Jonah Goldberg: “Want an America that works? Innovate, don’t regulate”



“Where government’s touch is light, we see rapid innovation, but where government’s hand is heavy, stakeholders are holding on for dear life.”

“You say “medical home,” I say locked-in customers. Tomayto-tomahto. The pediatricians have a point, albeit a weak one. You can’t say the same about teachers unions, whose top priorities are to take care of their members, even when such care comes at the expense of students. In New York City, the passion from teachers unions is all aimed at pay raises, killing charter schools and keeping rules that make it harder to get rid of incompetents, criminals and even, occasionally, sexual predators.”

“I cite these examples because they involve children, the constituency everyone claims should come first. But this dynamic is endemic to society. The sugar lobby bilks taxpayers to subsidize an industry that shouldn’t exist in the United States. The life insurance industry lobbies to keep inheritance taxes because, after all, people buy their products to avoid such taxes. The health insurance industry remains bought-in, literally and figuratively, to Obamacare because the prospect of becoming the equivalent of guaranteed-profitable utilities is worth the headaches of government incompetence.”

“When I say that this dynamic is endemic to society, I do not mean endemic under President Obama, or under America or under capitalism. It is a natural human tendency. The augurs of ancient Rome fought any attempt to break their monopoly on divine prophecy by studying the flights and entrails of birds. The Luddites declared war on the machines, long before anyone had heard of Skynet, because the Luddites were market incumbents being ousted by new, and better, technology.”

“The standard left-wing complaint is to blame only big business and capitalism. But if you don’t think the exact sort of thing happens under socialist and communist systems, you don’t know anything about those systems. Despite a century of anti-corporate rhetoric about the power of corporations, they actually come and go with amazing rapidity (Only 13% of firms on the Fortune 500 list in 1955 were there in 2011).”

“But government is forever. The state has the unique ability to protect existing “stakeholders” from the threats posed by innovation and competition, whether those stakeholders are businesses or unions, fat cats or philanthropies. That’s where the votes are and where the checks comes from. But progress — material, medical, economic — comes from innovation. Economist Deirdre McCloskey notes that until the 19th century, innovation was a negative word because innovators upset the established order and the powers that be.”

“In Silicon Valley, where government’s touch is light, we can see the rapidity of innovation at work. In healthcare, education and other areas where the government’s hand is heavy, we see stakeholders holding on for dear life.”,0,3834159.column#ixzz2uMbGYUBq