Arnold Kling  

Insiders vs. Outsiders

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Republicans are filibustering for this?


Anyone who underwrites a mortgage which doesn't meet minimum underwriting rules would have to retain at least 5% economic interest in the trust.

All of their proposals are variations on the ideas in the Democratic bill, as opposed to my ideas. In the grand scheme of things, I cannot see why the differences between the Democratic proposals and the Republican proposals are worth a filibuster. Of course, by the same token, it would make a ton of sense for the Democrats to just compromise--except that would actually result in the passage of a bill, which is less politically attractive than creating a huge fight over minor differences. Barf.

This relates to the question of whether the Tea Party movement can accomplish anything. Once they come to Washington, will the politicians that the Tea Party elects really be much different?

Ultimately, a lot of power in Washington is held by Insiders. That includes the permanent bureaucracy and lobbyists. Can an Outsider with an ideological agenda overcome the Insiders? As long as you are not trying to do something like get rid of sugar quotas, lobbyists are not too much of a problem. You can work with them, buy them off, etc.

But the bureaucracy is tougher. If they love your agenda to begin with, fine. The EPA will be only to happy to regulate carbon dioxide, with or without legislative authority, if that's what the President wants.

But when the bureaucracy is against you, where do you start? You vote Republican hoping to abolish the Department of Education, and you end up with No Child Left Behind.

It's very hard to beat the Insiders at their own game. That's why financial reform and health care reform are turning out to be status-quo reinforcement mechanisms.


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COMMENTS (10 to date)
Arthur_500 writes:

Many years ago a young man introduced me to the phrase, "When we take over the world the first thing we need to do is find out who 'They' are; the 'We' can be 'They.'" I know not to whom it was originally attributed but I really think the phrase sums up politics. It has little to do about accomplishing something useful and everything to do with power.

The Tea Party is basically a collection of fed up people with no place to go. There are those who have usurped it for the Christian extreme right thereby insuring that disaffected individuals who do not agree with their social rightwing doctrine will run from the Republican and Tea Party organizations.

I am somewhat amazed at the success of the left-wing which first took over the House and then the Presidency leaving the Senate to look downright moderate by comparison. I think this has happened because the religous right has turned away so many who believe conservatism means, "leave me alone," and that includes what I do in my bedroom, doctor's office, and other private areas.

This leaves a cadre of people who think of politics as a chess game and they play it without regard to the results of their actions. Which brings me to my own homemade phrase, "Politics is the opiate of the selfish (morons)."

ThomasL writes:

I think the Tea Party is a strange synthesis of "exit" and "voice" all at once.

People got so fed up with the RNC the DNC, they simply quit and started a new organizational structure.

Not really a third party, but a new mechanism for driving the debate that exists outside of the party hierarchies.

That is exit.

Voice is that it is still about trying to get someone to listen and change. They want the politicians to see their signs and change positions to match. Most tea party sorts don't seem to be thinking of exiting the whole system we have--exiting a political party organizational structure was as far as they got.

That is too bad, because I think the Washington party is stronger than all of them, and will go on much the same, no matter how many signs are waved or tea party sympathizers are elected to join it.

ThomasL writes:

I should say, I used the term "Washington party" others have talked about "country-clubs," Dr. Kling has used "ruling class." David Brooks today talked about Washington groupthink, Thomas Sowell talks about intellectuals and the anointed.

It is all pretty much the same thing, the elites by any other name.

My favorite way of looking at it though is as the "Inner Ring" -- taken from CS Lewis's famous and excellent lecture. Being inside the ruling class in Washington is perhaps being inside the ultimate "Inner Ring" on earth at this time.

It is a hard enough moral struggle against all the much less grand rings most us are confronted with in business, school, etc. I believe that the "Inner Ring" of Washington may be too strong a pull for anyone, but it almost certainly too strong for the people that want to go.

Mala Lex writes:

By my reading, Rothbard seemed to think the Pendleton act essentially sealed the fate of the republic - it set in motion a never-ending borg that is increasingly too entrenched for any but a near-unanimous political coalition.

Toss in the leftist tilt to media, the academy, schoolteachers and that unanimity seems nigh impossible.

As for the Pendleton Act, I for one can't imagine a PR campaign for a return to the spoils system. So maybe we're stuck with the all-consuming government worker blob.

Rebecca Burlingame writes:

All the more reason for people not in power to make systems for themselves that don't rely on Washington to carry out. I like the use of the word Barf, it gave me a laugh on a day when I could use one.

Doc Merlin writes:

There is a not more objectionable in the bill. Look at the VC stuff, it would cripple VC. Plus at this point the republicans are filibustering everything they have an excuse to.

'But when the bureaucracy is against you, where do you start? You vote Republican hoping to abolish the Department of Education, and you end up with No Child Left Behind.

It's very hard to beat the Insiders at their own game. That's why financial reform and health care reform are turning out to be status-quo reinforcement mechanisms.'

Yah this is an issue. I am unsure exactly how to deal with it.

Les Cargill writes:

It took a really long chain of political blunders
(some of which were quite subtle) to cause the
Republican Party to be formed, or really, for the
Whigs to self-dissolve. I suppose that we can
presume that the bureaucrats and the elected are
both more or less acting rationally, so it's most
unlikely to change.

There are simply far too many people out there who
want to do Robin-Hansonian expensive social
signaling with other people's money.

Doc Merlin writes:

Re: Pendleton Act

Yes, I've thought that for a very long time. The spoils system allowed pork to work without it costing extra, and every four years it was possible to completely overturn the system. The Pendleton Act made political payoffs much more expensive, and almost impossible to back off from. After the act, the payoffs just built up and up and up and became almost impossible to back away from.

mulp writes:

Well, the Republicans in an effort to prevent a tax payer bailout again are opposed to the prefunded resolution trust, so that when the next big financial institution has to be taken over and dismembered like the FDIC does once a day, the tax payer will need to fund the resolution. Then we will be in the same place we are with TARP that mandates a tax proposal to recover the cost of TARP with objections from every quarter.

So, the Republican no-more-taxpayer-bailouts institutionalizes more bailouts.

Anyone who thinks Republicans will agree to taxes on banks to pay for their resolution costs expects President Palin to sign it into law.

Taimyoboi writes:

So Professor Kling, when are you going to run for office? I'd donate to your campaign.

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