Monday, January 26, 2009

This Is No Time to Panic

I liked the headline that the Wall Street Journal gave to an op-ed by George Mason University economist Russ Roberts: "Don't Just Do Something, Stand There." Roberts pointed out that politicians can't wisely spend the trillions they commit, "even if they want to. The information about who needs to be bailed out and who needs to fail is too complicated. .  .  . It is time to let the imprudent fail and the prudent pick up the bargains."  [...]

George W. Bush told CNN, "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system." Why did Bush and Pelosi think they knew how to run the economy? F.A. Hayek famously termed this the "fatal conceit" -- governments can't possibly know everything that's going on in an economy, and so while government intervention may delay some economic pain, it cannot stop it.

"The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled," said Cicero in 55 B.C. He was right.

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