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November 2004
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 up.
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.

Arthur Ruger 2004

Arthur & Lietta Ruger 2002-2008. The American Choice is a  political internet journal based in Bay Center, Washington. The views expressed not authored by Arthur or Lietta Ruger are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of The American Choice or SwanDeer Productions. Permission of author required for reprinting original material, and only requests for reprinting a specific item are considered.