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Why I, also, too, am not, usually, a conservative, but am, too, one, right now.

November 25, 2009

I’m reading “Why I, too, am not a conservative” by Nobel laureate J.Buchanan, which is a riff off the title of a famous paper “Why I’m not a conservative” by Nobel laureate F.Hayek. I totally dig these two guys, but I have to admit that currently, given the current recession that started in December 2007 and doesn’t seem to be waning, despite some green-shoots here and there (some were spotted last Spring, now there’s some productivity data that could be interpreted as positive, but the unemployment figure doesn’t bode well at all, etc…), I desperately hope that our political class will rediscover some conservatism in their bones. Why? Because I buy into one interpretation of the Great Depression that sees “Regime Uncertainty” as one of the main reasons why it lasted so long. The “bold and unrelenting experimentation” of FDR had the unpleasant effect of paralyzing the private sector. George W and now Barack are minor figures in all this. It’s the political class as a whole that has worked itself up in such a frenzy: busybody-ness to the umpteenth-degree. The various Stimuli create uncertainty because they randomly and unfairly help some, while punishing their competitors. Tax-breaks create uncertainty for exactly the same reason. TARP creates uncertainty because it raises the specter of inflation. The health-care bill creates uncertainty because it promises to change in unexpected ways the structure of compensation and benefits in the labor market. Cap-and-trade creates uncertainty because people don’t know if they will be part of the winners or the losers, so energy and resources are spent to try and figure this out and lobby the hell out of the Congress-folks. These are just a few of the big-tickets items coming down the pipe. I left out a myriad other untested experimentations: cash-4-clunkers, minimum-wage increases, wars in the middle-east, etc…All of these mini-revolutions might make a body exhilarated, but they’re certainly not helping the recovery. And you can be sure that a lot of “unseen” grief will spread, and a lot of unnecessary hardship will be suffered before this is over. That’s why, at this very moment, I’m a conservative. A very angry one. Edmund Burke reincarnated. I don’t care who will see the light first, whether it’s the Dems or the GOP, but I do hope that someone will, soon (I give it a p=0.03 of this happening).

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