Does not contemporary experience suggest that the thinking by which
a national economic agenda is set is publicized by far too much self-serving reliance on economic theory that by definition
is too far-reaching?
Ivy League economic thinking seeks to obtain a wisdom regarding
laws of need, production, supply and utility that takes a macro-view of our system's processes and priorities intended to
seek a stability and productivity the forever remains moving ahead of us - forever remains unreached?
That's where our traditional think tanks take us almost by definition.
Whether conservative or liberal, most of the resulting advocacies have to do with figuring out how to seek long term growth
coupled with long term stability with fewer and less extreme cyclical swings.
All of that is fine and necessary. However, it seems to me that remaining
preoccupied with such "far away" days of the future leaves national leadership in the sorry state of dealing with the much
closer economic realities of the here and now as the forest service does with brush fires. Only respond when the flame sparks
Ivy League economic theory needs to be augmented by research and
advocacy of consistent economics that address the more immediate problems arising from economic cycles. A pay raise or the
loss of a job is immediate. One of the tragedies of this campaign is an inability of either party to find the courage and
will to deal with the brushfire in a more immediate way.
Common Sense think tanks such as that which we are considering ought
to gather the wise from among those who have been in the day-to-day business of business, of insuring everything from health
and welfare to a real consideration of what constitutes consumer wisdom and what constitutes a wise marketing program of all
products and services in the interest of the people.
Common Sense think tanks ought to include input that reflects the
wisdom of the working people and unions - the wisdom that comes from long experience of figuring out family economics at by
kitchen table. The ignorant assumption leaking from economic ideas coming from folks like the American Enterprise Institute
is that the perfect world they advocate would be easily reachable if every member of the working class and management was
an Ivy League graduate.
I have seen little from the existing thought institutions that does
not equate the notion that what is good for the corporation is good for the front lines of what that corporation markets.
I have seen little of substance that reflects any serious and powerful activity to encourage and empower small businesses,
cottage industries and self-employment in such a way as to make available an independence of corporate permission for small
businesses to flourish.
I have seen an almost palpable corporate fear of that for which unions
came into being. While aware of the danger of a reckless and unchecked potential for organized workers to price themselves
and their employers into bankruptcy, I'm also aware of deep and powerful employer inability to appreciate the wisdom of workers
who by definition are not going to destroy their employment by blind greed and stubborness.
Without sounding Marxist, I'd like to suggest that even the purest
free-market capitalism has demonstrated an inability to avoid the cyclic extremes when one side or the other (employer or
employee) have too strong a grip on the steering wheel.
Bottom line is that economics consists in some sort of equal part
management and labor and when management has lobbied for government intervention through legislation to impede or supress
the advocacy of labor - at that very moment - free-market capitalism no longer exists.
It no longer exists for management which now must rely on government
to artificially support the enterprise, nor for labor which is now subject to that legal intervention and its own reduced
voice in how the enterprise functions.