Cost of government
My local newspaper ran a print-only article detailing the cost of removing deer found dead on or near public roads throughout Ohio. The newspaper listed the total employee cost at over $700,000 per year. But the employees work for the state. And no one is claiming the employees would be redundant in the absence of roadkill. The cost is not the activity, it’s the expense of government employing those workers, regardless of whether they are removing roadkill on a cold December morning or sipping coffee in the warmth of a truck.
The fear of global competition
It’s a rearview mirror effect. The fear is based on the belief that the current distribution of goods is fixed, with the conclusion logically following that the zero-sum game of redistribution will benefit those in growing economies as it harms those in the advanced economies. What is missing in this analysis is that, while the distribution will change with increasing global competition, there will be more goods to distribute. All will benefit, with the possible exception of those who rent political borders.
The kindergarten playground of middle age
A letter in my local paper cries out to the reader, “We can’t sit back and continue to ignore the eating habits of children who consume unhealthy foods and beverages.” The writer then implores the local congressman to act “before time runs out.”
The writer’s plaintive plea is a throwback to the kindergarten playground. You remember these instances:
During a pickup game, one child decides he is right. And he wants the rest to agree. So he makes his case and is rightly ignored. Not taking “no” for an answer, he storms off in a petulant display of immaturity, making a beeline to the nearest playground monitor, desperate for a sympathetic ear, and hoping that the authority will use the hammer where his arguments fell short.
The letter writer still lives the life of that child. He is appealing to his congressman in order to have the societal apparatus of coercion and compulsion hammer home what he cannot effectively argue. So instead of accepting the reality that his neighbors are rightly ignoring his interventions, he begs his congressman to intervene on his behalf.
Lost in translation
My local BMV has a sign that I believe is an Orwellian translation of “Cash payment only.” The sign reads, “If you attempt to submit a fraudulent document it will be confiscated.”