New Car Politics

Dude over at Gin and Tacos wants a new car.  Here’s what he’s looking for.

I want a new car. I’m looking for something that meets the following criteria: drives like a Formula One car (0-60 in no more than 4 seconds), has eye-catching supercar styling, seats 7 with plenty of room for luggage, gets 90 mpg, and costs less than $30,000. I tried entering this into some online search tools and there were no matches. What gives

Is he fishin’ nuts?  No, he’s just pointing out that this is what Americans expect from government.

While it might seem silly, this is not too far off from what many Americans want from the political process. … We want a government to do all kinds of stuff … and we don’t want to pay for any of it. We’ve … we’ve taken comfort in magical thinking and voodoo theories that tell us, yes, you can have it all. We can lower taxes and somehow the government will end up making more money! People in suits say this with straight faces, blissfully unaware of how closely their product description matches the “Miracle 100 mpg fuel additive THEY don’t want you to know about!” ads in the classifieds.

Great analogy.

About James Hanley

James Hanley is Associate Professor of Political Science at Adrian College and a Fellow of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. The views expressed here do not reflect the views of either organization.
This entry was posted in The Democratic Process and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to New Car Politics

  1. Troublesome Frog says:

    We’ve managed to completely disconnect the feedback loop for what we buy and what we pay for. Although I’m not worried about the short run deficit, I do have to wonder if we’d be better off if we instituted some sort of a copay system. You can increase spending and borrow money to do it, but you must raise taxes to cover at least 10% of the new spending.

    I always bring up California because we’re amazingly dysfunctional. Increasing spending is trivially easy. But structurally, it would be easier to legalize slavery again than to raise taxes to cover the new spending. And then we bellyache about our budget gap. I believe that the Norquist wing would have more success shrinking government if they made taxes an immediate and mandatory consequence of new spending.

    I don’t remember who, but somebody once said, “War should be expensive. Otherwise, how will we know how much a war is worth?” This seems to me like something that the hard right–people who are always talking about how wonderful price signaling is–should get on board with.

  2. AMW says:

    In fairness, lowering tax rates will increase revenue if the original tax rates are high enough. But I think it’s pretty clear we’re on the left-hand side of the Laffer Curve these days.

  3. James Hanley says:

    If I understand today’s conservatives, there is no left-hand side of the Laffer Curve.

    (And if I understand today’s liberals, there is no right-hand side of the Curve.)

Comments are closed.