Listening to NPR this morning, I heard a representative of the Bipartisan Policy Center (who? should I trust anyone whose first name claims to be "bipartisan"? is this like some Aetna-funded association of Average American Individual Policy Holders to Protect Our Way of Health? or a hidden-moneybags-funded so-called association of scholars?) talking about the political hurdles facing Waxman-Markey and similar climate legislation in Congress. One of the reasons he cited was "the deep mistrust that people in Congress and across our country now have about market-based approaches to problem solving."
Really? I mean, I don't have a philosophical problem with the idea that a market-based solution (read "money") isn't everything. Money certainly isn't an obvious way to manage demand for what's currently a free resource, particularly now that the Supremes seem likely to grant corporations complete control of the legislative process (through "conservative" removal of century-old restrictions on corporate political $peech).
But even if that's true, I haven't sensed any public loss of faith in markets as a whole. Has coverage of the NYSE or Nasdaq decreased any? Is consumer confidence no longer a concern? Isn't all the tempest in a teabag about keeping the government "out of my Medicare" a vote (even if a corporate-sponsored vote) in favor of market mechanisms?
Before I'll buy into the idea that Americans distrust market-based approaches, I need to see some evidence that the word "tax" has lost its cyanidic glow or that a social democratic party is poised to win an election (any social democratic party -- any election at any level in any state other than Vermont).
Has anyone seen such evidence? Are B-school enrollments significantly down? Is there something else I'm missing?
Well, yes, there is. Or at least there was. I missed the announcement of the creation of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a non-profit founded by former Senators Bob Dole, Howard Baker, Tom Daschle and George Mitchell. (Or at least ostensibly founded by these centrist luminaries. Nothing in our nation's capital is ever what it seems.)
Nevertheless, 'tis a puzzlement.
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