Bryan Caplan  

Repugnantly Corrupt Bargains

PRINT
FP2P: Paul Romer Interv... The Regulators' Cognitive Fail...
Even if I favored Obama's move towards socialized medicine, I'd still be repulsed by the bribes and opportunism of the legislation designed to take us there.  I can see the appeal of coercing for a pure cause.  I can't see is the appeal of coercing for a cause full of corrupt bargains that no one would privately defend with a straight face.  Random example:
Other revisions take aim at insurance industry margins and taxes, including a cap on profits.

Still, insurers would see a delay to the bulk of new taxes and now they would be phased-in over time. The amendment dropped the bill's controversial tax on elective cosmetic surgery but added a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning, a potential cause of cancer.

When people like me defend human cloning, Leon Kass laments, "Shallow are the souls that have forgotten how to shudder."  What baffles me: How can people who shudder at  new ways to create human life yawn at the Jungle-esque DC sausage factory?


Comments and Sharing





COMMENTS (8 to date)
David J. Balan writes:

You should be mad at the people who *demanded* the bribes. The people who paid them did so because they had no choice other than to give up on what they regard as a first-order priority.

E. Barandiaran writes:

Sorry but I laugh at your repulsion of bribes and opportunism in the government's decision-making process. Please don't raise moral issues when politicians are working for you. A few days ago, I wrote a comment on a Tyler's post saying that I was surprised how little public choice was informing his analysis. Now I have to say the same about your analysis of government decision-making.
Mr. Balan, you're right about what politicians should give up to achieve their good intentions. Today, Robert Samuelson has a column about the good intentions of your president.

david writes:

Bryan, are you also opposed to any of the free trade agreements signed by the US recently on the basis of their numerous, numerous corrupt bargains?

There is virtually no interesting legislation in the US that doesn't include pork in order to get it through Congress.

Ron Paul notoriously claims to be pro-free-trade by opposes actual free trade agreements on the grounds of they being insufficiently free (that this plays well with anti-trade elements in the conservative base is a complete coincidence, I'm sure). The attitude espoused here seems similar.

I ask only for consistency ;)

The Cupboard Is Bare writes:

"I can see the appeal of coercing for a pure cause. I can't see is the appeal of coercing for a cause full of corrupt bargains that no one would privately defend with a straight face."

Everyone thinks their cause is pure, and as a result will think that coercion is an appropriate course of action.

Tom writes:

Allow me to pile on.

Yes, it's very disappointing and scary to realize that we live in a world where people occasionally have to do distasteful things in the short term to get something done.

Maybe you could come up with some suggestions for *practicable* ways to achieve the same objective, instead of wringing your hands about how it's "corrupt" and imperfect? No, wait -- you just do theory.

SydB writes:

"What baffles me: How can people who shudder at new ways to create human life yawn at the Jungle-esque DC sausage factory?"

You've apparently not familiarized yourself with the human genetic code. Quite the sausage factory in it.

ECM writes:

"What baffles me: How can people who shudder at new ways to create human life yawn at the Jungle-esque DC sausage factory?"

Jesus, that's about as flawed an analogy as I've ever seen put to 'paper'.

Douglass Holmes writes:

You go, Bryan!! There is nothing inconsistent about pointing out the amount of bribery that went into the healthcare bill. It is all part of the cost of the bill. Weighing costs against benefits is part of the analysis that we must do as voters. Some of us think the healthcare bill would be too expensive, even without all the bribes.
Your comparison to creating new human life (via new techniques such as cloning) is quite appropriate. Some people fear the new repreoductive technologies because of the complications and unintended consequences they could bring. I think we have a lot to fear in the healtcare bill for the same reasons.

Comments for this entry have been closed
Return to top