Saturday, May 9, 2020

Cost Disease

So if increasing productivity causes manufactured goods prices to fall and wages in those areas to rise, but that in turn causes costs and prices in high labor service sectors to RISE.  If we make TVs and hamburgers more expensive, then musical theater and college education and nursing homes will get cheaper.

Mehhh, I'm talking out my butt, I am sure.   And if we actuallly did let gov't get on the tariff merry go round, it would just go faster and faster until we Smoot our Hawley.  Politician can't be trusted not to screw it up.  I'm always trying to think of way to encourage policy makers to do LESS.


McChuck said...

Ooh, Mistah Kottah! I know the answer to this one!

"Our tariff rates, duties, and import restrictions for each country and good shall precisely match that country's tariffs rates, duties, and import restrictions on similar goods, modified by the amount their government subsidizes each industry, modified for the average wages and benefits provided to workers in that sector of their economy, as compared to ours. A sliding scale accounting for the comparative cost of environmental and other regulations shall also be imposed."

I'd love to see some of the data a law like this would produce.

Anonymous said...

"Politician[s] can't be trusted not to screw it up. I'm always trying to think of way to encourage policy makers to do LESS."

Well, a first step would be the standard application of "pour encourager les autres," but that requires a certain amount of courage and conviction we seem to be sorely lacking. Until there is a price for failure we will not only have failure, but have it in increasing quantities.

One, possibly acceptable, substitute for rope and street lamps could be, first, a lifetime limit on the number of times a peson may serve in elective office, nationwide, regardless of office; from dogcatcher in Podunk to U.S.President, you get only X terms or portions thereof in public office, no more than 2 of which may be in the same office, and any service in public office constitutes a lifetime ban on receiving any remuneration from a government in the United States, save for salary, benefit and retirement commensurate with rank in the US Armed Forces (per the incorporation of the 14th Amendment, a Constitutional Amendment would also apply to the states). Sounds harsh, but we noww have a "perpetual g̶o̶v̶e̶r̶n̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ ruling class" that has become a self-feeding monster. Extend the same conditions to members of the bureaucracy and we may have a bloodless way to regulate the mindless expansion of government; if one were limited to a maximum of, say, 12-15 years in non-elected government service - and with no retirement benefits other than those the employee provided himself - government service would be regarded as a service opportunity to benefit the country, a learning opportunity, and just one of the many jobs one would have in a lifetime.