This absolutely kills me. Nothing is worse than a lifelong Ivy League economist with absolutely no real-world experience looking de haut en bas to the unenlightened masses. His official Princeton summary has him obtaining his doctorate in economics from MIT in 1971 and then teaching at Princeton ever since. That's a 42 year stint in academia without a shred of public sector or private sector experience (I consider academic work neither). This man can only fumble around for second and third hand accounts of how the real world works and yet the tone of his writing is always that of absolute certainty.
Perhaps if he could just fund a startup of his own and see it to fruition, maybe his views on job creation would change. Instead of serving up trite offerings such as halting government layoffs and miniscule, one time tax breaks, he might actually come away with a different perspective, much like George McGovern did. When McGovern ran against Nixon in '72, nobody could accuse him of being a dyed in the wool conservative. That guy was as far to the left as left could get in the realm of American politics.
And he lost in the biggest electoral landslide in post-war American history. After his career in politics ended, he became an entrepreneur, bought a hotel in Connecticut. It promptly went bankrupt 2 years later. 2 years after bankruptcy, he had written an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal complaining of the various rules and regulations that made life a living hell for a business owner. Keep in mind, he bought the hotel in 88, an era where, according to mainstream Democratic talking points, there was unchecked deregulation and the most pro-business environment since the Gilded Age. And yet, from McGovern's own hand:
I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.Strong words. People do not often have changes of heart in their old age, but one thing that forever remains foremost on a person's mind is their money, and the way that they lose it.
Washington DC is broken. You've heard that line everywhere. You've seen those words run the gamut from the Wall Street Journal's editorial page to The New Republic. From Heritage to MoveOn.org. But the reasons that they give are bogus. It's not about money, or sinister special interests, or the way our government is structured. It's the way our socioeconomic system is structured.
PSYCH. It's not just a ridiculous TV show on USA. It refers to 5 of the most elite universities in the US: Princeton, Stanford, Yale, Columbia, and Harvard. Undergrad and grad schools combined, 15 out of 43 Presidents, roughly 35%, have hailed from those 5 schools. To make it in politics, you need at least 1 of 3 things to be somebody. A famous name, the right education, or money. Everything else is secondary to those 3 things.
Because of it, DC has become so incredibly incestuous. The elected officials have the name and the money. Their staffers have the education. And that's all they have. Name, money, and education. No real world experience necessary. No firsthand experience of how businesses and government actually operates. This has become a real problem because our laws have no actual bearing in anything real.
Our modern day thousands-of-pages long laws? Made by law school graduates from Georgetown, public policy graduates from Harvard's Kennedy School, and econ grads from Princeton, Yale, and Columbia. All of them strung out on a diet of Ritalin (or some other amphetamine variant), Red Bull, and takeout pizza. Highly credentialed twentysomethings who were good at taking tests and writing papers are crafting our country's most far reaching bills to be argued in a Congress full of idiotic and complacent legacies of the rich and powerful and their various hangers on (people like Alan Blinder).
This is the real reason why things suck in DC. It's pageantry and a mating ritual between those who have power, those who want it, and those who want to keep it at all costs, regardless of their complicity in the deterioration of the general state of affairs.
This is the Ivory Tower of the political and intellectual class. Test takers, obsessives, neurotics, the paranoid, and the complacent rich. It must be a breathtaking view up there, although I think the lack of oxygen is definitely causing problems in cognitive function.