Monday, April 09, 2007

Here are a few questions for anyone involved in politics. Anyone who can't give a reasonable, honest answer to both versions of each isn't worth paying attention to:
  • Cite an instance in which (lowering taxes on the top income bracket/raising taxes on earners below the median) was prudent.
  • Cite an example of union action resulting in a (positive/negative) outcome from society's perspective.
  • What area of the economy is (over-regulated/under-regulated)? Why? How would you change it?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Of many articles I've read about gay marriage, this is the most thoughtful.
When I was young, I remember hearing talk about "splitting your ballot" - voting for one party for president and another for congress. At the time, I thought it was a pretty stupid idea. The last 12 years or so have made me reconsider. It seems that divided government is the only way to get reasonable policy. Needless to say, I'm glad the Democrats regained control of congress; but when 2008 rolls around, I won't forget this lesson.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Why are means and ends so often conflated in politics today?

Intellectual laziness? Perhaps.

An attempt to mislead? More likely.

In any case, it drives me crazy. One can argue that ends justify means (the torture debate, for instance). I don't accept this, but it can be rationally argued. What can't be argued rationally is that rejection of the means is a rejection of the ends. Many on the left are justifiably critical of the Republicans attempt to tar those against torture with the label "pro-terrorist." However, some on the left engage in the same intellectual dishonesty in the minimum wage debate arguing something like:

Raising the minimum wage is an anti-poverty measure. If you are against raising the minimum wage, you are "pro-poverty."

So my plea to politicians, policy advocates, and voters is this:

Let's be idealistic in debating the role of government and defining its goals. Let's be pragmatic in debating the implementation of those goals.

A corollary: don't trust anyone married to a policy. If the ends change to fit the means, there is something fishy going on (Bush's tax cuts and the Iraq War are two fine examples).