Don Boudreaux’s Cafe Hayek blog is one of my favorites, and a daily read. His commonsense approach to economics is perhaps a similar style to our commonsense (hopefully!) and blunt approach to enterprise excellence. I guess that’s giving us too much credit.
Don is chair of the economics department at George Mason University in Virginia, and as such he has the clout to get some of his letters and editorials published in top tier media outlets. A couple of his recent letters really hit home thanks to their sarcastic and sometimes adverse simplicity.
Take, for example, this one.
Thanks for your e-mail alerting me to Presidential-hopeful John Edwards’s proposal to create "a regulatory commission to protect consumers from dangerous financial products."
If such a commission does its job, I suggest that the first dangerous financial product that it attacks be Social Security. Not only are Social Security’s returns lousy; not only are its "customers" never vested their "contributions"; not only does the institution providing it have no sound plan to keep it solvent; not only does this institution intentionally mislead its clients about its insolvency (witness its discussions of the illusory "trust fund") – but its "customers" are forced to buy it. That is a dangerous financial product!
Indeed. How about one more.
Like economic alchemists, Senators Clinton and Obama peddle plans to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on various government projects that will create millions of jobs.
Creating jobs – creating demand for workers – is no challenge. Vandals and arsonists do so routinely. What is a challenge is to create opportunities for workers to earn good incomes while producing real value for others, where value is confidently measured by the amounts that buyers voluntarily pay for what is produced. As far as I know, Sens. Clinton and Obama (and, for that matter, McCain) have never created a business whose success relied upon producing outputs efficiently and then selling these outputs at prices attractive to consumers.
So why suppose that any of their "plans" to create innovative industries and jobs are anything more than the cheap-to-dream-up fantasies of self-important politicians accustomed to spending other people’s money?
Are they promoting "push jobs" instead of "pull jobs" based on demand? Sounds like a fundamental lean concept, in action.