David Hines
Nothing doing
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By David Hines
October 1, 2012

Populists are disgruntled with the Do-Nothing Senate. A new sheriff rides into town. Suddenly things can get done. Since the new guy crossed the Rubicon with lots of troops, each Senator suspects that if he isn't a rubber stamp he will be a corpse. If the guy with all those gladii at his beck and call says it's a good idea, then it must be a good idea. Should any be so obtuse as to miss the point, they may be urged to glance at the head and hands of Cicero, nailed to the Rostra in the Forum. The rationale for the display was that those hands had written unflattering speeches. Oh, the horror!

Yeah, Caesar the Dictator got things done — whether or not anyone liked it.

In an ostensibly unrelated development, DHS and other internal agencies have ordered enough ammunition to kill every American citizen five times over. These are hollow-point bullets, outlawed for warfare by the Geneva Convention because they are designed to cause maximum damage to internal organs. Is the government planning on violating the Convention, and the DHS merely providing cover for the Pentagon, or is there some other purpose to the exercise? Crowd control would not require maximum lethality...would it?

Many people assume that compromise and getting something done are unalloyed goods. Let's examine that assumption.

A couple are out on their first date. He wants to have sex with her, but she's refusing. "Let's compromise," says he. "We'll meet in the middle. I'll pay you to have sex with me. What could be fairer? Surely you admit that we have to get something done."

The analogy is imperfect. After all, inside the Beltway prostitution is pretty much the name of the game. Nothing gets done in DC without money changing hands, most of it the taxpayers'. Only the terminally naive would mistake it for the Chastity Beltway.

But we're only spending the money of future generations, right? Both those for and against fail to recognize the falsity of the claim. Unless research has made some secret, miraculous discovery, there is no time machine that can bring money back from the future. The resources must be had today, so the funding must be had today — not from people yet unborn. Since there are not enough rich people to fund government expenditures for even an entire year, the money must come from those already struggling to make ends meet; those whose houses are "underwater"; those with no jobs; the retired on fixed incomes.

Thus the spending is merely a shifting of current resources from some people to other people. The posited time machine creates no resources. Therefore even those who view "taxing our grandchildren" with revulsion do a disservice. They posit the ill effects of debt and deficit as happening in the distant future rather than today, when they must necessarily occur. They accept the premise that taking money out of your back pocket and putting it in your front pocket makes you richer. The extractions from the common people remain hidden from view behind Oz's curtain while politicians argue about how to spend ever more time-machine money.

I myself would like to see lots done — to reduce the amateurish meddling in the affairs both economic and personal of a theoretically free people. Despite heated rhetoric to the contrary, there is no appetite for such an agenda inside the Unchastity Beltway. So doing nothing may be the best result that can be had.

As Hippocrates said, "First do no harm."

© David Hines

 

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David Hines

Born in a mill town, David Hines has seen work as a furniture mover, computer programmer/analyst, and professional musician... (more)

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