Pres. Obama spoke in
Kansas yesterday (he seemed a bit confused about where he was) and went on and on about fairness. I think he might have used the word "fair" more than the first person singular pronoun, possibly the first time ever that he uttered any word more than "I", "my" and "me" in a speech.
To channel an old boss, fairness is like motherhood. Who could possibly be against it? I'm certainly all for fairness in society; my problem (as I have said before
) has to do with the answers to two questions:
- Who gets to decide what's "fair"?
- Why do those people get to make that decision?
I have a sneaking suspicion that I, along with many others, would disagree with Obama's answers to both questions.
The editorial board at Investors Business Daily has a similar take
: "The problem is that fairness, just like hope and change, can mean anything anyone wants it to." (H/T Professor Reynolds)
I'm getting a bad feeling that Obama is messing with those immutable laws
Labels: Economics, Fairness, Obama, politics, Populism
Reading the papers and online news about what's going on in Europe, China, Washington, New York, California and other places around the world, it occurs to me that there are several types of laws that no politician, legislature, dictator or elected leader, however powerful, can change, affect or do anything whatsoever about, except possibly to delay the inevitable in some limited circumstances. Among these are the laws of mathematics, the laws of physics, the laws of economics and the law of unintended consequences with its famous corollary, Murphy's Law.
Any action taken contrary to or in disregard of any of these laws is doomed to failure. Sometimes that failure is catastrophic. For example, I'm no expert but it seems what is going on in the Eurozone is a prime candidate for such a catastrophe.
The unfortunate part is that the politicians, etc., who take such actions usually either are not around to experience the consequences of their hubris or exempt themselves from those consequences, and the masses of people affected by those actions usually suffer out of all proportion to their behavior.
In this election season in the United States, we would do well to ascertain who among the candidates at all levels (including incumbents) are most and least likely to ignore or violate those immutable laws, and vote accordingly.
Labels: Economics, government, Law, politicians