That’s Not Fair

Daniel Henninger has a good op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about President Obama’s recent stumping for the middle class, called Obama’s Peter Pan Economics.

I agree with this:

Mr. Obama is forcing Republicans to defend themselves against the undefinable progressive murk of “fairness”…

Yes. That’s what I’ve been telling friends since the State of the Union. It’s easy to say that you want to do all these great-sounding things to help the middle class when you have a Republican-controlled Congress that won’t let any of it happen. So, you and political kind can say, in upcoming elections, look at those Scrooges who are keeping you from benefiting from our good ideas and few will ask, why wasn’t this a priority when you had more support in Congress?

Henninger saves the best for last:

If in our elections the subject is America, then Republican candidates need to search for their agenda inside the American experience. Forget fair. Start with work. The rest will come.

1 thought on “That’s Not Fair

  1. I think I’ve reiterated the advice given me by both an old country lawyer and my old econ professor. They both stated that they didn’t really know what “fair” meant other than all of the parties to an agreement holding up their end of the deal.

    If Smith and Jones enter into an agreement and things don’t go the way Jones had hoped, i.e. Jones buys 40 acres of land from Smith in exchange for $10K hoping to grow corn for profit and a drought ensues, Jones will surely complain that the deal was unfair. Likewise, if Jones discovers gold on the property when planting his corn, Smith will complain that the deal was unfair. Fair means that Jones got a clean title to the 40 acres that he desired more than his $10K and Smith got the $10K that he desired more than his 40 acres. Period.

    Obama view of fair centers not on did Smith and Jones each give and get what they had promised – things that can be known when the deal is made – but on whether or not Smith or Jones (which ever one happens to be an “oppressed” minority) had the outcome he had hoped for after the fact – something that cannot be known at the time of the deal and that matters not on the deal itself, but on Smith or Jones own actions after the deal.


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