Someone listened for once

I was impressed by the New York Times column, Some of Sarah Palin’s Ideas Cross the Political Divide by Anand Giriharadas.

After taking some requisite lefty swipes at Palin, Anand tentatively praises her for the substantive part of her speech:

She made three interlocking points. First, that the United States is now governed by a “permanent political class,” drawn from both parties, that is increasingly cut off from the concerns of regular people. Second, that these Republicans and Democrats have allied with big business to mutual advantage to create what she called “corporate crony capitalism.” Third, that the real political divide in the United States may no longer be between friends and foes of Big Government, but between friends and foes of vast, remote, unaccountable institutions (both public and private).

In supporting her first point, about the permanent political class, she attacked both parties’ tendency to talk of spending cuts while spending more and more; to stoke public anxiety about a credit downgrade, but take a vacation anyway; to arrive in Washington of modest means and then somehow ride the gravy train to fabulous wealth. She observed that 7 of the 10 wealthiest counties in the United States happen to be suburbs of the nation’s capital.

Her second point, about money in politics, helped to explain the first. The permanent class stays in power because it positions itself between two deep troughs: the money spent by the government and the money spent by big companies to secure decisions from government that help them make more money.

“Do you want to know why nothing ever really gets done?” she said, referring to politicians. “It’s because there’s nothing in it for them. They’ve got a lot of mouths to feed — a lot of corporate lobbyists and a lot of special interests that are counting on them to keep the good times and the money rolling along.”

It took nearly three years, but someone on the left appears to have finally discovered the main driver of the tea party/libertarian movement (though I’m not certain that Anand realizes that yet).   Anand got past the fallacious name calling and inaccurate characterizations and liked what he heard.

And it’s something that Milton Friedman told us about long ago.  At the 2:40 mark of this video, as a matter of fact, he tells us how special interests get the political power to use government to bend the rules in their favor:

What he says about government regulation:

There are always…two groups of sponsors.  There are the well-meaning sponsors and there are the special interests who use the well-meaning sponsors as front men.  Who, almost always, when you have bad programs, have an unholy coalition with the do-gooders on the one hand and the special interests on the other.

There’s an old saying in poker.  If you don’t know who the patsy is, then you are the patsy.  If Anand keeps poking along at these thoughts, he (or she?) might discover that the well-meaning folks on the left and right, have been played as the patsies for the special interests seeking control over government influence.


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