Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Bad and good tidings

Some people want to "get the money out of politics" and get huffy about the Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.  But these same folks embrace bail-outs and all manner of industrial policy crony capitalism.  Politicized auto bailouts (sold with the help of scare talk and misinformation about bankruptcy) sure did not hurt Barack Obama win re-election.  He's the guy who tut-tutted the Supreme Court justices attending his state of the union speech for Citizens United.

Perhaps Mancur Olson was right that this is the fate of mature democracies. In a Mancur Olson world, can policy on budget matters be anything but kick-the-can-down-the-road?  That would not be good.

But here are the positives.  A president not looking for a second term, but towards history's judgement, tries for creativity in fiscal policy.   He spends some political capital and considers incremental polices like those listed by James Hamilton.  Chastened Republicans grab the opportunities.