Hayward discusses Churchill and Gingrich:

But before becoming prime minister, Winston Churchill was often dismissed in similar terms by members of his own party, who complained that “his planning is all wishing and guessing,” that he was “a genius without judgment,” and that he had been “on every side of every question.” His many non-fiction books were even characterized as “autobiographies disguised as history of the universe.”

(For a more negative take on Gingrich, read pretty much anything else about him on National Review Online recently.)


Update (December 15th, 2011):  In the end, only two candidates, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, would have attended Trump’s “debate”.  Trump has decided to cancel it.

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