Monday, January 30, 2006

The Granholm Gesture

Today's Detroit News has an editorial "There's no good reason for state to set up 401(k)s." Michigan's Governor Jennifer Granholm is proposing the state set up 401ks for small businesses. There are lots of people opposed to this idea of the state competing with private 401ks including me.

This paragraph though, I had to read twice: "[State Treasurer Jay] Rising also says setting up a 401(k) plan and hiring a firm to manage it 'can be pricey' for small companies. But the administration has also has (sic) said the state can do it 'for a nominal amount' of money."

What? Since when has Michigan (or any other state for that matter) done anything 'for a nominal amount' of money? I don't know of any state worker making only a nominal amount of money getting only a nominal amount of benifits so that I only have to pay a nominal amount of taxes. I know of used car salesmen who wouldn't try to sell me that.

But the question is: why is the state trying to assume the responsibility for providing 401(k)s in the first place? (aside from the fact that Michigan's economy is in the tank and all pols feel a profound need to "do something")

The answer can be found in the last paragraph of the editorial:
"Only the state can provide well-paved roads and a welcoming tax and regulatory structure. It doesn't always do so. Until it masters its basic duties, should it be taking on new ones?"

That's like saying "Until the state learns to violate some of our rights more efficiently, it shouldn't be allowed to violate more of them."

As long as our intellectuals-and that includes newspaper editorialists-insist that "providing well-paved (now there's a joke) roads and tax and regulatory structures" are "basic duties" of state govenment, there is no way to stop the state from including more services under the guise of "basic duties."

In a laissez-faire capitalist Michigan, the economy would not be in the tank because the government would not be allowed to interfere with the market. Back in the 80s Chrysler would have been allowed to fail. This would have made GM and Ford (and Delphi) stronger today. Compulsory unionism would not have existed so companies would have been able to adjust to globalization sooner and less painfully for sure.
But these are the unseen things. You can't see them if you confine your vision only to what is immediately infront of one's nose. Pragmatism is not practical.


sherlis gomes said...

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tim said...

My goodness in the lazy fair world,Michigan would be a garbage dump and the water would be on fire- people working in their best interest would rape the land of all they could and then move to Arizona where the weather is better - sure people would sue but judges and lawers working in their best interest would take the cash and move to florida where they have better weather. maybe yes maybe no - who knows - how do we get to this fantastic place? this form of government you speak of, does it require a violent overthrow how does it affect property rights ...if I own my property to the sky how do I get my cut of the airspace taxes that I would impose from any airline wishing to use my airspace what about satalites. what about all of the waves (radio and the like) I don't like them nobody is allowed my airspace to transmit through. In my utopian world I am the king and all are subject to my rules which can change as often as I feel. But you would love it on Tim island - only a select few are welcome and the weather is nice

Mike N said...

Tim, I don't know where you got all those crazy ideas about laissez-faire capitalism but you need to challenge some of the notions you hold. Laissez-faire does not mean without government. A laissez-faire Michigan would enforce property rights with ruthless abandon. If for example, a company wanted to polute river water running through its property it would be free to do so. But that water had better be clean when it crossed the property line onto the property of others.

This would not happen very often because corporations would have evolved with the concept of individual rights and would consider the practice of avoiding violating the individual rights of others as a normal business practice. We had water on fire before because intellectuals (unversity professors), media pundits and sitting judges didn't have a clue how to adjudicate the concept of individual rights. Most still don't.

You seem to have a malevolent view of human life. Your ideal of socialism (I'm assuming since you didn't say what you're for, only against) views man as an evil being who must be forced to do good. Capitalism views man as a good being who must be free to chose the rational and punishes him for choosing the irrational. Since the moral is the chosen, it is only capitalism that provides man with a moral society.

I don't think you'll accept capitalism unless you change you're view of man first. For that I highly reccommend "The Virtue of Selfishness" by Ayn Rand and /or "Loving Life" by Craig Biddle

tim said...

ok so maybe I was having a bad day - and I haven't read any Ayn Rand- perhaps I should (I just finished Harry Potter #6 and am ready for a new good book)(I strongly suggest reading all of the HP series.) I don't mean to ignorantly criticize but when your ignorant there's not much else you can do. but seriously people have a very greedy way of doing the least for the most