Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, April 8, 2013

Thatcher And The Killer Cure

Every problem does not need the same solution.

When Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minster and abandoned the "collectivist consensus" that had ruled Britain since 1945, she offered a corrective to a British socialist state that had gone off the rails.

All of the excesses that Americans think happen in this country really did happen in Britain.  Unions literally paralyzed the economy, taxes were confiscatory and the state meddled in everything they could.  Thatcher helped end that and put Britain on a more sustainable path.

But just as fabian socialism and Keynesian economics in the '70s tended to pour more fuel on their fires, doubling down on solutions that didn't always seem to be working, Thatcherism (and Reaganism) also began to double down.  They began to inject more and more ideologically driven solutions on problems that their own ideology had created.  In Britain, poll taxes finally brought Thatcher down, because the British system forces much more accountability on its politicians.  Reagan got to retire the doddering old uncle who made cowboys noises at the Russkies.

Thatcherism renewed the British economy, but in largely the same way Reaganism did in this country, by funneling money upwards and devastating the working class.  England and America both have their "Rust Belts" in large part because of the Austrian economics of Thatcher and Reagan.

When I see Obama being raked over the coals for his Chained CPI proposals, I agree that it's a stupid political move, designed to flatter the Deficit Peacocks and Beltway Mandarins, but betrays his base for no other reason that to look "serious".

But I also know from Thatcher, that undying loyalty to an idea - as opposed to the evidence - is not a winning formula.

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