November 13, 2009

High horses

The Tao Te Ching, for my money the wisest book ever written, has a line in it that has confused readers for 2000 years or so:

Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom,
And it will be a hundred times better for everyone.

I'm with Lao Tzu on that one. It seems to me that when members of an inherently flawed species adopt impossible standards of righteousness and purity, they can often wind up doing more harm than good. This is especially true in terms of public policy where, as the saying goes, the perfect can become the enemy of the good.

It is true that all legislation is messy and imperfect--but then so is every other human endeavor, including the criticism thereof.

Getting down to cases, it is probably true that any health care reform bill that passes Congress and makes it to the president's desk is going to have some serious flaws and will be subject to many unsavory compromises. That's the way the world works. But I would argue that this is no excuse for doing nothing.

Once a major measure like that passes, there will be all kinds of opportunities to improve it, but once it dies, it could be decades before the chance comes around again.

JOBS. New claims for unemployment insurance have recently dropped, but job growth seems far away. Economic growth, as in raising the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is often seen in the US as a panacea. The idea seems to be that if that goes on long enough, eventually people will benefit. In this op-ed, Paul Krugman makes the case that this is cold comfort without public policies that protect and create jobs, especially during a recession.

WHO SAID THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE NEVER DID RUN SMOOTH? Actually, it was Shakespeare, but that's not the point right now. The WV Supreme Court's love affair with Massey Energy continues without a hitch.


No comments: