The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

November 6, 2013

Will disillusioned media investigate Benghazi?

The question many on the left are asking as they witness the Obama administration flail in response to HealthCare.gov’s debut disaster is: How could this happen? Obama is so brilliant, so capable and so wise. How could he bungle his signature initiative?

He isn’t, but even if he were, it wouldn’t make a particle of difference. One of the central delusions of progressives is that government is efficient and effective and that complex human societies are amenable to centralized control and direction.

We on the right presume government ineptitude. The Washington Post reports today, for example, that the federal employee retirement system paid more than $400 million in benefits over the past few years to deceased retirees. On the same page, we learn that despite the U.S. government’s $7 billion investment in combatting heroin cultivation in Afghanistan, the trade is booming. Last week, the Brookings Institution published a study suggesting that Cash for Clunkers was a failure, costing taxpayers $1.4 million for each of the 3,676 jobs created.

This is normal. There are common sense reasons for it — explanations available to most students of Econ 101. Those spending other people’s money have very little incentive to economize or seek top value. Nor can central bureaucrats possibly have enough information to make wise decisions about something as complex as one-sixth of a $16 trillion economy. As Friedich A. Hayek cautioned: “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

Discovering that government lacks competence in many areas is what caused a critical group of liberal intellectuals to become the “neo-conservatives” in the 1970s and 1980s. Irving Kristol, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Norman Podhoretz, Michael Novak and others were not moved only by anti-Communism. They were first chastened by studying the failures of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.

Text Only
Opinion
  • 4-15-14 13-Photo, Masters Bubba more than local hero? AUGUSTA, Ga. -- He plays a sexy game of golf, owns two green jackets and -- in what constitutes a show of major respect in these parts --Bubba Watson made rabid Georgia Bulldog fans take a break from spring football to watch some golf this weekend. A

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Leonard Pitts mug ...and this is Overkill News Network Enough, already. Please, for the love of Cronkite: Give us a break from the missing plane. Yes, we all wonder what happened to it. Yes, our hearts go out to the families seeking resolution. But really, CNN ... enough. Put your hands up and step away

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • If I can do it... If I can do this, you can also do this. What I would like to tell you about is being a volunteer driver for the Veterans Administration. I am retired from the electrical trade. I worked as an electrician for 36 years. When I took my retirement some t

    April 15, 2014

  • Allie Kibler mugshot YWCA camp offers fun for kids Each month YWCA members and volunteers are featured highlighting the many facets of our community in which they're a part of. This month, YWCA Youth Director, Allie Kibler shares information on this summer's YWCA Fun in the Sun Summer Camp program. T

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Could LBJ do as much today? Fifty years later, it's hard to imagine the enactment of the Civil Rights Act by today's polarized Congress. Maybe, as the old saying goes, today's fighting is so vicious because the stakes are so small. We Americans fight less among ourselves when w

    April 14, 2014

  • Retiring CCC instructors praise college's growth, direction After more than 35 years of service to Clinton Community College, we would like to offer some pre-retirement observations about the college: its past, its present and its future. When we arrived at the college in 1976, it had already been transforme

    April 14, 2014

  • School funding still an ongoing topic The budget still has several hurdles to jump before it is finalized. Now the House has to reach a consensus and then if the House and Senate cannot agree, a conference committee would have to merge the two versions. Finally, the governor has to sign

    April 12, 2014

  • Meier Take a survey, win a cruise; not going to happen A Clinton woman called me last week to report on a phone call she received. She first received a call from a young woman, who asked her to take a short survey. It sounded innocent enough, so she agreed, and answered a few questions, none of which so

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Economic plan invests in Iowans Our work at the statehouse this week has been spent on the last few major budget bills. Since I serve as vice-chairwoman of the Economic Development Budget subcommittee, I have been focused on House File 2460. This bill funds small business developm

    April 12, 2014

  • The cool way of driving around

    Driving around with the windows down has taken on a whole new perspective.
    With spring finally arriving, I was able to roll down my windows, bask in the sunlight and turn up the tunes in my car this week. As I age, the music has changed a bit, and even three years ago, I wrote about the morphing tune of how “cool” I appeared while cruising around.

    April 11, 2014

Poll

Should the city of Clinton appeal the open records violation ruling that will cost taxpayers $40,600?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook