A certain smugness

A certain smugness

As damaging as President Biden’s multitrillion-dollar – and loosely monikered — “infrastructure” plan stands to be, the foundation for real and lasting damage comes from the “brain trust” on which he appears to be relying to further elevate government (and not the private sector) to lord master over the American economy.

As The Wall Street Journal notes, “The Biden agenda rests on the notion that (the immutable laws of economics) have evolved.

“The administration’s policies are rooted in economic research focused on perceived free-market flaws, much of it conducted by young, left-leaning economists and activists now scattered throughout the administration,” the newspaper says.

Do note, the above comes not from an editorial or commentary but from a front-page straight news story.

But as Kevin Hassett of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution reminds, “The laws of economics can’t be repealed.”

Yet that’s exactly what the administration’s radical liberal youngsters are trying to do. “Progressive”? Progressive regressivism, if anything.

Mark J. Perry, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2017, offered an important tutorial on the fallacy in a discussion on the folly of government-set wage floors. It is readily applicable to Biden’s new master plan to ensure government is master instead of servant.

And, Perry says, it involves implementing important public policies by disregarding the fundamental principles and laws of the one and only profession that that provides a systematic framework of analysis for evaluating the inevitable and predictable consequences of those government actions.

“That to me seems like a completely irresponsible and dangerous approach to public policy,” Perry cautioned. “Once we ignore the only systematic framework of analysis for evaluating the effects of (government action), we move from a world of scientific and objective economic reality into a fantasy world disconnected from economic reality.

“And that’s a dangerous and irresponsible world that guarantees political mischief and malpractice, which is guaranteed to makes us collectively worse, not better, off.”

Yet acolytes far and wide cheer such policies along. Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto are among the nation’s biggest cheerleaders.

Indeed, there is a certain smugness in elected and appointed leaders near and far in stating without equivocation that government wage floors don’t discriminate against minorities; that hijacking the free market with command economics is better for the “collective” and that “green” energy is the key to our “sustainable future,” never mind that it remains unsustainable no matter who spins it or how it is spun.

To name just a few of the myriad Biden fallacies.

“Not only would this plan damage the economy and waste unimaginable amounts of taxpayer money but it also would cause permanent damage to our democracy,” argues Heritage Foundation scholar David Ditch in a recent commentary.

“By enacting federal programs to micromanage state, local and private sector responsibilities such as drinking water, internet, housing, school buildings and the power grid, Washington would have too much control over too many things.

“To do so at a time when the federal government is already too large for Congress to oversee, and growing faster than we can possibly afford, is a recipe for dysfunction and unaccountable governance.”

Yet, propose it anew succeeding generations of “leaders” do.

America will pay a steep price for such smugness. For bankrupt public policies invariably lead to bankruptcy, economic and moral.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).