Last Call

by Dave Schuler on November 5, 2012

Larry Sabato of the Center for Politics has made his final call before the election. That’s it, above.

It’s not far from the predictions I’m on record as making other than Iowa and New Hampshire. My reasoning on New Hampshire is the high proportion of tax refugees in the state. My reasoning on Iowa is that they’re just fed up.

This is the scenario I’ve been calling “rearranging the deck chairs”. Remember: every sitting Congressman will have won his or her own election and has his or her own constituents and, if he’s re-elected, the President Obama won’t be running again.

{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Schuler November 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I dont know what the right size of govt we should have.

Neither do I. However, considering that government at all levels presently is about 40% of GDP, for most of our history that has been less, the proportion of taxes we’ve historically been able to extract from the private sector has been less than that, it’s probably somewhere below that.

Steve Verdon November 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm

It is what we did until 1980.

Uhhhmmm no. From 1945 to 1980 the U.S. ran a deficit in 27 out of 35 years. The U.S. was not in recession for 27 years.

Nice try, but not good enough.

Icepick November 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

We never let our growth in debt exceed GDP growth. That is how that over 100% of GDP in debt after WWII shrank. It also happened a bit when Clinton was in office.

And what about your boy Barry 0? How’s that trillion dollar a year (in the good years) deficit spending get us to a balanced budget?

Steve Verdon November 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm

You know as well as I do that businesses dont want to compete.

Yes, and the best way not to compete….use the government. Limit entry, make competitors costs higher, etc.

We continue to have pro-business and pro-businessman policies that are not leading to social good.

Don’t confuse rent seeking with a pro-business policy.

your solution seems to be that we make govt smaller and weaker. Then, for some reason, businesses will behave.

No, my solution is to take away the ability to engage in rent seeking.

A smaller govt just means fewer people to buy. It means fewer people to investigate when you do things wrong. It means a focus on the short term with no vision for the long term. It means a decrease in long term innovation.

My view is you can buy the government guys, but there wont be much they can do in regards to rent seeking. Take away not just the size but the scope.

As for innovation, you need to take a closer look. Government hampers innovation. Government is not in favor of change and a dynamic market. A dynamic market means entire industries will come and go. If we had our current government back in the late 1800s there would likely not be a single whale or dolphin alive. They’d engage in various policies to ration and ensure the survival of the whale oil industry and whaling in general for generations to come. Instead, some guy figured out how to refine oil into kerosene another guy figured out to more efficiently extract oil from the earth, and boom! No more whaling. An entire industry made extinct.

Look at our current copyright and patent system. Look at how companies are using patents for anything and everything they possibly can for strategic advantages and to limit competition.

Then there is the subsidizing favored green energy technologies. How much of that is determined by political wheeling and dealing vs. letting the market determine which technology is best? How many politicians have ever said, “You know that was a bad call, lets stop and try this?” I can’t think of any either. Instead they double, triple, and quadruple down on existing policies.

Exactly which Bush policies has Obama not continued?

I dont know what the right size of govt we should have. We should just figure out what it should do, pay for it, then stay out of everything else.

What a charming thought. Now, back here in reality we see that the U.S. almost never runs a surplus and in stead almost always runs deficits…and when surpluses do exist they are usually a fraction of the deficits. So we see a history of mounting debt and lately the rate of accumulation has been staggering.

And neither of the candidates out there espoused this view…well okay they blew alot smoke up people’s butts, but in reality not a damn thing is going to be done about the deficit/debt.

I think the only way we have to resolve that right now is through a market. A market of voters.

WTFAYTA? You can’t have a market for voters without people being allowed to buy and sell votes.

….I think we have to trust the voters as much as you are willing to let consumers and producers trust them when it comes to commerce.

Everything I know about voting schemes tells me that voting is far worse than letting the market allocate resources. Voting schemes fail in numerous ways. Take for example voting in small committees, those are subject to a variety of deceptive and gaming strategies that can result in sub-optimal outcomes. The median voter approach is very sensitive to the distribution of preferences and only works in voting on a single issue. Then there are things like cycling (intransitive preferences), burying, push over and other problems.

Icepick already highlighted how this election could be viewed as voters picking both higher unemployment, lower taxes and more spending an incoherent outcome if ever there was one.

So no, I think we should trust voters with as little as possible.

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