Thursday, April 11, 2013

Peter Orszag Syndrome

That's what I call it anyway. What the astrophysicists and linear
algebra geeks did to finance, these arrogant, hubristic dicks will do
to government policy. If we let them get away with it.
This isn't just a failure of an overly conservative Administration
that has somehow bought into the austerity line. It's not just the
failure of a Washington culture dominated by corruption and neoliberal
economic theory.

It's also the failure of a crew of Ivy League technocratic wonks in
love with their ability to design complicated legislative contraptions
designed to cut costs by using abstruse measures to slice away fat
from people they think can take it, while leaving just enough meat on
the bone so no one completely starves.

The complexities of this Social Security "solution" remind one of the
Affordable Care Act. The answer to the healthcare crisis should have
been Medicare for All from the very beginning. Politically feasible?
Perhaps not. But that should have been the starting point for

And the answer to the Social Security non-crisis, such as it is,
should be to raise the payroll cap. It's that simple. Politically
feasible? Perhaps not. But that should be the starting point.

It's impossible to prove, of course, but one gets the sense that these
arcane machinations are being pursued not so much out of necessity, as
out of a wonkish belief that the new crew of preppy budget wonks can
rightsize the government to behave with greater efficiency and lower
cost without real damage to the system. It's as though the lean
company craze that overtook corporate America in the 1990s has finally
hit the government as well, with predictable results.

The Obama Administration promised a bloodless government that
abandoned ideology in order to reach across the aisle to do what is
"practical." The only problem is that trend-seeking Ivy League wonks
vastly overestimate their ability to cut efficiently and bloodlessly
without nicking an artery. "Practical" is usually in the eye of the
beholder. When all the beholders went to Harvard and make six figures,
their eyes tend to shaded.
Spot on. Enough with these ridiculous, Rube Goldberg policy approaches
where we have better, simpler solutions available. You'll ruin the
country, ruin lives, and wreck the Democratic Party with these
too-cute bullshit shell game policies.

End rant.

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