Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sticking with the playbook

The political allure of industrial policy is clear. Picking "winners" can easily be confused with picking voters.

All this has been fused to the "need" for ever more deficit spending. And Federal Reserve printing presses have been joined to state and local government "needs".

The critics pin President Obama's falling approval numbers on "not focusing enough" on the economy, but what can they possibly mean? The Administration's playbook is pretty clear. The critics say he should do even more in the way of deficit spending -- picking ever more "winners". Thomas Sowell has aptly summed up the thinking of Obama's critics on the left: "Heads-I-win-tails-you-lose." The poor showing for all the spending is not that it's bad policy, but there has just not been enough of it.

The beauty of it is that you can apply this model to anything that has not worked out so well. Spanking the incorrigible kid not working? You did not spank enough! War on Drugs not working out so well? Ramp it up.

When there is just one playbook, what else can you do?