Cause and Effect..

From my morning news browse I noticed this article from which I’d like to quote this bit:

“It has been widely reported that there has been more money spent on this House race than any other in American history, and the bulk of those dollars are not coming from the state of Georgia,” the moderator said to Ossoff. “Is that wrong? What are your thoughts on that?”

Ossoff responded by saying “it’s a major problem” and that “there’s far too much money in politics.”

Well, you see, Ossoff’s response is simply not true. There is not too much money in anything, because people use money in accordance with their desire. We often complain that we’re paid “too little” or that the cost of a good or service is “too much.” With what wages we get we divide up our income among all known potential purchases, buy the things that are priced lower or the same as we’re willing to pay, and don’t buy the things which cost too much. Which is to say, that while there is a lot of money in politics, it isn’t too much from the standpoint of the people putting money in politics. And while I see politicians such as Ossoff complaining about it in public, it isn’t as though they turn any of it down.

It isn’t that there is too much money in politics, as saying there is too much money in anything is just denigrating people’s preferences, then perhaps there is something else. If people are putting money “into politics,” it must be that they see value in what they’re putting in. Isn’t it that politics itself has so much power that people want to put in money to bend that power to their own set of preferences?  I mean, even if I write a thousand dollars worth of content (judged on being paid for it) on the subject of the evils of Obamacare or how great it is, wouldn’t doing something else and spending a thousand dollars getting a senator who shares my views elected be a better use of time?

Certainly the kind of people who’d want someone like Ossoff in office have made their millions elsewhere (I meant in fields other than politics, but “not in Georgia” is also correct) and spent it in a way that is most likely to accomplish what they desire. Because obviously, it doesn’t matter if the people like or hate something so long as the politicians like or hate something. And that, friends, is the problem. It isn’t that there is too much money in politics, it is that there is too much power in politics, and thus people find it a sound use for their money.

But, on the subject of people looking at things the wrong way, let me offer this as well.

Trump wants to gut a key division of the Department of Energy designed to accelerate the development of clean energy like solar and wind power.

No, he doesn’t want to gut a key division of the Department of Energy designed to accelerate the development of clean energy, he wants to gut a division designed to accelerate the deployment of clean energy. Which is to say, even if the technology is not ready, even if the technology will never be ready, they want it to be everywhere. But the justification has been more feeling than reason. Let me say this. You don’t have to entice people to make or save money. The way they’ve been accelerating the deployment of so called clean energy (because they never count the pollution contributed by manufacturing) is by making it cheaper. Not though the availability of some new technology that improves the transmission or storage of energy, but by taking our money, pulling out a little for themselves, and then giving it back to us. Look, we’re doing a good deed by giving you money that you earned and might have spent on something else. Aren’t we awesome.

People tend to look at things in a way that benefits their worldview. Not (usually) in the progressive, “everybody has their own set of facts!” way. But still, they tend to filter out the down side. For instance, the down side of money in politics is that politicians have an incentive to become even more powerful. Ultimately this is what corruption is so rampant in world politics… because the more direct the influence, the more valuable. I never claimed money in politics was a good thing, I just argued that there isn’t “too much.” Most of the incentives in politics is toward gathering power anyway. The down side of doing away with tax incentives for green energy is the people who think that it’s a good thing will be unhappy… well, okay, there isn’t really a down side there, unless any of them were voting for Trump. I can’t see that as likely.

Well, anyway, when someone is making an argument before the masses, they’re going to tend to do so in a fashion that aligns with their own interests. Ossoff’s response, which was basically, it’s a pity, but everyone is doing it so I can’t possibly stop it without doing it too! The cries of people with a vested interest in green energy about how terrible it would be for everyone if their gravy train dried up. My interests are in economic efficiency. But well, the difference is, I’ll tell you that up front.

 

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